8 October 2012
Begging for an Escape
“Joy Ride” is a short story written by Richard Russo. It features a boy, John Dern, and his mother, who both long for an escape from their lives at the time. This story follows the theme that one key aspect the human condition is the search for an escape. At some point in life, most humans wish to escape their past and present state of living. There may be many motivating factors behind this. However, most attempt to escape for one of three main reasons. These include using an escape as a means of finding freedom, an escape to help another person, or just as a temporary move to solve a problem. In this story, John and his mother have all three reasons in the back of their minds as they see their lives disappear in the rearview mirror.
John’s mother wants an escape so that she can be free. Free from stress, free from worry, free from her husband... So she leaves a note with a simple goodbye and she is off. She takes her son with her and breaks free from the ties that bind her. She believes that this country is big enough for a fresh start for the both of them. She says, “It’s not only a free country, it’s a big one. Big enough for us to get lost in. We’re bound for freedom, sweetie” (76). John’s mother is trying to explain to him that this country is huge, and that if the two of them try, they can get lost in the freedom. They have the power and the ability to leave, escaping the lifestyle they are in right now. By leaving, they have the opportunity make anything of their future. John’s mother also explains that she wants to be free from the marriage that is slowly ripping her apart. She says, “It’s just that living with him – being married to him – is just like being covered with these little cuts all the time. There’s no big gash you can show anybody, nothing they’d believe would really hurt, but these damn little nicks, they suck the blood right out of you” (92). John’s...