Monday, February 11, 2008

Confound it all...

As I came to the end of Wright’s novel, I felt like I had just reached the end of one long question that I still don’t understand. In the last scene of the book, Wright finally aroused in me the hopelessness that he wanted me to feel the entire time. Lil’s beating passed before my eyes in a total haze, and I stood powerless to stop it. Her fear fueled my pity for her. I couldn’t help but wish she had simply picked up and left Jake after reporting him to the Post Office. What did she think would happen when he found out?

Conversely, I also felt the rage that Jake wholly embraced. How angering it would be to witness the terrible fruition of my bad decisions in one night. Everything Jake had done wrong culminated in losing that 100 dollars. Still, Jake seemed unable to attribute the depravity of his situation to himself. He shirked his own responsibility and instead directed his rage towards others.

During the last pages of the book, anger and pity clashed together in my mind, and after their eruption, I stood confounded. I strained for the right questions to ask, to probe the depths of what Wright was implying. When I fell short, a phrase popped into my head: “What to hell?” As I thought about it, the phrase adequately sums up my initial reaction as I finished up the book. What the hell, Jake? What the hell?

1 comment:

Erin Sells said...

This is pretty much the response Wright intends for you to have, I think. He doesn't posit answers or solutions--that would be entirely too neat and simple.