Comparing Two Stories

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English 12: Short Fiction Synthesis Topic
1. Discuss how two different characters in two different stories manage obstacles in their lives.

Throughout our lives we face many challenges – some more difficult than others. What matters is if we manage to overcome these ‘tests’. Neil Smith writes about Max from “Green Fluorescent Protein” and Thomas Findley writes about Dr.Menlo in “Dreams”. Both characters face internal and external issues and we see how they try to overcome them. Both protagonists should be happy when we look at their comfortable lives. Max comes from a good neighbourhood and Dr. Menlo is a successful psychiatrist. We then find out that Max is dealing with the death of his father and mother who is a recovering alcoholic and trying to create a ‘new’ life. “My father died of a brain aneurysm”; “She wanted everything new. New AA group...” Dr. Menlo is introduced as a recent insomniac that is causing a rift between his wife and him, and making their home life very eerie. “Everett Menlo had begun to look and behave and lose his sleep like a haunted man.” The characters both face drastic events that lead them to these points. Later we see that Kenneth Albright- a patient of Dr.Menlo is what causes his lack of sleep and stress. Before Kenneth, Menlo was on top of his work and in complete control of his emotions. “He only knew Kenneth Albright had left this person’s body in Everett Menlo’s dream... that was the night Everett Menlo suffered the first of his failures to sleep.” Kenneth causes trouble for Menlo like Ruby-Doo and the death of Max’s father does for Max. Ruby-Doo is all Max thinks about. It takes over his way of life, his thoughts etc. He blames his father’s death for this complicated and frustrating life he now has. “I’m furious at my dad, for not being here to set me straight, for being stone cold dead.” He wants life to return to how it was just as much as Menlo wants life prior to Kenneth. To deal with it, Max keeps his father’s...
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