Of Desperation and Despair
People often seem to live fulfilled lives, especially if they do not seem to be lacking anything. In many cases, they never complain about their lives and no one finds any reason to intervene. Some people seem to have it all, whether it is fame, fortune, or beauty, but then they never get to live the full life that others expect from them. They try finding their life’s purpose, but something seems to block their way. People face situations that cause them to experience depression and despair, and they become desperate. This is the case in Richard Cory, who is admired by everyone in town. It is also the case with Suzy, who, despite having a PhD in anthropology, she ends up living a desperate life and making desperate decisions. Henry and Lyman spend their summer traveling and living life in their red convertible. They live life in their own terms during the summer. However, things change once Henry is drafted into the service, and spends some time fighting the Vietnam War. In all the cases, the people expect the characters to live a fulfilled and meaningful life, but they do not get to achieve their purpose. The different characters in the poem, Richard Cory, and in the short stories Ranch Girl and The Red Convertible, experience a turnaround in their lives, which lead to depression and despair, and it leads them to make desperate decisions.
Suzy is one of the characters in the Ranch Girl. She was an achiever in her early years, and this is seen in the fact that she has not only gone to college, but she has managed to get the highest qualification, which is a PhD in anthropology. Therefore, one would expect her to have achieved much in her life because of her qualifications. This is not the case, as her decision to get married made her forfeit her life’s dreams and ambitions. She regrets the way she wasted her life organizing and holding parties for her first husband, and she sees this as the worst mistake she made. She was not able to fulfill her life’s dream, and she ended up colliding with the law. She has a police record for possessing drugs. She ends up getting married three times. She does not seem to find a way of changing her life’s prospects for the better. She learns how to drive behind the mob during cattle drives, and she reads the cards. She marries a Buddhist once her first husband runs off with one of her sorority sisters. Suzy shows her desperation and despair in life, and this contributes to her making desperate decisions. Her desperation comes from the fact that she was not able to fulfill her purpose in life. She does not get a chance to have a better life, which she wanted when she studied for a PhD (Meloy).
Richard Cory is a man who has it all. The people consider him a gentleman, based on the way he dresses and carries himself. He is admired by all, and he has the looks and the riches. He makes the people think that he has no needs and desires in this life, since he seems to have everything he wants. The people think that he is everything, and they long to be like him. Yet, in spite of all his wealth and charm, Cory decides to commit suicide. Then, the people realize that they did not really know him at all. The people only observed his outside appearance, and they never bothered to know him. Cory seemed to have the world at his feet. He seemed destined for a greater purpose. However, he cut his life short, and this was an end to his dreams. He never got a chance to realize the meaning of life, or find and fulfill the purpose in his life. Cory was a desperate man. He was different from the rest of the people. The people distinguished him in every aspect, including the way he dressed, walked and talked. He was a quiet man, and it is probable that he was also lonely. He was surrounded by people who were different from him, and he did not find anyone to share his life with or to tell his problems. Cory was a depressed man, and he made the desperate decision of committing suicide (Robinson 19).
Henry and Lyman are brothers who enjoy spending time together. They buy a car together, and they use it to travel to different places. They find themselves in Alaska, after driving a stranger home. They live a carefree live, and they do not have any worries. Henry enlists for the army and he goes to fight the Vietnam War. He stays away from his family for three years, during which time he changes a lot. The war has changed him, and he is no longer the carefree and cheerful person he once was before going to the war. He becomes aloof, and jumpy. He no longer jokes around with his brother, and it is obvious that he is having psychological problems and nightmares concerning the war. Despite his brother’s efforts, Henry is not able to go back to his old self. He becomes depressed, and he eventually dies after drowning in the river. Henry is traumatized and depressed, and this leads him to make the desperate decision of jumping in the river (Erdrich 1-10).
The characters in the short stories and the poem have the chance of experiencing a better life. However, they encounter different experiences in their lives, which contributes to the problems that they have later on in their lives. They become depressed and desperate because of these experiences. This leads them to despair, and they make decisions that they would not ordinarily make under different circumstances.