Perspectives in Emergency
Life can be repetitive, unclear, and colourful. It has its ups and downs, along with its dramatic twists and turns, but ultimately, life can be confusing. In the short story Emergency, Johnson suggests that when one is stuck in the same environment for too long, one’s grasp on life becomes artificial. Using symbolism, characters and anaphora, Johnson suggests that by “taking a break” from work, one can gain a clearer perspective on life.
Johnson uses ‘blindness’ as a symbol to represent non-clarity and confusion. In the hospital, Georgie is mopping the floor, stating “there’s a lot of blood here” (p.351), ‘blinded’ to the fact that the floor is already clean. The Narrator replies with “where” (p. 351) because he obviously realizes there is no blood and Georgie is just mopping up an already clean floor. This shows the confusion in Georgie’s mind and how the workplace has the ability to make a mess of his head, causing him to take drugs, ‘blinding’ his life. When Georgie is talking to the patient, Terrence Weber, he has trouble understanding what Terrence is telling him, because “[his] face is dark” (p. 353). Georgie is unclear about what he should be doing about the situation, and he cannot understand what the patient is trying to tell him, making him ‘blind’ to Terrence’s needs. Georgie is not clinically ‘blind’, but more of less, does not see the obvious. If Georgie were to “take a break” form work, he would be able to clear his head, and make sense of the world around him.
Georgie and the Narrator are the main characters of the story and they see life in severely different ways. At work, Georgie’s ‘blind’ to a lot of his life. He sees the blood that is not there, and he does not know what Terrence is saying. On the other hand, Georgie seems to see a lot more of life when he is away from work, like when he notices the drive-in before the Narrator does. On the other hand, the Narrator ‘sees’ more at work, than when...
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