Disguises can come in many forms, some of which are so carefully constructed one may not even realize that it is a disguise or, they can also be obvious to the person to whom you wish to hide. Eric Wright’s “Twins” and Nelson Bond’s “Vital Factor” are short stories whose central theme of appearance versus reality is seen through the analysis of the plots and its’ characters. Subsequently, both the murderer and Wilkins are not whom they speak, having a single minded focus can both save the wife and deceive Crowder, and using much time to conceive a master plan goes corrupt for the husband and Crowder.
Through the analysis of the stories “Twins” and “Vital Factor”, deception plays a very important role in the methods used by both the husband and Wilkins. It is evident, through the comparison of these stories, that the husband and Wilkins never reveal or hint anything about their plans, rather they just seem to be doing it hoping that their schemes will arise into a reality. In the short story “Twins”, the appearance is that the husband’s devious and fool proof plan works and he kills his wife, but in reality, she discovers her husband’s real intentions, which eventually leads to her killing him instead.
Using his identity as a writer as well as a loving husband, the husband leads his wife into his murderous plan, convinced that he is going to get away with it. This is apparent when the husband proudly says, “It’ll work all right. It’s going to work. ” (Wright 216) The husband’s overconfidence leaves him vulnerable to the few mistakes he leaves behind. The appearance in “Vital Factor” is that the character, Wilkins, is just a brilliant engineer who has the plans to build a fantastic and working flying machine. In reality, Wilkins is an alien who uses Crowder and his money to fund his project to get home.
As a wandering alien, Wilkins finds himself using others to get what he needs; a ride home. No one notices the strange little man, but rather his creative contraption, allowing him to slip away into an unseen reality. Crowder’s mind is too full of his money making plans that the idea of an odd person coming with no briefcase or blueprint but only a small metallic floating object does not appear bizarre. Consequently, this leads to an improvised vision of what others want rather than what is really desired. Accordingly, the husband and Wilkins both use their raw talents to hide their true selves using the brilliant awareness of deception.
In the short stories “Vital Factor” and “Twins” there is dissimilarity in the idea of unclouded vision. In “Vital Factor”, Crowder only desires to be the best and greatest of all men in the world. He uses his “iron will and icy determination” (Bond 57) to guide him to his goal. With this as his main obsession, he clouds his own vision and does not think of the possibility that Wilkins will use him and his money to develop a way home. This gives Wilkins the perfect advantage of manipulating Crowder into providing him with an opportunity home.
In “Twins” the wife has an unobstructed vision, unlike Crowder, of what her husband wants to do to her. She sees what her husband’s plan is when she finds his gun hiding in the fishing box. Using her clear vision, she makes her own plan on how to stop what her husband plans to do to her and flip it to kill him instead of vice versa. She exercises her wits and intelligence to notice the flaws in her husband’s cruel scheme and work her way through them and uses her traits to hide from her husband that she knows his plan and create her own plan to kill him.
Therefore, in comparing the stories “Vital Factor and “Twins”, having a single minded focus can in some cases be detriment, blinding a clear threat to one’s life. On the other hand though, it can actually save one’s life, albeit through deception. In both stories “Twin” and “Vital Factor”, the appearance is that the characters have amazing plans that seem to foolproof and impervious to failure but in reality fail and are used against themselves. In “Twins”, the husband has a marvellous plan to murder his wife and to marry a girlfriend whom he really loves.
He uses his profession as a writer to disguise to his present wife that he wants to kill her but rather uses the story he is writing as a plan to get away with the perfect murder. The husband is reckless and has flaws in his plan, for example leaving his gun in a place where his wife might be able to find it. Seeing as the wife did find the gun, she discovers her husband’s plans and goes with her husband into the thick brush seeing to know nothing, while in truth has a plan up her sleeve, the plan her husband wants to use against her.
In “Vital Factor”, Crowder has a brilliant money making idea to send people to space. He finds a unique engineer who is able to build the spacecraft he dreams of. He spends months making this contraption with only money signs in his eyes. This brilliant engineer does exactly as his plans say and build the flying machine. Crowder is so involved in his money and ambition that he sees no other way one can use this machine but to fly from space and back to Earth.
Wilkins was always a step before Crowder when he admits to Crowder that “Your money and ambition paved the way…but sentiment was the vital factor that sent me to you…I wanted to go home. ”(Bond 61) Wilkins is in reality an alien who longs to return to his planet but has no way of getting there. When he meets Crowder, he sees an opportunity to use the power hungry man into paying his way back home. Clearly, when one creates a plan he must look at all the possibilities on how it will become and not just his own.
Courtney from Study Moose
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