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Tidbeck’s “Beatrice” is an unconventional short story that explores the love story between an airship and a man named Franz. He  sees the airship and knows her name to be Beatrice and he tries to have her as his own but he cannot “buy” her so he settles for a different airship which he calls Beatrice II and tries to get her to learn to love him. Similarly, a woman that Franz meets coincidently is in love with a steam engine. It is evident that Tidbeck is playing around with gender roles in this story. When the woman has a child with her steam engine, who is a male, the child that results is female. Since the child’s mother dies from childbirth, the story creates a makeshift patriarchal society with Franz, Beatrice II, and the new child. Perhaps since Franz was always searching to “own” Beatrice, he never really listened to the real Beatrice or even Beatrice II. Franz’s longing for ownership is his way of looking for companionship and the child helps him realize that he has kept this Beatrice trapped and eventually both she and the child are set free: two free females.

“He knew what was going to happen…That she would be gone in a matter of minutes, leaving him alone on the ground…Franz stood outside the warehouse, watching the sky, until night fell” (22).

 

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