An Intensely Lonely Character. Essay, Research Paper
I believe that before this statement can be explored one should define the terms used in it. The term short story has often been a question like how long is a piece of string, but in this now we have been able to define it, if not precisely. The short story ‘differs from the novel in the dimension which Aristotle calls ‘magnitude´, and this limitation imposes differences both in the effects that can be achieved and in the choice and managements of the elements to achieve these effects. The idea of loneliness is one that I believe needs exploring, as it can be found in both physical and emotional terms. The oxford dictionary (7th edition 1982) defines the word as being ‘solitary; companionless; isolated; unfrequented and sad because of being without friends or company, physically or mentally.´
There are short stories where loneliness is not apparent, for example John Updike´s story ‘Lifeguard´. In this the author portrays a man who is actually alone in that n other character is explored but he does not fell lonely. This is apparent even from the first line as the protagonist opens by saying, “Without doubt I am a splendid fellow.” He is vain and admires himself for what he is; he does not fell the need for others when he is already such a splendid fellow. The story tells us of this life guards life, for none months he throws himself at his work, polishing his way through many biblical texts. As it is written in the text it is as though he is trying to run through an obstacle course, as he says “I sway appalled on the ladder of minus signs, by which theologians would surmount the void”. He compares his two professions, “In each of my roles I sit attentively perched on the edge of an immensity”. The reader is forced to get the impression that he is so wrapped up in his work, that he has no time for loneliness even when he appears to be physically alone. He seems to be happy as he is and in fact, his parting words are “so be joyful! Be joyful is my commandment!” There are quite a considerable number that don´t have a protagonist, Liam O´Flaherty´s ‘The Tent´ and V.S.Prichard´s short story ‘Many are disappointed.´ These are what are referred to in literary circles as a tranche, which is, by definition, a portion or slice of a life. It can be a single moment or many hours, but it only tells us of one single event. In H.E.Bates´s Short story ‘Never´ the protagonist is clearly intensely lonely. This girl is desperately trying to break out of her life, but she never succeeds. She appears to be physically alone, as the voice of her father appears to come from the past. She is obviously emotionally lonely as well, the way that she repeats over and over again the same words ‘I´m going away´, almost willing herself to believe them. The names of the station seem to taunt her, as does the smooth melody of the waltz. Her surroundings may well be her own invention, a way of trying to justify her loneliness. She has the ‘cry of the lonely which she repeats over and over again, right up to the last, it becomes a prayer a cry for help, those two words, ‘some day! Some day!´ In conclusion I have found the protagonist of a short story to be an intensely lonely character. I have also found three distinct categories, which short stories fall into, the few where the protagonist is not a lonely character, whether physically, or emotionally (for which I have used ‘Lifeguard´ as my example). The ones which represent a tranche of life (‘Many are disappointed´ and ‘The Tent´), and of course the ones that we are primarily dealing with, the short stories where the protagonist is an intensely lonely character (‘Never´). I have found the majority of the Short Stories that we have dealt with to fall into this category, and I have come up with two reasons for this. Firstly Short stories, because of their brevity can only put across the emotions of one single character, so they may appear lonely for the simple reason that no other character is explored. Finally many of the authors of these short Stories are living away from their native land, so they may be writing about their own emotions.