Monday, February 11, 2008

Abrupt Reminders

Underneath Jake’s violent and prideful exterior is a poor man stuck in his situation like a squirrel turning in a cage. Although the reality of his life smacks him upside the head constantly, he tries to pretend there is hope. Upon hearing about the abduction of a millionaire’s son he says, “When you boil it all low you’ll see that everybody gets a equal break in the end” (34). Then his voice trails off uncertainly. At work he relaxes for a bit to chat with his buddies, but he is harshly interrupted with the announcement of an inspection, which results in his humiliation and a recommendation for a hundred demerits.

The establishment Jake goes to has the curious impression of a home, a place of security where people go to be comforted and reassured that everything will turn out okay. Rose is given a maternal depiction. Big-bosomed and full of loving words, she meets Jake and his friends at the top of the landing like a mother greeting her boys after they had spent the day playing. She says, “Be a good boy for mama!... I’m mighty proud you brought your pals along, Jake… take off your coats and hats and hang ‘em in the closet and make yourselves at home… Just throw your troubles away” (194). Like a doting mother she offers them good Southern food, and they eat until they are groggy with contentment. In this establishment, where Jake comes to delude himself, “the lights were lowered just enough to give the room a dreamlike air” (198). This false atmosphere quickly dissolves, however, when Jake attempts to find his wallet. In the span of a couple minutes, he is attacked by the establishment’s patrons, socked behind the head, beaten with brass knuckles, and dragged out of the building, broke. As always, he is abruptly shaken from his delusional dreaming.

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