The Odd Couple Research Paper

Topics: Jimmy Carter, Neil Simon, Walter Matthau Pages: 5 (1853 words) Published: April 23, 2013
Kresyman 1
Ian Kresyman
Mrs. Holladay
English 2 Honors
March 20th, 2013
Opposites Can Bond
When I was younger, I didn’t always get along with my sister. We always had differences of opinion whether that would be what to play, or what to eat. Our bickering caused more problems than good. Eventually we learned to compromise and by doing that, we were able to solve a lot more problems together. Felix and Oscar acted just the same way in Neil Simon’s play, The Odd Couple. After Felix had a brutal break up with his wife, he deems there is nothing left to live for. Oscar steps in and takes Felix under his wing to give him a place to live for awhile. They soon learn they are two completely opposite people in their life styles, attitudes, and work ethic. They constantly fight and can never agree in any dispute. After harsh quarrels they learn to look at the other person’s point of view. Although this doesn’t change their opinion, it helps them compromise because they value the other persons idea. By doing this and learning from each other, they both became better people and were able to make better choices at the end. In today’s world, many migrate towards the attitude that their way is the only way, when in fact each individual has their own idea. With time, two opposites can learn to love, trust, and crate a long friendship. These rare instances are what bond people, and even though the likelihood of this might seem dim, without it, the world would be in chaos. The Odd Couple by Neil Simon, along with other creditable works from others, show that when we find ourselves opposed to someone’s point of view, we have to value the other person in order to compromise, and make ourselves better. Kresyman 2

Simon suggests that even though it is a lot easier to give up, it’s important to keep pushing on because giving up won’t solve the problem; it’s just creating a bigger problem. After a traumatic event in Felix’s life, that being the divorce from his wife, he starts to give up hope. Oscar continually tries to motivate him to be the so called leader and not the follower of his own life. If someone disagrees with us, it’s important to not give up on them. Its key to value someone’s other opinion, because if everyone battled with each other, humans would still be in the Stone Age. Felix’s attitude towards life is to give up when things get tough, which is how a lot of people respond to problems or disagreements in today’s world. Oscar on the other hand sees life as an opportunity, and even thought he might be a scum, he doesn’t give up. At one point, Oscar says, “Don’t point that finger at me unless you intend to use it” (Simon 101). This is one of the main points in the play where Oscar is trying to teach him to make his own decisions. By being the leader in your own life, you are able to the make choices for yourself. Choices allow an agreement to be made between two people who have different opinions. If you can’t make decisions then you will always have to settle for what the other person thinks. Oscar teaches him this, and even though this causes a lot of conflict, he eventually learns this. By the end of the story after Felix moves out, they learn how to work together, and cope with each other. With a sense of teamwork always flowing through their veins, they are able to be the leader, and be “the change [they] wish to see in the world,” (Ghandi) which is Oscar’s whole point to Felix.

John Lahr wrote an article titled “Reversal of Fortune,” in which the idea of the bonding of opposite people and the problems that can occur is explained. Lahr states that “the opening line tells us what the evening will be about: we’re going to be reacting to a behavior—all of it more or less bad.” Oscar and Felix always start each act poorly, almost to remind the reader that that is always what happens. A lot of situations might begin poorly, but they only reason they do is because everyone has their own opinion, and different opinions...
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