In the "Astronomer's Wife" by Kay Boyle, something as simple as a conversation with a plumber about a stopped elbow is enough to trigger an awakening in Mrs. Katherine Ames. When Mrs. Ames realized that the plumber was talking about something she understood (the stopped elbow), she realized that her marital problems were not the result of a division betwwen the sexes; instead, she realized that some men, like the plumber, are as practical as she is, and that some other men, like her husband, scorn people like her because they are intellectually inclined. Previous to this discovery, Katherine did not realize that there were different kinds of men, and therefore she did not realize that she and her husband were mismatched. Furthermore, in her awakening, Mrs. Ames also discovers that she, like the plumber, occupies as valuable a place in society as the astronomer, for she does the "dirty" work to free people like her husband to have time to think and to discover. The scene in question takes place after Mrs. Ames has already noticed that the plumber has a few physical characteristics that match her own (such as blond hair), and
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