&quotThanksgivingin Mongolia” Literary Analysis

The“Thanksgiving in Mongolia” is an article by the New York Timeswriter Ariel Levy. Of all her previous works, the “Thanksgiving inMongolia” seems to have gained quite an audience and interestprobably because in this article she talks about her personal life,expressing a painful ordeal she goes through a miscarriage, sufferedduring a pregnancy she carried for only five months with themisfortunate act transpiring while on a work/reporting trip inMongolia. By expressing her childhood in the article, Levy show thejoy of a family and she misses the family life and such she takes thefirst step into motherhood and establishing a family by becomingpregnant the joy of every mother. Thanksgiving in Mongolia encourageswomen should be strong and free to do whatever they please with theirlives, and be willing to move to any height.

Meaningof the Story

Thestory is intends to express the pain of a mother or a woman wholosses their child in a miscarriage and intends to express the joy offamily. Levy tells of her favorite childhood game that she would playwith daddy, playing the explorer where she and her father oftenswitched roles and from this point the game would conclude whereeither she or the daddy would stumble onto the mummified Pharaoh,which was the point he would open his eyes and come to life and eventalk when it is asked what is new. When the author tells of herchildhood games in the beginning she letting the reader of herarticle understands the kind of woman she is, she was raisedadventurous as it shows in the childhood plays, exploring pyramids,this coupled with her character of being rater domineering andimpatient explains why she would go out into the Mongolian desert yetshe is already five months into her pregnancy.

Thearticle carries the burden of showing women can do impossible thingsLevy wrote in the article that friends and collogues were alarmedwhen she told them she was going on an assignment into the MongolianGobi desert. The author goes ahead to state she is thrilled by theidea of being the woman who goes into the desert in her pregnancy,and even dreamed of telling her kind she was the woman who went tothe edge of the earth when she was pregnant. Thus, the meaning of thearticle is shows the world that a woman can do as might be deemedimpossible. As if to push the adventures woman in her to the edge,while in Mongolia she goes an underground gay bar where everybodyseemed to be comfortable smoking indoors and she even like thefeeling of sitting in the booth surrounded by gay Mongolians despiteher pregnant body feeling strange. By going to all these extremes,the Levy is trying to show a woman can actually do the impossible(Levy 4).

Thewoman in the story enjoys adventure and the power that comes with itby mastering the challenges in the adventure, nevertheless, thisproves to fatal as it turns tragic to horrifying near deathexperience. Levy, miscarries in her hotel room while in Mongolia, asshe watched the infant alive and watched it die, while she undergoesthese, entire she is at a risk of losing her life from breeding outfrom the miscarriage. Levy lives her life having the freedom dowhatever she pleases, which is the reason why she decided to go intothe writing profession so she could do whatever it is she enjoyedwithout being held back (Levy 5).

Themesand Ideas


Theauthor of “Thanksgiving in Mongolia” expresses the desire to befree in the article, this is not just her freedom but the freedom ofevery woman to be able to do what they desire with is controlled orinfluenced by others. As such, she mentions she choose to be a writerbecause the profession favored the kind of woman she always want tobe, that is, one who was free to do what she pleases. In addition,the author brings out the freedom to choose when she takes up theassigned to go to the Mongolian desert despite her state of beingpregnant. As if to prove she made her life choices, she defiles allthose who advised against her travel (Levy 7).


Thearticles reviles the importance of family, as the author starts byfirst relieving her childhood, going through the beautiful memoriesof her childhood play with her father. Probably influenced by her ownchildhood experience, the author endeavors to start her own family,she is married and gets pregnant. Nevertheless, motherhood and familylife seem to be interfering with her chosen way of life, one to dowhatever she chooses, she chooses to go on an assignment in the Gobidesert, despite having some abdominal pains that would carry thepotential of affecting her pregnancy (Levy 7).


Inher description, Levy (9) states she felt an unholy storm movingthrough her body, after which she blacked out due to the pain she wasundergoing. Her description her miscarriage got more horrifying withthe image of the other person on the floor, with the arms and legsmoving to show the miscarried child was still arrive. Levy useshorror probably to bring out the risks and dangers that come with herfreedom to choose. She is quoted saying whatever she saw was notgood, despite the baby being pretty. Thus, the author trying tocommunicate a moral lesson that the choices we choose to do in lifecan be endangering to our own life and that of others where we failto listen to others.


Thefather, Levy father play the role of family life, he influences thegrowth of his daughter as they played adventurous games with theyoung Levy. When the author says, “my father and I would traderoles…” (Levy 1), indicates her father was part of childhoodinfluencing her growth and molding her to the person she was tobecome in future. Thus, the character of her father helps develop theimportant theme of family.

TheMummy is symbolic in the article, it is preserved in the pyramids andit comes to life. This is the situation with the unborn child Levycarries in womb who comes to life and goes, just like the mummyspeaks in the story, the child opens and closes her mouth as heswallow the new world.

Levy,represents the free woman in the modern society, she is chooses herown career path, and chooses whatever she wants do. In addition, thecharacter of Levy is meant to push the modern woman to do things thatmay seem impossible by her own choosing, as she says, “one who isfree to do whatever she chooses.” Through her own undertakings, sheis able to develop the theme freedom.

Mechanicsof the Story

Tone-despitethe begin of the of the article where the narrate applies a ratherhappy tone as she relives the memories of her child play, the rest ofthe story is rather sad and horrifying especially from the point ofthe miscarriage in the hotel room. This is topped by a tone of fearand panic, as is evidence when she says, “this cannot be good”(Levy 19).

Firstperson narrative technique- the author utilizes, the first narrativetechnique to engage her audience allowing them to have a personalknowledge of what she goes through, “I felt unholy storm movethrough my body…” the description via first person narrativehelps the audience relate the different scenarios.

Imagery-Levy utilizes imagery to develop the different themes in her articleincluding the theme of family, horror, and the strength of the woman.When the author describes the miscarried baby, saying it looked good,“my baby was as pretty as a seashell,” she breaks the tension inthe article because of the miscarriage ensuring the audience it stilllooked good.


Levythrough her narrative voice she has made the different descriptionswork, establish different points with her material which ishorrifying and darkly comic, a confession that is rather challenging.The article presents one of the most traumatic experience that anywoman can undergo, and in the case of Levy, she show her strength, bychoosing to view the situation like a journalist, proving she wasstrong and could choose whatever she pleased.


Levy,Ariel. Thanksgivingin Mongolia.New York: New York Times, 2013. Print

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