'He' and 'A Jazz-Age Clerk'

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In "He" by Katherine Anne Porter and "A Jazz-Age Clerk" by James Thomas Farrell, two characters who struggle with the aspects of poverty express the significance of how people view them in their lives; their primary concern is what people say and think of them. Both characters, Mrs. Whipple and Jack, seem ashamed of their current lives and continually attempt to impress others. Mrs. Whipple constantly informs Mr. Whipple of the thoughts or ideas that people might have towards their simple-minded son, whereas Jack characterizes a materialistic and superficial person whose main goal is to impress others. Furthermore, both characters are extremely proud and overly self-conscious. In "He," Porter narrates the already mentioned excessive…show more content…
Mrs. Whipple clearly becomes uptight about what her own family has to say or think about Him, to the point where she wishes she were dead: "But they can 't say He wasn 't dressed every lick as good as Adna - oh, honest, sometimes I wish I was dead!" (439). Thus, it is evident that Mrs. Whipple feels stressed and under a lot of pressure with His situation. After all, it is Mrs. Whipple 's goal to make sure that people understand that her family, including Him, is nothing more than an ordinary family. Sadly, Mrs. Whipple 's excessive concern about what others think or say, her self-consciousness, does not allow her to focus on what really is important: her family, but more specifically, Him. She finally realized that the way she treated her son was wrong; towards the end, she at last opens her eyes and sees the world from His perspective, the cruel, uncaring, and lonely perspective:
Whatever it was, Mrs. Whipple couldn 't bear to think of it. She began to cry, frightfully, and wrapped her arms tight around Him. His head rolled on her shoulder: she had loved Him as much as she possibly could, there were Adna and Emly who had to be thought of too, there was nothing she could do to make up to Him for His life. Oh, what a mortal pity He was ever born. (444-45) Jack in James T. Farrell 's "A Jazz-Age Clerk" handles
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