The Short Story “Found Objects” by Jennifer Egan Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: May 7th, 2019


Found Objects is a short story by Jennifer Egan that gives an account of a young woman trying to find identity in an ever busy world. Sasha as the name of the young woman goes is in her mid-thirties and has serious issues that have pushed her to consult the services of a therapist.

Sasha has adopted a habit of stealing anything that she can lay her hands on. This ranges from screwdrivers to wallets and a host of other things that she does not really need. The strangest part of the story is that she does not mix the things she steals with her private life. Instead, she keeps them on a separate table as though hoping “to return them one day.” This leads us to conclude that she steals these things for a higher purpose than to fulfill her needs.

By looking at the story, it is hard to exactly pinpoint the motive for Sasha’s kleptomaniac behaviour. However, one thing that we can decipher from the story is that Sasha’s behaviour relates to her relationship with people. By stealing, Sasha seems to be passing across a message that she does not trust people and neither does she expect to be trusted.

This comes out clearly at the Lassimo Hotel where she steals a wallet from a woman in the washrooms. When she goes to adjust her eye shadow, she notices a wallet sticking out of a bag belonging to a woman who is peeing in the next toilet stall. The “trust” that the owner of this bag has on New York residents provokes Sasha to steal the wallet.

By doing this, she is sending across a message that people should not be too trusting. This clearly means that she does not trust anyone and neither does she expect to be trusted. Maybe, this is the reason why she gets so surprised when she sees her date Alex trying to help the woman recover her wallet. This leads her to conclude that both the woman and Alex must be residents of another town outside New York. To Sasha, stealing is simply a way of saying that people will do worse things to you if you give them the opportunity.

By closely looking at the story, one does not fail to realize that all the problems bedeviling Sasha have their genesis from the broken relationship with her father. From the story, we gather that Sasha’s father left when she was six years old and he never came back to get her. Sasha must have loved her father since she blocks any discussion about her father.

This shows that she must have loved her father so much and that his decision to abandon her hurt her so much. On his part, Sasha’s father does not appear to have loved her so much since he never came back even once to see how she was doing. This is perhaps one reason why Sasha has stopped trusting the people around her life.

This is seen from the incident with the plumber whom she believes has character traits similar to her fathers and her therapist whom she claims that she cannot trust his background. However, the relationship with her therapist Coz is more cordial since she feels that he can understand her. The therapist has one agenda and that is helping Sasha have a fresh start in her life. On her part, Sasha respects the therapist since she feels that he can see right through her.

The event where Sasha steals an inspirational message from Alex’s wallet gives us a deeper insight into her life and character. According to the story, Sasha keeps all the things she has stolen since using them would imply that she is greedy or that she is simply driven by her self-interest.

However, when she steals the note from Alex’s wallet with the words “I believe in you” scribbled on it, she realizes that she has to keep it. Although the reasons why she wants to keep this note separate from the other things are unclear, we are left with an open space to guess her reasons for doing so.

One reason why this might be the case is that Sasha might be under the illusion that this particular message is from her father who had abandoned her. This shows that she is still looking for approval and affection from her father. The other thing that might be the reason for her choosing to keep this note is that it implies a connection between her and someone in the heart of New York. This shows that Sasha felt disconnected from the society and she was looking for love and acceptance.


Found Objects is a short story that shows the struggles that a young woman by the name of Sasha goes through to regain acceptance and recognition in the world.

This leads her to form a habit of stealing perhaps to fill her emptiness. The genesis of Sasha’s problems can be traced to her father’s leaving when she was six years old. By analysing her character, one realises that Sasha is looking for acceptance and recognition from the society. This can be seen from her desire to keep a note with an inspiring message that she steals from a man she is dating.

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