The Female Persuasion

by

Meg Wolitzer

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Sofa Beds Symbol Icon

In The Female Persuasion, sofa beds symbolize the impermanence of Greer, Zee, and Cory’s post-grad lives, which are marked by transition, emphasis on the present rather than the future, and flimsy relationships. As Greer begins her life in Brooklyn, Zee struggles to carve out a path toward activism for herself in Chicago, and Cory moves home to care for his grieving mother. All three find themselves in liminal spaces. Recurring images of sofa beds symbolize the impermanence of their post-grad lives, as well as the ways in which all three characters assure themselves and one another that the dubious or half-hearted decisions they’re making now are just temporary decisions that will not dictate who they’ll be in the future. When Greer hooks up with a Loci coworker, they spend entire weekends on his futon, sitting in silence on their respective laptops in between rounds of intercourse, emphasizing the flimsy, temporary nature of the relationship. In addition, while visiting Zee in Chicago, Greer confesses to betraying Zee long ago by secretly withholding Zee’s letter to Faith Frank, Zee’s idol and Greer’s boss. Upon hearing this confession, Zee “imagine[s] telling [her partner] Noelle everything tonight in bed while Greer lay on the sleeper sofa in the living room,” highlighting that Greer has only temporarily reentered Zee’s life. Likewise, when Cory finally frees himself from the grief he has been lodged in since his brother’s death, he pays Greer a visit in New York and sleeps on her pull-out couch. As the three friends couch-hop over the years, they move in and out of one another’s lives with similar ease, unaware of the ways in which their present choices will impact how their lives ultimately unfold.

Sofa Beds Quotes in The Female Persuasion

The The Female Persuasion quotes below all refer to the symbol of Sofa Beds. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Female Friendship and Mentorship Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead Books edition of The Female Persuasion published in 2018.
Chapter 14 Quotes

He took his little kit into the bathroom while she placed sheets on the mattress of the small foldout sofa. This was an era in which sofa beds were frequently opened and unfolded; at this age people were still floating, not entirely landed, still needing places to stay the night sometimes. They were doing what they could, crashing in other places, living extemporaneously. Soon enough, the pace would pick up, the solid matter of life would kick in. Soon enough, sofa beds would stay folded.

Related Characters: Greer Kadetsky, Cory Pinto
Related Symbols: Sofa Beds
Page Number: Book Page 435
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Female Persuasion PDF

Sofa Beds Symbol Timeline in The Female Persuasion

The timeline below shows where the symbol Sofa Beds appears in The Female Persuasion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude  Theme Icon
...with a man from Loci, though she realizes now that “sadness” led her to his sofa bed in Fort Greene. (full context)
Chapter 10
Female Friendship and Mentorship Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude  Theme Icon
Activism Theme Icon
...exhausted by her friendship with Greer and wishes that Greer was not staying on Zee’s sofa bed for the weekend. Greer takes Zee’s hands “like a desperate suitor” and apologizes again, confessing... (full context)
Chapter 11
Family and Community Theme Icon
...he ever comes to the city, he can stay with her in Brooklyn on her sleeper sofa . As she and Cory part ways, she thinks about how they were once twin... (full context)
Chapter 13
Family and Community Theme Icon
Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude  Theme Icon
...inspiration. Cory remembers Greer’s invitation and wonders if she would let him stay on her sofa bed . Cory is excited about the investor’s interest but reminds himself that an investor does... (full context)
Chapter 14
Family and Community Theme Icon
Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude  Theme Icon
...afternoon, Cory calls Greer and asks if her offer to let him stay on her sofa bed in Brooklyn is still good. He explains that one of SoulFinder’s investors wants to take... (full context)
Family and Community Theme Icon
Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude  Theme Icon
Greer sets up the sofa bed for Cory while he brushes his teeth in the bathroom, ruminating on how she and... (full context)