Essay on Circumstances
Many different characteristics come together in a story to make the characters who they are. It can be education, family, economic and social status, the direct environment in which they live, and even their actions throughout the story. All of these things make the main character come to life. For a moment, the character is real to the reader. This brings the reader to feel they're a part of the story also.
In Cather's "Paul's Case", Paul is a teenager that has a horrible outlook on life and feels everyone around him isn't good enough to be in his company. He is in high school but, that is the last place he wants to be. In his opinion, he doesn't fit in. He seems to get into trouble at school quite a bit and he has no respect for the school staff or his father. Maybe he wouldn't be as troubled if his mother was still alive. The only thing that makes Paul happy is the time he spends at Carnegie Hall. When that is taken away, Paul lashes out.
After his escapade with the stolen money, Paul is overwhelmed with thoughts of what is waiting for him at home. Paul was determined to get a taste of the good life if only for a moment. He wanted a place to fit in and it had to be as close to wealth as possible. In his eyes, the life he led was dreadful. In the end, this young boy felt there was no other alternative but suicide. His father's punishment was fatal for him. In my opinion, Paul needed room to make his own decisions but special attention because an underlying problem was evident.
In Glaspell's "A Jury of Her Peers", the main character is someone we don't even hear directly from. We learn about Mrs. Wright from a group of other people. It has been found out that Mr. Wright has died, murder most likely. Mrs. Wright is the main suspect. Her friend Mrs. Hale makes the comment about how much she has changed. Mrs. Hale believes it was due to the past twenty years of living with Mr. Wright. Mrs. Wright never had any children and her husband is described as not being a happy or pleasant person to be around. Considering these factors, I believe Mrs. Hale wouldn't have been surprised if Minnie had killed her husband. Many reasons were there as far as motive. Mrs. Hale kept saying she didn't think Minnie did it but, in my opinion, she did. She did it out of spite for having turned into such a cold, alone, and isolated person.
In Jackson's "The Lottery", it is unclear to me who actually is the main character. I'm going to take a chance and say Mrs. Hutchinson is. The whole story was interesting but strange. When Mr. Hutchinson's name is drawn in the lottery, Mrs. Hutchinson is filled with panic. She lives in a small town of 300 people where everyone knows everyone. This didn't matter when her husband's name was drawn. Denial rushed over her and she swore her husband didn't have enough time when it was his turn to draw. I'm sure Mrs. Hutchinson was relieved her children weren't picked but, I wonder if she would've rather her husband drawn the black dot. Since she knew there was no other choice, Mrs. Hutchinson went ahead and took her place in the center of the Square. This was very brave and wise in my opinion.
In Gaines "The Sky is Gray", James is the main character and he is a young boy. He lives in poverished conditions ever since his father was drafted into the Army. James is extremely sensitive and loving on the inside. His lack of expressing it is because his mother thinks it is a sign of weakness. Oh, how he would love to embrace his mother! It's sad to see James want to be close to his mother but hold back for fear of rejection. I believe his mother's reasoning for her strict distance from him was to help him become a man. James hunger for affection was never satisfied. He was without a father and most likely felt like a mother too.
The characters in these stories are very different. One aspect is the same: They bring the reader into their story and make them feel like they are right there. It's exciting to imagine being them and wondering what they will do or think next.