Merry-Go-Round In The Sea – Radolph Stowe Essay, Research Paper
In Randolph Stowe’s novel, “MERRY-GO-ROUND IN THE SEA”, the problems of adolescence and early adulthood are a primary focus. Many factors contribute to the complexity of these problems, the main issues being h effect war has on a growing boy and the loss of Rick’s carefree attiude and innocence through the trauma he endured as a POW. Not only does Stowe concentrate on phychological changes within the main characters, but also the physical changes time influcts upon them. Stowe effectively includes these issues as part of the novel’s cycle, which is represented by the symbol, the merry-go-round.
As a small child, the war had a shattering effect on Rob, though in his naivety it was no obvious to himself. The general issues of growing up are hard enough for a child to cope with, let alone the added concern of war. The absence of Rob’s father made the war situation considerably harder for him to cope with. Although he was never particularly close to him, Rob respected his father and regarded him a a gentleman “He did not think that there would be any more gentlemen after his father’s time.” Rob considered this lack of closeness between himself and his father to be the end of an era. Another important issue caused by the war is Rob’s constant travel. His roots were constantly being uprooted as his mother dragged him from farm to farm. Due to th remoreness of these properties, Robmissed out on one of the most vital aspects of childhoos, constant friendship. From this independance, Rob learnt to be strong, but he also failed to see the importance of peers and what they could contribute to a problem.
Rick’s absence was also a crucial factor to the psychological development of Rob’s character. Just as he began to stop focusing on Rick’s absence, Rick returned home. all signs of the little independance Rob had developed disappeared, and he fitted neatly into the category of “Rick’s shadow”. The expectations Rob placed on Rick while he was away were impossible for him to live up to upon his return. After a bad dream, Rob cried out “Where’s Rick? I want Rick.” However upon returning, Rick found that he had his own problms to cope with and could not always be the support Rob was looking for. The strongest factors bonding the two together was Rob’s love for Rick and the tolerance Rick had for the boy.
Rob was not the only young person the war had a dramatic impact on. Rick was also severely traumatised and returned home a completely different person. While his absence was teaching Rob independance, it wa bestowing him with the gift of trust in others. In order to get by, he teamed up with Hughie and they supported each other through the torture of being a POW. This was a vital part to Ric’s survival, but something he refused to let go of, even when he had his own family supporting him. Memories of the war constantly haunted hi, often becoming confusing and creating a feeling of helplessness within Rob. The fun, carefee Rick everyone had grown to love was replaced with a shell of a man, who was still happy and energetic, but had a demon haunting his soul.
The main characters did not just develop psychologically, but also physically. However this change was not necessarily for the better. Rick returned from the war looking very similar to the way he did before he left. “He seemed to be wearing the same clothes, the same blue shirt and grey trousers.” In Rob’s eyes, Rick’s difference was in the face. His eyes were more gaunt looking, and seemed to hold some sort of secret. However, Rob eventually becamse resigned to the fact that this was something he would never be able to help Rick with.
Although the war had a shattering effect on the characters, it was the main contributor to the development of them, both mentally and physically.