Revenge Defined Through Fiction Essay, Research Paper
Revenge Defined Through Fiction Revenge. One of the definitions in Webster s Dictionary refers to it as a chance toget even, as by a return match after having lost the first one. Revenge can be found inhuman nature, but can be best and most vividly described when written. Many authors seemto find that adding revenge to a plot can lead the reader to believe something is true when inreality there can be an unexpected twist to the story just waiting to happen. This leaves thereader guessing, hanging on every word, and makes for an interesting story. Fiction isusually an excellent channel of this because the revenge in the plot is well thought out by theauthor. In stories such as The Catbird Seat by James Thurber, The Five-Forty-Eight byJohn Cheever, and Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer, the theme of revenge isprevalent. Even though it is found in all three stories, the most classic example is Mr.Martin s plan for revenge. Miss Dent and Gimpel, even though having planned revenge,seemed to have achieved something greater. Because of Mr. Martin s inability to go through with his murder plot, his revenge onMrs. Barrows became even more satisfying than he expected. The original plot consisted ofMrs. Barrows being rubbed out (553). The plan was moving along very smoothly untilMr. Martin realized he had forgotten something very important– the murder weapon. Thissignifies that even if Mr. Martin had actually wanted to kill Mrs. Barrows, his subconsciousknew that he would not do it. After realizing that he had forgotten the murder weapon, inthe back if his mind a vague idea stirred, sprouted (556). The plan would be to make Mrs.Barrows think that he was preparing a bomb to blow up that old windbag, Mr. Fitweiler and he would also make her think that he was on heroin (557). When she went to informMr. Fitweiler of this, she ended up incriminating herself because everyone thought that shewas crazy. Mr. Martin was then left with no guilt on his conscience about any wrongdoing because Mrs. Barrows did it all herself. He escaped theconsequences of being arrested and taken to prison by not killing her. Also, what made the revenge all the more satisfying was the fact that Mrs. Barrows finally realized what hehad done when she said, If you weren t such a drab, ordinary little man, I d think youplanned it all. My God it s really too perfect (558). In the end Mr. Martin finally got to
sit in the catbird seat (553). Similar to Mr. Martin, Miss Dent planned to take revenge on Blake, but she, unlikeMr. Martin, willingly relinquished it for something greater. When she was in the coal yardwith Blake, she first wanted him to feel the pain that he had caused her. Miss Dent did notcare about Blake at that point, but just knowing that she could determine his fate gave her asense of power. She expressed this when she says, Kneel down! Kneel down! Do what Isay. Kneel down! (89). Threatening Blake was not just to get even, she did it to makeherself feel better. In the end, Miss Dent did not kill Blake because she found a kindness in herself and she told him, Oh, I m better than you, I m better than you, and I shouldn twaste my time or spoil my life like this (89). If revenge had taken place, she would havekilled him right there, but instead she gave it up for empowerment. In relinquishing heroriginal intent, she gains back her dignity and selfworth which was much more important toher than revenge. Like Mr. Martin and Miss Dent, Gimpel s original plot for revenge was to createharm, but resulted in something greater than simple revenge. Because of his deviation fromthis plan, he was able to attain knowledge and experience the world, something that thepeople of Frampol would never get to do. Throughout Gimpel s life, the town made fun ofhim, but he let himself be taken advantage of because he knew that anything could be true(99). Elka s appearance to him to tell him not to serve the bread he had urinated in was aturning point in Gimpel s life. He decided that it was time to break free from the cruel town. He told his apprentice, I know what I m doing and he went into the world (108). Gimpel, even though he became a homeless storyteller, enjoyed his travels and thepeople he met because they were kind and listened to his stories. In his old age, Gimpel achieved a greater wisdom when he finally confirmed to himself that there were no liesbecause anything was possible. In all three stories, the characters stray from their original intent to create harm. Thiscould tell us something about human nature. The writers of these stories probably realizedthat even though most people would like to take an evil revenge, most of us are not capableof doing so. In the end, the sweetest and most satisfying revenge to take is for us to be trueto ourselves and not let others actions affect us.