The Character of George Stoyonovich in Bernard Malamud’s “A Summer’s Reading”
Motivation is what gives us the driving force in our lives. It’s what makes us human as we naturally have a primal instinct to succeed. Without it, we would have no desire to achieve and no goals to set in life. The anti-force of motivation is discouragement. It is fueled by fear, frustration, failure, and fatigue. Bernard Malamud’s character George Stoyonovich, in “A Summer’s Reading”, is a teenager lacking motivation and direction in life because of the various elements of discouragement working against him. Malamud shows his qualities through the introduction of the change-maker, Mr.Cattanzera. It’s through him and his subtle guidance George experiences a lesson of life.
In the first part of the story, George is a young teenager who is unmotivated and discouraged. He quit school impulsively because of his lack of patience and frustration, and this led to him being ashamed of himself whenever someone inquired about his education. One of the fuels of discouragement, failure, drains George of any drive to go back to school because the failure of shame and earning respect from others prevents him going back to school. Another fuel of discouragement, frustration, was the initial and ongoing cause of George’s discouragement. He was frustrated with how the teachers always told him what to do and felt that they did not respect him. This is what kept him from going to school and led to his unhealthy mindset to earn respect through lying to others.
Near the middle of the story, George thinks about his future. This is the first sign of any goal setting in his otherwise mundane and monotonous life. It is at this time that Malamud introduces Mr.Cattanzera, the change-maker. This is also when George ends up lying to Mr.Cattanzera for respect. One of the fuels of discouragement, fear, makes George desire respect because fear makes him lie to earn it because he’s scared about not being...
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