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Essay on Simon Van Booy´S "Save as Many as You Ruin"

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Essay on Simon Van Booy´s "Save as Many as You ruin" by Sune Espersen.

The main character in the short story is Gerard, he is living in Manhattan and has an eight-year-old daughter named Lucy. He must have been growing up in England as it is mentioned that his prep school was English. Gerard is a handsome man, probably between 30 and 40 years. Gerard is a single father, Lucy's mother Issy left them when Lucy was very young and she went to Los Angeles to become an actor. Lucy´s mother Issy died 4 years ago, she was found floating in a pool, Gerard went to her funeral in Los Angeles.

In the beginning of the text we find out that it seems to be important to Gerard that he makes his life extraordinary and he want to be a person who stands out from the crowd. Gerard's reflections creates a very glorious, overwhelming atmosphere, because he thinks of his own life compared with the many other people who lived before him. The atmosphere in this part of the text also tells us that something is going to happen in Gerard's life. In the beginning he also talks about the past, he talks about his old, English prep teacher Hetherington who won a medal at the Olympics while Adolf Hitler watched, and he talks about the second World War: "Millions were about to be killed as teenage Hetherington crossed the finish line. A few years later, children walked into gas ovens after a long journey from home." - P.1/l.15-17. Just things from the past, which probably is an introduction to when he meets a woman from his past, Laurel.

When he thinks about the mannequins, "Gerard thinks of the mannequins. They are very still, perfectly still. They are talking about something they've never done. They are sitting down to meals they'll never eat; tucked into beds in which they'll never dream." - p.1/l.28-30, it might be because he is afraid ending up like a mannequin himself, just empty, boring, meaningless and without ability to feel or taste anything.

His first and only love was with a woman named Laurel, but when he and Laurel are in a relationship, he took the chance of having an affair with another woman. So the time before his daughter Lucy was born, you can in a way call Gerard a womanizer: “Gerard vaguely remembers the feeling of being in love with Laurel and the desire to have sex with Issy. He knew that other men enjoyed the occasional partner outside of long-term relationships, and he wanted to try it.” - P.4/l.123-125.

He loved Laurel, but at that time, he was not ready to be in a committed, monogamous, relationship and when Issy got pregnant he had to stay with her and he moved in with, probably not voluntarily: "Issy wasn't upset when Gerard told her that he was falling in love with Laurel. She laughed and the cried and told him she was pregnant. Gerard thought it was a joke. She was always telling lies. Then he felt something crack inside him because she wouldn't stop crying and he knew it was true. He told Laurel the next night, and she said she understood. A week later, Laurel broke it of in an e-mail. Gerard agreed to move in with Issy." - P.4/l.126-132. At that time, Gerard and Issy were more alike than he and Laurel were, they were both quite selfish, both attractive, both sensual and both with the abilities to abandon people who were important to them or to people who they were important to.

Gerard is the main character in the short story, he seems to have some existential problems: “He must have thought I was like everyone else, thinks Gerard. Am I like everyone else, he thinks.”. He is doubting him self and he has a hard time finding out what his purpose in life is. He is described as a handsome man, he seems smart and well educated as he quotes a poet and makes a comparison to a specific art style: “Her face is still sharp and angular like a Cubist painting” - P.2/l.56.
He has slept with many women but he has only ever loved one and the only one he now seems to have any sort of real affection for is his daughter Lucy. He loved Laurel and probably never stopped: "In that moment of recognition he is not consumed by a rushing sensation of love - quite simply a door opens to a room that has never gone away. The years apart were just years without one another." P.2/l.63-65.

The mood in the text plays an important part in the end of the story, where Gerard drinks whiskey. In this part of the text the room is surrounded by mystery and something supernatural: “All of a sudden he feels a chill like cold water down his back” - P.5/l.198. This supernatural atmosphere starts just after he thinks of Issy: “Gerard spins around. His heart leaps into his throat. Someone was there, he could have sworn it. But in the space between him and the world he can see only air, only air and the auras of the day past and the day to come” - P.5/l. 199-201) it shows the reader that Gerard is haunted by the mother of his child and if he wants to move on he also has to deal with the past.

There is contrast between Laurel and Issy. Issy is the girl, who Gerard once had an affair with. She is a good-looking, energetic, girl, who sends a lot of sexual signals. Gerard and Issy´s relationship is based on sex, but they end up getting together, because Issy gets pregnant. Issy is very selfish and unreliable because she often tells lies and just leaves her own daughter because she wants to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming an actress. Lauren is quite the opposite of Issy. Laurel is sweet girl who is concerned about others, she asks how Gerard and his daughter are. She is more mature than Issy and she edits business books. The relationship between Lauren and Gerard is based on love.

The contrast between Laurel and Issy also shows the contrast between Gerard's past and future. Issy represents the past, and at that moment Gerard was like Issy. He was younger and more immature and he had a lot of affairs with women he did not love. He was very selfish and even though he met Laurel, who he cared for, she was not enough for him and he chose to have an affair with Issy. Issy got pregnant and because of that Laurel broke up with Gerard. Suddenly Gerard is alone with a child and he has to mature in order to be a good parent. Laurel represents the future: "He knows that before long Laurel will move in with them." - P.5/l.196. At first he was not mature enough to be with her.

The is a contrast between the weather, warm Los Angeles and cold New York.
The is a contrast between the living and the dead, Him, Lucy and Laurel who is living and Issy, the gassed children and the mannequins who is dead.
The is a contrast between past and future, Issy as the past and Laurel as the future.
The is a contrast between lust and love, Issy as the symbol of lust and Laurel as the symbol of Love.

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for.
We are the change that we seek."
- Barack Obama

Sune Løvig Espersen - Lemvig Gymnasium 2.D - 19.11.12

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