Success can be achieved in different ways, and there are varied perceptions of what it means to be successful. It does not necessarily require a life of fame and fortune to be successful. It is more important to be acknowledged than to be recognized, and at the end of the day it is not the kind of profession you have that matters. What really matters is doing something which is valuable to oneself. Many people live a life which they are not completely satisfied or happy with. To follow an everyday routine whether that includes school, work or household chores is something almost everyone is familiar with. But what is life even worth living if all you deal with is necessary deeds which you cannot even vouch for? This is a question Polly Clark raises with her short story “Elephant”.
William, who is the main character and narrator of the story, is an ordinary man in his thirties whose job is to write biographies of young, female pop singers. William has a lot on his mind, but he has to constantly avoid being distracted from his thoughts if he has to do his job correctly. These thoughts are perceived as a haze for William, an obstacle to his writing. His job as a biography writer requires absolute focus and objectivity, and it appears to be a struggle for William to meet these requirements. The story has a third person narrator, but the reader is given access to William’s thoughts and feelings. It is increasingly obvious that he feels limited in his position as biography writer. ”To have a lot to say, and then to be unable to say it, in the way you wanted – that would be much worse than this.” His lack of confidence affects him to stay in the same position because writing in other genres demands an ability to express your ideas perfectly, and he does not believe he is able to do so. What William obviously needs is motivation and inspiration which he surely cannot gain from the talentless pop singers who all end up losing their success and dignity; his...
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