Expectations Vs Reality Literature Reviews Examples
In this section, I will discuss the articles; Beach, Emergency and Manners of Dying. The main characters that I will focus on are; the ex-junkie who is the writer of the Beach, Georgie who is a life saver in Emergency and lastly, Harry Parlington who is the Warden in Manners of Dying. I will discuss their expectations, how realistic they were and what the outcome was. I will then conclude by comparing the three characters and how realistic their expectations were.
Beach: Ex Junkie.
In the Beach, the Ex-junkie visits the beach daily but is unable to swim. He is disinterested in the people and the occurrences around him. However, an elderly couple caught his attention at one point and that made him aware of the environment around him. His first expectation of seeing the couple was that the old man was going to die very soon. The reason being he looked weak and very skinny. “.but he looked like he was going to breathe his last breath anytime now or as if this were his last summer” His expectations were realistic as the man looked frail and wasted (Bulano). The thinness of his form and the way his skin was worn out. It barely covered the man to the extent that the author writer calls him a skeleton. “while the skeleton that was her husband lay on his back with nothing but a tiny swimsuit on(Denis).”
In reality, the man did not die for the period that he was there at the beach. The writer got caught up in his thoughts, and his imagination took the better of him, he imagined the man’s death marked with a tsunami or an earthquake. He imagined darkness and a black sun that brought tears to his eyes (Bulano). I find the ex-junkie a sad and lonely man. His relationship with other ex-junkies was superficial as they did not know each other personally. His state made his expectations a bit cut off from reality as he was not interacting with ordinary people.
Georgie has several instances of expectations that are both unrealistic and realistic. His first instance was when he was cleaning floors in the hospital. He is leaning feverently then starts crying as he thinks there is a lot of blood on the floor. In his dialogue with the writer, he states that there is blood on the floor whereas the writer finds the floors quite clean. ““Jesus, there is a lot of blood on this floor” Georgie complained “where,” I asked, the floor looked clean enough to me (Denis).” His expectations in this instance were unrealistic as there was no blood. His reaction was triggered by the medications he had taken (Denis).
He ended up pulling out a knife lodged in a man’s eye. His expectations n this instance may be seen as though he expected the man to live and not to have any serious injuries. The expectation proved to be true despite the concern among the rest of his colleagues that the man would lose his eyesight and suffer some form of brain damage (Denis). The influence of the drugs Georgie had taken made him indifferent to the situation which in my opinion would have raised concern to a sober person. His unrealistic expectations though proved to be positive are not what I would rely on in such a situation.
After his drive with the clerk for hours, they both concluded they were lost. They expected this as they were not familiar with the environment around them. They however realized that this was not the case as they were just outside the town, a place referred to as the “drive-in”(Denis). “We are right outside town, Fuckhead; we’ve just been driving around and around.” Their expectation was realistic, but the outcome was not what they had expected as they were not lost. The outcome of their expectation was different from what they had expected (Denis). I find it odd that Georgie and his partner weregoing round in circles in a town that they were quite familiar with. I think their expectation was as a result of confusion. The two characters are portrayed as peculiar individuals even from the way they refer t each other.
Manner of Dying: Harry Parlington.
The warden officer expects Kevin Barlow to die through execution for his crimes. His expectation is realistic as that was the penalty put on him due to his actions. However, each manner of dying ends up with the boy dying but in different ways (Martel). The first instance, Kevin was duly executed as it is supposed to be and died by the rope at 7:01am. “At 7:01am, the trap was released and your son Kelvin Barlow died painlessly.”
The warden expected the boy to give his last words in all circumstances. Each prisoner due to execution is always given a chance to say their last words and most of them say them to their next of kin or loved ones. In the first instance, Kevin sent his love to his mother; this was according to the writer’s expectation. “Tell my mother I love her.” However, in some of the preceding circumstances, Kelvin did not have any last words or was not in a position to say them. “I asked Kelvin if he had any last words or message he wanted to be transmitted. He did not seem to hear me. I insisted trying to make myself heard above the roar of his laughter to no avail (Martel).”
Kelvin was a known smoker; the warden expected Kelvin would appreciate a last smoke before he died. However, in all circumstances, Kelvin did not smoke even when provided with the cigarette. The warden’s expectation was realistic as those about to be normally executed want to do what they loved doing just before they are executed (Martel).
All the three characters had expectations. Most of them had expectations that were influenced by their immediate circumstance. The Ex-junkie was recovering from his heroin addiction. The drug has a way of making people hallucinate. His expectations were as a result of this (Bulano). I sympathize with him as he may not have control over what he was going through. Georgie on the other hand was also not in his right mind when he imagined blood on the floor. His state was as a result of the drugs he had taken and the condition in the emergency room where there are always many bleeding patients must have gotten to his head. His expectation at that time arouses sympathy. His second expectation that Webster would not die or have serious injuries after pulling out the knife was unrealistic. The injured man had already implied a motor problem, which made it likely that he had some brain damage. His wound needed to be handled with care. Georgie’s actions leave me in a state of awe (Denis).
The Warden had realistic expectations throughout. The outcomes were not as he expected though. The different states of the prisoner led to the changes in outcome. The ex-junkie had bad expectations; Georgie had both good and bad expectations. I find Georgie’s expectation that Webster would not die irrespective of how the knife was removed as positive. It was however there is a bad expectation according to me to settle for the idea of being lost. The expectation can lead to loss of hope. On the other hand, the Warden’s expectations were sad (Martel). I find the latter sad because death is not a happy occasion and the small things that a prisoner about to be executed is given do not change the situation.
Bulano, Robert. Beach. London: Oxford Publishers, 2010.
Denis, Johnson. Emergency. New York: Adventure Works, 2011.
Martel, Yann. Manners of Dying. London: Oxford publishers, 2010.