Bright Light Big City

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What not to Do: Paper 2, Question 2 With almost every mistake made in life, there are lessons that can be learned from them. They can be minor changes in a person’s character or they can completely alter the way people live their lives. These decisions can be for the better or for the worst as well. In Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, the character of You faces these very dilemmas. He made mistakes in his life that have altered the way he works, his social life, and, most importantly, the way he interacts with his family. It is almost as if he is a completely different person who simply wanted to fit into the in crowd. Throughout the book it is evident that the pretender makes his imagination reality, and he cannot keep up with it. This books entire plot should be a what not to do guide for every adolescent who is tempted by peer pressure, because it is a perfect image of what can happen in such a short amount of time, and how quick a person can forget who they really are. In the beginning of the novel, You are quoted, thinking, ‘You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy.’ (McInerney, Pg. 1) This quote would be one of the first and most major indicators that the character of You is pretending to be something that he is not. Inside the character of You, he knows that his actions and the people he is hanging around with is not the norm or does not fit who he is on the inside: a person with morals and respect for his family. He is pretending to be a person without morals about taking drugs, his actions toward others, or honesty in order to fit into the ‘In’ crowd. As the story develops, the reader gets to learn about You’s relationships, habits, and other personal details that could give hints to his self-destruction. The reader learns that You had recently been divorced from his model wife. They


Bibliography: 1. McInerney, Jay. Bright Lights, Big City: A Novel. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1984. Print.

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