“She felt more beaten up after a tough basketball game than she did now. Plus, as a jock you got used to having other people’s hands on you—kneading a cramped muscle, playing tight defense, scrambling for a loose ball, taping an ankle, correcting a stance, stretching a hamstring. And yet: the feeling of injustice itself turned out to be strangely physical.” (page 16)
What is the purpose of Franzen rationalizing the experience of rape to that of physical competition for the narrator?
The author portrays the narrator as physically agile and strong, due to the fact that they are a competitive high school athlete. The author implies the physical act of rape is no more painful than aspects of competitive sports in order to portray how justice is a character in itself within the story. The absence of justice, in this case, spurred the narrator to feel more indignant and violated than the physical retributions of rape.