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Monday - Essay Example

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In his short story "Monday," Mark Helprin tells the tale of Fitch, a contractor in New York who renovates an apartment for a woman who lost her husband in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center-at no charge to her. While there are many notable and interesting characters in the story, I most closely identify with the protagonist; not so much because of his mercy, but because of the pride he takes in his craft and the fact that he values beauty and honor above money.
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YOUR FULL YOUR Monday - Honor and Beauty In his short story "Monday," Mark Helprin tells the tale of Fitch, a contractor in New York who renovates an apartment for a woman who lost her husband in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center-at no charge to her. While there are many notable and interesting characters in the story, I most closely identify with the protagonist; not so much because of his mercy, but because of the pride he takes in his craft and the fact that he values beauty and honor above money.
Fitch is a man who takes personal pride in his work. In a day and time where people are looking out for themselves and taking advantage of others, a fact he decries in the story, he is a man who values things that are enduring. For example, beauty is important to Fitch; in fact, it is the thing that brings him contentment. The description of work he has done, one room is compared to a wedding cake in the story, illustrates his heart-felt belief that life is not just about money. In terms of Fitch's perspective, Helprin shows us this ethic with the comment about seeing soul in a building. For Fitch, in a business where most contractors are simply concerned about getting the highest profit for the least amount of work, he sees the elements of beauty as the expression of the heart. His pride in craftsmanship and attention to detail evidences a character that is a deep, honest, and caring human being.
Another significant aspect of Fitch's character is his honor. He is an honorable man above all other things. His treatment of his employees shows integrity; a quality that they mirror when they insist that they will work on Lilly's apartment at no charge. His argument with the architect over his placing supports in a building that were absent from the plans demonstrates that he cares about his reputation. Rather than adding a costly element that he could have omitted and blamed upon the architect, he decides that he is the builder and will do what's right. His treatment of Lilly is perhaps the most honorable of all. His respect for her loss, and refusal to take offense in the face of her and her parents' rightful suspicion, is clearly shown. The fact that he ends up giving her his very best effort at no charge to her is an expression of unbelievable nobility. It isn't about being sympathetic or merciful to a woman during her time of loss; the money really doesn't matter to him nearly as much as being a decent and kind person.
Fitch's personal philosophy makes him an extraordinary human being. Rather than value profit over all other things, he finds his personal fulfillment in the timeless elements of beauty and personal honor. His pride in his own workmanship, as well as his selfless act towards Lilly, puts Fitch in that rarest of categories; he is a man who sees his life as a service to the principles that really matter.
Works Cited
Helprin, Mark. "Monday." The Pacific and Other Stories. New York: Penguin Group, 2004. Read More
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