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The Liar: Illusion Of Control Essay

961 words - 4 pages

Dying is an inevitable thing; it is the one true thing we can always count on on happening. We have no control over when it happens. However, if we lie about death, we cheat it. If we say we are dying but we are not, we are controlling when we die with a false reality, and in turn attempting to control death and lesson the fear of death. If we are afraid of death we cannot live a fulfilled life, so we must let go of illusions, in order to get past the fear of death. By doing this, we live better, more fulfilled lives. The story, "The Liar" by Tobias Wolff, explores this way of dealing with the fear of death, through a young boy, James, coping with his fathers death; Wolff does this with his ...view middle of the document...

James recalls,"What got my mother was the last paragraph where I said she had been coughing up blood and the doctors weren't sure what was wrong with her, but that we were hoping for the best."(5) If he lies about his mother dying, he is creating an illusion in which he can control when she dies; this takes the unpredictability out of death, so he's ready for when she does die. When Dr. Murphy eats dinner with James and his mother; he explains that, at least James wasn't solopsistic. The mother asks James, "What did that word mean that Murphy used? You know the one."... (James reply's) "Oh. Solipsist, a solipsist is someone who thinks he creates everything around him." (16,17) They both talk as if a solipsist is someone from somewhere far away, when the definition James' gave defines his problem. He is creating and imagining a world around him; a world where he can control death. One time when James and his family was in Yosemite National park, and a bear came to their camp. James Recounts, "He circled us several times, rearing up now and then on his hind legs to stick his nose in the air. By the light of the fire I could see his dog like face and watch the muscles roll under his loose skin like rocks in a sack. We sang harder as he circled us, coming closer and closer."(7) The bear symbolizes death, springing up and trying to attack . The bear circled, waiting to make its move; later, it takes the food in the camp and leaves. This...

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