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Short story The Novice

Categories Short Story

Essay, Pages 6 (1494 words)



Essay, Pages 6 (1494 words)

Idealism portrays the belief of an ideal vision which regularly leads people to seek after unrealistic standards, these standards are often differentiated and contradicted by truth. The short story “The Novice” portrays the adversities the protagonist experienced by getting caught up in an idealistic perspective and slanting his view of the real world. In W.D. Valgardson’s short story “The Novice” it is demonstrated that when an individual has an idealistic view of a false reality it leads to having irrational thoughts.

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As a result individuals realize the true perception of reality, ultimately leading to their downfall.

When your perception is altered to believe things that are impractical it leads to the individual focusing only on the unrealistic reality created in their mind. “The mate’s” love for the vessel caused him to block out the dangers that arose from the ship because his idealistic mindset was fixed on it. The mate had such an emotional attachment to the boat that “a day never passed when he didn’t walk to the docks” and when ” the lake was free of ice, he lived on the boat”.

Since the mate had such a profound connection to the vessel he shut individuals out of his life and started to confine himself, with a fixed mindset that it was simply him and his boat. The “mate” demonstrates that he does not need anybody other than Sally Anne, the idea of living on the boat forever shows that the mate is stuck in an idealistic mindset.

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It is evident throughout the story that this man truly loves his boat and would go to extreme measures for Sally Anne, he chose to pursue working on boats rather than going to school because “he had never done anything except work on the boats”. “The mate” devoted his whole life to the boat because he chose not to live the life of an average commoner, because he did not finish school and pursue a steady paying job, instead he chose to pursue his personal idealism of being a deckhand. Another way he devoted his life to the boat was by choosing not to “encumber himself with a wife and children” and claimed “he never slept so well” because his main focus was Sally Anne. To the mate “he had always felt its intricacy would protect it [Sally Anne]” which made him believe that his awe and wonder for the vessel was the sole thing keeping it running. It is obvious in the story that the mate is caught up in an idealistic mindset because he personifies his feelings for the boat by portraying it as a human and thinking it has feelings. He is stuck in this mindset because it is evident that the “mate” isolates himself, meaning he does not have anyone telling him to snap out of this reality and to focus on realistic goals. The mate chooses to pursue this idealistic mindset because it is portrayed as flawless in his eyes, but when he comes to terms with reality he starts to second guess this mindset.

When an event happens that causes the individual to alter their perception it can often lead to them having a realization about the real world. In “The Novice” the main character goes through a drastic change when he realizes that his perfect reality is unattainable. In the story the mate does not come to terms with his obsessiveness over the boat because “his faith in the boat” clouded his judgement so “he had to force himself to realize it [Sally Anne] had been destroyed”, this allowed his perception to shift to accept the harsh reality. With the “mates” inability to come to accept the truth with the extreme repercussions that the mate had to endure, it is difficult for him to see how skewed reality really is from his mindset. After he forces himself to realize “the wreckage” that had occurred to his vessel he comes to the conclusion that his idealistic mindset was absurd and slowly starts accepting the truth. In the passage “other men had other passions to disturb their lives” it demonstrates that the mate understands his passion is disturbing his life, but refuses to do anything about it. The other men are not caught up in an idealistic reality and pursue greater things in life such as focusing on their families, rather than a boat. It is demonstrated that the “mate’s” only passion is the boat, making it difficult for him to face reality since his goal was to be a deckhand.When Bob complains to the mate about “the bone grinding [against his] shoulder” the protagonist comes to terms with the idea that Sally Anne is not as safe and “majestic” as he thought. The other crewmates on the vessel had also been put in danger from the boat it shows the mate a different perspective of Sally Anne. When the mate is presented with the damage of his vessel and the injuries his crewmates were getting from the vessel, it lead to the mate being overwhelmed with irrational thoughts, but this also pushed him to see the true reality behind his society. With significant events that cause you to alter your perspective, it leads to the individual seeing life how it really is.

When an individual realizes his ideals are incompatible with his unrealistic reality, it causes them to see the real truth in society. When the mate comes to terms that his idealistic standards are unattainable he sees the true reality behind his vessel. When the mate realizes the “wreckage” that has occured on Sally Anne he tries to be optimistic by using it as a “temporary shelter” refusing to accept that fact that the vessel was broken beyond repair. It is explained that the mate tries to block out the thoughts of his prized possession being gone, “but it was no use” as he was no longer stuck in an idealistic state of mind. At first when the mate realized the damage that had occurred on his vessel he was being optimistic by thinking that he could repair it, but the events that had happened caused him to snap out of that false reality and accept that the vessel was broken. An event that kickstarted his thinking to a more realistic point of view is when his good friend Cookee had passed away due to the “wreckage” of the ship. The readers are told that him and the cook had shipped together for five years, which is the only other individual that the mate had emotional feelings for. When he is told the news that he had passed away due to Sally Anne, he refuses to accept the truth, knowing deep down that his prized possession caused the passing of one of his only good friends. It was evident that he was “determined not to die” and it was the sole motivation that caused him to think of ideas to save his life as well as his crewmates. The protagonist had finally come to terms in the very end of the story because he realized that the state of mind he was stuck in was not reality, in fact, the exact opposite of reality. He was determined not to die and it was the sole motivation that caused him to think of ideas to save his life as well as his crewmates. He accepted the truth at the end of the story because he had accepted his fate and knew that they were not going to make it to “dusk” like they all wished for. It could be said that he passed away stuck in this isolated mindset because of the false hope he created in his mind of rebuilding the vessel, but it could also be argued that he came to terms with the truth and accepted his own due to the ship.

In “The Novice” it is illustrated in a way to show that individuals who have an unrealistic perception of reality can lead to them having impractical visions. And, as a result of it leads individuals to have a realization of the true reality leading to the downfall of their character. In the beginning, readers are introduced to the protagonist he is described to be stuck in this idealistic mindset, who seems very attached to his vessel. Later on, this individual seems to have a life altering event takes place, causing him to slowly snap out of his idealistic mindset. Lastly, the protagonist finally accepts the truth that his idealistic mindset was absurd, but his character had already accepted his own fate. Often times when an individual is presented with the option to pursue their goals no matter how unattainable, or with the option to follow the demands of what everyone else wants, the individual will most times choose to pursue their goals. So, why is it so ambitious to pursue an uncommon goal, isn’t it society that told you to follow your dreams?

Cite this essay

Short story The Novice. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-novice-essay-example-essay

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