Common Ground with Unhealthy Friendships
“A Vintage Thunderbird” by Anne Beattie is a story about a man named Nick, who is so devoted to and infatuated with his friend Karen that it seems he cannot allow himself enjoyment. All of his plans for enjoyment with a woman named Petra are undermined by Karen’s ridiculous requests. This is just one of the many problems Nick deals with throughout the story, the main one being his unhealthy relationship with Karen. Her white ’59 Thunderbird seems to function as a symbol for her and Nick’s uneven relationship, particularly when she carelessly sells the vehicle to a complete stranger. I made an automatic connection with the story when seeing how Nick remained in denial about how unhealthy his friendship was, having been in that position myself. It would seem that enduring an unhealthy friendship or relationship is completely illogical however it’s most likely that Nick does this because he has few alternatives, or he’s merely in denial. Throughout the story he tries to convince himself that Karen is a good friend of and it takes him a while to realize that their relationship relied more on her Thunderbird than their compatibility. If they were properly compatible, there relationship would’ve been less one-sided.
There is not much that Karen seems to care about which contrasts completely with Nick’s compassionate nature. At one point she interrupts Nick during a date and requests, “Throw whatever woman is in there out of your apartment and talk to me now,” (Beattie 34). Her selfishness is innate; she has absolutely no consideration for anyone but herself. She demands so much of Nick without giving anything back. She rudely interrupts his night, yet demands that he drop everything he is doing and pay attention to her. People like Karen are not good friends and definitely not good matches for people like Nick.
While Nick endures Karen’s abuse, he also remains oblivious to how it affects other areas of his...
Cited: Wolff, Tobias. "A Vintage Thunderbird." The Vintage book of contemporary American short stories. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1994. 29-47. Print.
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