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The charcter of Michael - Book Report/Review Example

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The Character of Michael in ‘Impulse’ by Conrad Aiken Table of Contents Introduction 3 Discussion 4 Works Cited 7 Introduction This paper provides an in-depth exploration of the character of Michael in Conrad Aiken’s short story ‘Impulse’. It is good to remember as a background to what the literature describes as a psychological study on the character of Michael that the short story was written by a man who saw the dead bodies of his parents when he was 11, after Aiken’s father committed suicide, and after the father first shot Aiken’s mother dead…
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The charcter of Michael
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Download file to see previous pages The psychoanalytic angle that was pursued by Aiken in most of his work shines a unique light on the character, motivations, and ultimate rationale for the actions of Michael in the short story (Poetry Foundation; Aiken; Academy of American Poets; Spivey; Wilbur). The short story is told basically from the perspective of a man who was sentenced to jail for three months for stealing a razor set in a store, at the end of a night of card games and drinking in an acquaintance’s house. ...
meone not to be trusted and generally unlikable (Poetry Foundation; Aiken; Academy of American Poets; Spivey; Wilbur) Discussion It is interesting to note that though Michael was jailed, was abandoned by wife and friends, and basically marginalized by a society that saw him as a common thief and a flake of a human being, all that amounted to nothing more than three months of incarceration. What is telling in all this is that he saw himself as basically done, done in by that one act of thievery. There are many ways to interpret this self-conception. If this is the lowest that he imagined himself going, after which he saw himself as basically ruined, then in comparison to people who languish in jail for years, go in and out for more heinous crimes, Michael is basically decent. This claim is relative of course, to hardened criminals who remain upbeat in spite of life sentences for murders, rapes, and more heinous crimes involving the taking of lives and property. In other words, objectively speaking, Michael is not the worst human being on earth. In fact there are aspects of the perspective of Michael that show him to be extra sensitive to the everyday realities that confront him. His thoughts on his childhood, the stolen shell then, thoughts of his mother, and the detailed, intimate memories of his wife all indicate a kind of intense sensitivity that is not common to coarse criminals and petty thieves. Moreover, looking at the first part of the story, it is revealing that Michael found some relief in the knowledge, from his friends, that the impulse to do bad things is something that he shares with some people at least. In a way it can also be said that a part of him was sincere in wanting to find out what it would be like to steal something and act on his impulse in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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