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In the story “The Lifeguard,” is told in first-person retrospective. The lifeguard is telling the story of his last summer before college. The lifeguard is self-centered at the beginning of the story.

“I was eighteen then. I wore zinc oxide on my nose, a whistle around my neck. No. 4 Coppertone covered my body. I could lift a girl into the air with each arm, and I loved to walk the beach, a girl dangling from each bicep. Girls clung to my stand, like the shipwrecked to their raft, and I could do no wrong.” ( p. 424)

There is some foreshadowing in this story. Ric Spencer, the former lifeguard, failed to save Billy Mandel when he was younger. The narrator almost has the same thing happen to him.

“I dashed back back to my stand, grabbed the first-aid kit, and raced, my own feet searing in the sand. I made my way through where the crowd had gathered and saw Becky Spencer, her face puffed, her mouth open but no sound coming, her eyes in a fixed stare, turning as blue as the sea I’d set my sights on, and I knew this was the the color of Billy Mandel when he’d been tossed back the shore.” (p. 429)

The narrator is saved from the guilt of losing Becky due to not paying attention by Mrs. Lovenheim. She saves Becky with the Heimlich maneuver.  This story shows how your life can change in a single instance.

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