I found the story to be very interesting, particularly in its role as a feminine point of view on aspects of sexuality and gender. While I could hardly ever know what it is like to be a frigid woman seeking answers about some sort of unsolvable sexual problem, it was certainly a story that made me think. The fantastic elements about actually having vast plains of nothingness within poor Alice, and the obvious allegory to frigidity with the icicles and terrifyingly cold temperatures provided insight into the issue that a woman may face. The problem seems ethereal and impossible, yet still persists. It haunts the woman, despite all the efforts to normalize. Men literally enter her one after the other trying to solve the problem, all unsuccessful. While I don’t know if it is significant, I found her name, Alice to be interesting as well. My first thought hearkened to Alice of Alice in Through the Looking Glass, which lends to fantastic tales of entering a mystical, defying logic and science sort of place, similar to Alice’s situation in the story.
Alice is publicized and scrutinized for her unsolvable oddity and made into a public icon on a talk show, which also made me think of Oprah’s showcasing of odd, outside the norm women who somehow relate to all women. One woman even asked if it ached, but Alice was unable to make a real connection with her, indicating it is all just a show. And seemingly, just as mysteriously as it came, the affliction leaves her; the symbolic ocean of time and persistence and tranquility, ebbing and flowing soon takes it away. These mysterious (particularly to me, a male) situations show an experience that requires the fantastic and ethereal to relate to.