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James’ character appears to be a hard driven man in his mid thirties who is not quite sure about the direction which his life is taking and seems to be unsure whether he is satisfied or not. Molly is James’ girlfriend and takes the role of a delicate soul with a penchant for al things living seen by the way she is affected by the butterflies on the highway (Canty). She is a writer who is enthusiastic about taking care of herself seen by her sobriety and vegan diet but she also loves to express herself seen by the type of work that she does (writing) as well as her liking of tattoos. Sam is James’ old friend from college and comes out as a semi-irresponsible father and husband who nonetheless, appears to be doing fine financialy depicted by the description of his house and lifestyle (Canty). He also comes off as having an adulterous aspect about him although this is not confirmed and is taken from a number of clues that come out in the story. Jenny is a mother of three and Sam’s wife. She comes out as a tired figure in need of support from her husband that does not appear to be forthcoming. There is a sense of resentment around her in terms of her marriage to Sam, and it seems that she has resigned herself to the hand that fate has dealt her though she is not pleased with it. The story is told from James’ point of view, and this has an influence on the shaping of the story’s focus. By seeing things from James’ point of view, the reader is able to experience the various moods and emotions that he goes through via the thoughts that run through his head and this help’s focus the view of the rest of the group from an external perspective. The doubts that James has over his relationship with Molly and the activities between his girlfriend and Sam when they go on their trip is derived from the perspective that James has on the status of his relationship. The appearance of Jenny is told from James’ eyes as well including the experiences she has been through. This helps the story to focus on the main character who is James even when the topic is about somebody else. Reading the story from James’ point of view also allows the reader to get inside the main character’s head and depicts the way he thinks and looks at issues from his objective. For example, James lack of guilt after his midnight rendezvous with Jenny may not have been depicted had the story been told from another perspective. (Canty) The significance of the Monarchs in the opening scenes can be said to be used in the provision of the setting for the reader, a means with which to describe the scene as it were. The sheer number of insects and their death on the windscreen of James car provides a somewhat gloomy setting which can also be said to have been used to project the mood of the two characters (James and Molly) in the opening scenes (Canty). The butterflies can also be said to have been used to demonstrate Molly’s care for living creatures as she insists on stopping when she realizes what is happening to them. The fact that she cares about something as small as a butterfly that she could be moved to tears goes a long way in portraying her character (Canty). The monarchs and butterflies in their travels towards the north can also be used to depict both James (the monarch) and Molly (the butterfly) in their journey together in life with the car’s windshield portraying the potential hazards they might come across while trying to keep their relationship alive. The mayflies can be seen to represent the cycle of life and the inevitable eventuality of our actions that are bound to be repeated when one is placed
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