Essay for “The Lamp at Noon”

10 October 2016

Dreams must be pursued in order to live a worthwhile and exciting life, but, if one’s dreams conflict with another’s, the only thing that will arise are complications. This is shown in “The Lamp at Noon. ” Paul and his wife Ellen both have dreams that they wish to pursue. One dreams to live off the land, while the other wants to move into a city and work in a store. Since the story is taking place during The Great Depression and crops are growing scarcely, problems arise. The farm’s ground is overworked and neglected, and the couple’s child is having a difficult time living comfortably, let alone breathing at all.

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Ellen wishes for a better life for her child. She envisions of a good life in the city, away from strong wind and an extensive drought. She wanted valuable possessions for herself and also to be part of a moderately wealthy family who could provide for themselves comfortably. Unfortunately, her husband Paul was attached to the land that he farmed so excessively. He would not give it up without a fight. Eventually, Paul and Ellen’s dreams conflicted so much that they could not even have a simple conversation between one another without a fight arising.

The thought of compromise had never occurred because neither wanted to give up their dreams of a good life. Paul and Ellen had simple goals, yet, these goals were unattainable for the both of them. The main goal that each of them had were to convince the other to either stay on the farm and wait for their problems to be resolved, or to move out of the farm, into the city, and create a new, better life for themselves and their family. Even when Ellen says, “Listen, Paul-I’m thinking of all of us-you too.

Look at the sky-what’s happening. Are you blind? Thistles and tumble-weeds-it’s a desert. You won’t have a straw this fall. You won’t be able to feed a cow or a chicken. Please, Paul, saw we’ll go away,” Paul still does not listen. He believes so greatly that he can change his wife’s decision and that he will achieve his goal which will allow him and his family to live on the farm peacefully. He even disregards what she has said to him, and tries to convince her that living on the farm is the best life for them.

Paul would much rather struggle to provide for his family then to be an employee of his wife’s father. Paul feels a connection to the land and he will not give up on his goal to convince Ellen to stay with him. Ellen wants to move so she can live better, but more importantly, her baby can live comfortably. When the baby dies, so does Ellen’s goal of a better life for her family. She has lost all hopelessness and does not desire to convince her husband anymore. In the end her goal fails, but his is successful, but is achieved at the cost of his child’s life.

A person’s idealistic lifestyle is one aspect of a person’s identity and helps make said person unique. Ellen and Paul had two different ideal lifestyles. Paul was attached to his land, thus would not give it up, because to give up his land would be to give up his hope of having a perfect life. An ideal lifestyle for one person may not be to have fame and fortune. All a person may want is a simple life that will make and keep them happy till they die. All Paul wanted was to be a farmer, have a supportive wife, and a healthy and happy child.

On the other hand, Ellen wanted a life where she could live very comfortably and would be able to buy the things that she wanted; this includes having a strong relationship with her husband and her child. Similarly, Ellen would also not give up her hope of achieving her ideal lifestyle. Both Paul and Ellen were selfish and would not come to a compromise; it was either one life or the other. Due to the delay of a decision being made, their child dies as Ellen tries to run away from the farm with her child in her arms. It was as if the wind made a decision for them.

Even though neither of them could truly have the perfect life that they had imagined, Paul ended up getting his way over Ellen. If one is faced with conflicting forces in the pursuit of their dreams, goals, and an idealistic lifestyle, it may determine how they will behave during the conflict, and after the conflict has been resolved. If two people wish to achieve their different dreams, goals, and ideal lifestyle and are unwilling to cooperate, fate will eventually make a decision, but it may not be exactly what they wanted.

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