The Need to Fulfill Desires
The Need to Fulfill Desires
Every person has a specific desire that they wish to fulfill sometime in their lives, given the right opportunity and the right reason to fulfill such a desire - The Need to Fulfill Desires introduction. However, not all desires are fulfilled in the manner that people would really want these desires to be done. In the paper, the short stories “Misery” by Anton Chekhov and “Araby” by James Joyce will be discussed separately and then use the lead characters’ desire(s) to portray the commonality between the two short stories. One should remember that their desires were somewhat unfulfilled or unsatisfied in the manner that they sought, which in turn resulted in a sort of emotional stress for the two characters: one lonely and the other somewhat enraged.
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In the first short story “Misery,” Iona—the story’s lead—was a sledge driver; an open-air stage coach, maybe. As the narrator would have described him, he looked gloomy and so does his female steed. It was snowing in St. Petersburg; the names, the setting, and one scene gave that fact away. Under the snow, both the sledge driver Iona and his steed looked gloomy, as if death has swept through and took a portion of their lives away. He was not paying attention to his surroundings which gave away the fact that he was troubled by something; some unfortunate event. An officer rode his sledge and kept on telling him that he does not know how to drive, where in fact he knew how to drive. Out of the blue, he uttered that his son died recently. The officer seemed to be uninterested with where the conversation was going or to Iona’s pain and loss, as he closed his eyes—well it was twilight of evening so he might have been tired. However, that look made Iona seek for someone who would listen to him. So came three young gentlemen who kept talking vulgarly to each other. The shortest among the three seem to have no respect for Iona as he kept on slapping his neck and uttering his complaints about Iona’s slow driving; no respect shown towards Iona. However, it did not matter to him as he uttered the same case about the death of his son. As he was about to tell his tale, the three left the sledge since they were already at the drop-off point. Again, he was lonely with his steed and went back to the stable or yard instead. One of his companions woke up and when he was about to tell him his story, the young lad had his face covered. When he told his horse the story, he was shocked that his steed was listening to him attentively which somewhat fulfilled his desire to express his pain and loss.
In the second story “Araby,” a young lad described the life of his neighborhood, although it could be assumed that it did not really play a significant role to the character’s purpose. However, one could say that a certain girl in the neighborhood gave color and meaning to this simple neighborhood. It was a classic “my best friend’s sister” dilemma, that does not seem to bother his best friend. However, it does bother him a lot as he could not properly talk to her or had not tried at all. One day, the girl broke that wall of ice that was gradually increasing in thickness. She asked him whether he was going to Araby—a huge bazaar—because she could not. The boy immediately promised to buy her something without hesitation, seizing this opportunity to finally woo the girl he greatly desires; for that period of his life at least. So, he asked his uncle if he could go to Araby but unfortunately, his uncle forgot so he arrived at Araby at around closing time with at least a few stores left open that did not interest him. In the end, the lights went out and that feeling of unsatisfied desire crept through him, filling him with suffering and spite. His desires were left unfulfilled completely, although he was able to talk to the girl he desired; that should at least mean something.
In the two stories desire seemed to be the driving force of the two characters, as the two would try to escape their loneliness and suffering. In Iona’s case, the desire to talk to someone about the death of his son and his life could set him free from the grief, loss, and solitude that seemed to fill his inner being. In the young lad’s case, the desire to talk to the girl gave him a reason to push forward and to live on. However, this desire also created an inescapable obsession that seemed to have filled his inner being. Hence, when he failed to buy an Araby ware for the girl, that obsession turned against him as it filled his senses with unwanted emotions—suffering and rage. However, it still stands that he was able to fulfill his desire to talk to the girl, which was something to feel good about, at least.
The desire found in the first story was fulfilled when Iona started to converse with his steed. To his surprise, the steed listened to him as if she could relate to the pain and suffering that Iona was feeling. It was a sweet ending indeed. Even if it was not how Iona sought it to be fulfilled, the feeling of someone—or in his case, something—listening to him about his pain and loss eased his mind, as if life entered him once again. The steed saved him from further self-destruction and social regression. In the second story, the young lad’s desire to talk to his best friend’s sister has been fulfilled, although it was not in the manner that he sought. It was the sister that initiated the talking; aside from the usual small talk that happens between them. This time, it entailed a purpose. However, this feeling of elusive bliss has kept the lad thinking about the girl and the Araby bazaar. Hence, a new desire—more like an obsession—took over. It was a sort of mission wherein he could not afford to experience obstacles or setbacks along the way. However, it was inevitable as setback after setback seemed to pull him away farther from the mission. That unfulfilled desire has sent him sulking in the corner, filled up his senses with guilt, suffering, and rage—spite towards the first obstacle which was the uncle.
The need to fulfill desires is existent to every person. In the two short stories, the two lead characters’ desires pushed them forward into life. However, it also held them back inside their shell of a body, resulting in more pain, suffering, loneliness, spite, and regret. Alas, desire may be a double-edge sword that seems to send characters into bliss or into abyss.
Chekhov, Anton. “Misery.” 2009. Readbookonline.net. 4 May 2009. <http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/1026/>
Joyce, James. “Araby.” 2009. Fiction: The Eserver Collection. 4 May 2009 <http://fiction.eserver.org/short/araby.html>