Fried Green Tomatoes Human Nature Essay, Research Paper
Coping with situations within FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
Human Nature, it s our instinct, our reaction, our thoughts, and our ability to make decisions. It has been examined from every conceivable angle. It has been scrutinized, interrogated, glorified and even corrupted by every medium in the world, but none so extensively as the written word. Literature has explored every component of human nature from pride to envy and insecurity to depression. Fannie Flagg s novel FRIED GREEN TOMATOES pays particular attention to human nature and specific ways we choose to cope with the situations that life places before us. Flagg explores humor, nostalgia, and avoidance as common examples of how, not only her characters, but humans in general confront the circumstances surrounding their lives. Humor is and integral part of human nature. It has the ability to lighten almost any situation and put people at ease. Humor is a common bond between any person on earth, from the very wealthy to the impoverished. Idgie Threadgoode is the perfect embodiment of humor. Her wisecracks and tall tales helped her to face a number of less-than-comfortable situations throughout the novel. A prime example of her use of humor was with Smokey Lonesome. When Smokey first comes into the caf for a bite to eat, he is so nervous that he can t stop shaking and he most certainly cannot eat. Idgie, seeing his discomfort, introduced herself and proceeded to tell Smokey a joke. On November, a big flock of duck, oh, about forty or more, landed right smack in the middle of that lake, and while they were sitting there, that afternoon, a fluke thing happened. The temperature dropped so fast that the whole lake froze over, as solid as a rock, in a matter of three seconds. One, two, three, just like that . They just flew off and took the lake with em. That lake is somewhere in Georgia, to this very day Idgie s exaggerated use of humor allowed the wanderer to settle down and relax. Later, when her nephew Buddy jr. is run over by a train and loses his arm, Idgie once again uses her sense of humor to help him look at the situation from a lighter side. When he was little and there was somebody new in the caf , Idgie would bring him in and have him tell this long story about going fishing on the Warrior River, and he d get them all caught up in the story and the Idgie would say, How big was the catfish Stump? And he would put out his arm, like the grown fishermen used to do to show how long the fish was, and he d say Oh about that big. And Idgie and Stump would laugh over the
expressions on the people s faces, trying to figure out how long that fish was. Instead of mourning over the loss of his arm, Idgie helped Buddy Jr. find amusement in it. Finally, during the Frank Bennett murder trial, Idgie is put on the spot an accused of the murder herself. Her quick retorts and wisecracks leave the prosecution speechless and leave her feeling empowered. And left taking Frank Bennett s wife and child with you? Just his wife, the child came later. How much later? The usual nine months. Humor is an extremely effective way to make the best of a bad situation. As we grow older, looking into the past becomes a large part of our lives. Nostalgia becomes more and more a way to deal with difficult circumstance. Many characters display the ability to use nostalgia as an escape from reality. Once again Smokey lonesome is a perfect example. While wandering across the country, he encountered many tough times, but happily looked back at his days at the caf to help him through. All those bad times, he would just close his eyes and walk into the caf again and see her standing there, smiling at him. Smokey s love and memories of the caf and of Ruth more than likely is what kept him alive for a good portion of the novel. Nostalgia not only allows us to cope with difficult situations in life but also transcends it and comforts us in death. The man in the hotel lobby walked over and shook the smiling Atris O. Peavey, who was now quiet and still. What s the matter with you? The man jumped back Jesus Christ! This nigger is dead! . But Artis was still way up in the woods with his barbecue. It seems appropriate that after such a difficult life, Artis passes and returns to a time in which he was truly content. The most obvious example of a character that uses nostalgia is Mrs. Threadgoode. Through the entire novel she narrates a wonderful story, of love, hate, joy, sorrow and even murder. She recollects the days that she and her entire family were together and all the wonderful times that they shared. The reader may not identify her as nostalgic because we see her more as a narrator than anything else, but her ability as a story teller helps her to overcome feelings of loneliness and senility. Avoidance, evasion of the truth or the refusal to accept the facts is a common way that people react when faced with a complex series of events. Humans seem to think that if they just ignore a problem it might go away. This is a common misconception displayed by a number of characters in the novel. Idgie is a prime model of this. After the death of her favorite brother, Buddy, Idgie takes to running away from home in an attempt to escape her pain. You never saw anyone hurt so much I thought she would die right along side him. It would break your heart to look at her when she couldn t bear to be home any longer, she d just take off and stay with Sipsey over in Troutville She never did cry. Young Idgie does not know how to deal with the death of her brother, so in place of opening up to her family and confiding in them, she runs away and keeps everything she feels inside of her. Idgie s nephew, Stump, also displays an inadequate acknowledgement of his feelings. He confides in his aunt that he is uncomfortable around girls, and instead of showing fear, he attempts to show disinterest by bombarding them with insults. You told her to come back when she grown some tits and ask you again. Isn t that right? The best example of avoidance in this novel is by far Evelyn Couch. Her search for comfort in food is apparent throughout a majority of the story. Her constant nibbling helps her to forget her problems and concentrate on something that makes her feel good for a brief period of time. Her refusal to find an find alternative to the life that she despises so much leads her to compulsive eating, and in turn makes her even more dissatisfied with her life. Even though you may run from your problems, as many of the characters find out, they will always be there when you stop. As humans we must understand that humor, nostalgia and avoidance is not always something we can control. Sometimes our instincts take over and leave us more confused that when we had originally started. No one truly knows why we act the way we do, it is highly probable that no one ever will. What we can count on though, is the continued exploration of human nature until the end of time, especially through literature such as the novel FRIED GREEN TOMATOES.