“Ripped Off” Summary: Alice Adams Short Story

Ripped Off Summary Alice Adams Short Story
“Ripped Off” Summary: Alice Adams

“Ripped Off” is a short story by Alice Adams about a young woman in a tenuous relationship trying to cope with her feelings. Arriving home one day, there’s a change that she tries to understand. It can be read in the sample of The Stories of Alice Adams (52% in). Here’s a summary of “Ripped Off”.

“Ripped Off” Summary

Deborah, twenty-three years old, returns to her flat in the morning after her temporary office job to find her desk drawer has been pulled out and dumped on the bed. It was full of little notes from Philip, and she wonders what he means by this. He’s not nosy or jealous like her old boyfriend, Juan.

Deborah is tall and top-heavy with expressive eyes and long brown hair. She and Philip live in an expensive building owned by her stepfather for a token rent. She’s viewed as a hippie but doesn’t really agree.

Deborah cleans up the mess, embarrassed that Philip knows her sentimentality. He moved in after his commune disbanded and is now waiting to start his term at the Art Institute. He’s twenty-one with a peaceful presence but doesn’t say much. Their relationship hasn’t been defined and she knows he could leave at any time.

As Deborah finishes straightening up her bed, she notices Philip has taken his zebra-skin rug. Now she’s sure he’s gone and is struck by the loss. She panics over what a psychiatrist told her was an abandonment issue. She remembers Philip had mentioned getting the rip repaired and calms down, accepting this as the reason for its disappearance.

While waiting for Philip to call, as he always does in the afternoon, she first gets calls from her mother and two friends. Deborah’s mother is very accepting while Philip’s mother disapproves of his hippie lifestyle.

Philip calls and Deborah asks about the drawer and rug. He realizes they’ve been robbed, which hadn’t occurred to Deborah. She looks around but everything else seems to be there.

Deborah starts making a lamb stew for Philip and then calls the police. Twenty minutes later, two young police officers arrive. They’re sympathetic and advise her about the locks. Deborah finds it odd nothing else was taken and one comments that hippies love those rugs. Deborah loses her goodwill toward them.

Deborah enjoys serving Philip his supper and watching him eat hungrily. She wants to proclaim how much he means to her but she controls herself. Philip looks frail and is focused on his art work. She doesn’t tell him what was in the drawer. Deborah suddenly thinks it would be wonderful if they had a child.

Deborah clears the kitchen, which she likes doing and then sits with Philip. They both read and Deborah wants things to stay just like this, but with a baby. After several hours of reading, they go to bed.

Opening her bedroom drawer, Deborah finds her favorite silk scarf, the only gift from her mother she’s liked, is gone. She manages not to cry and doesn’t tell Philip. Of course, he’ll notice someday, but she feels diminished without it, like its absence is a bad sign for them.

Philip falls asleep quickly but Deborah lies listening to the foghorns. Her thoughts of loss are unbearable. Even if she had a child, he would grow up and go away. She presses against Philip and holds him tightly, as if she could keep him there.

I hope this summary of “Ripped Off” by Alice Adams was helpful.