The order of things
Sometimes when true love appears, it can be difficult to think clear and act rationally. It is the feelings taking over and loosing the control. Falling in love can make everything else seem unimportant. Quite a lot of people decide to marry before they find true love, only because of expectations from society and from themselves. Should people be allowed to follow their heart when true love appears, even if they are already in a relationship? In this short story “The order of things” by Judy Troy, we get introduced to this dilemma. The main focus in the story is the relationship between the main characters, Carl and Lily.
The story takes place in Worland, where Carl is a reverend at the church. He is married and he has a daughter. The narrator explains that he thinks he married to soon. Carl has been attracted to Lily since he and his family moved to Worland, “in the year since Carl had come to Worland with his wife and daughter, he had not been able to stop thinking of Lily” (p. 1, l. 5-6). Lily is also married, but she feels passionately about Carl and they commence a secret relationship. They meet up in different remote hotels where they make love.
The winter is coming and it is getting difficult for them to leave town and still keep their relationship secret, so they agree to stop their affair. The fallowing weeks they talk everyday and they see each other on Sunday mornings to Carl’s services at the church. Carl has difficulties concentrate, when Lily is around, “Carl had trying not to look at Lily during the services. In an effort not to, he would find himself staring at someone else’s face without realizing it, or paying so little attention to what he was saying that he repeated himself or lost his space” (p. 3 l. 6-8).
Carl cannot just put away his feelings for Lily. One afternoon Lily shows up at the church and they make love. Afterwards they meet in the church as often they can. They talk about having a future together and they will divorce their spouses and marry as soon as Carl’s daughter graduate. “As long as they were together they believed that everything else would just work itself out” (p. 3, l. 41). They are both blinded by love and they are very naive and optimistic. They do not think about the consequences, the only thing they care about is that they are in love with each other.
The morning after, Lily walks home and she gets hit by a pickup and dies. Before Carl met Lily he was not happy, but when he is with Lily he get a whole other view on the world, “Perhaps though her, he thought one morning, he could love the world, because the world look different to him (…) (p. 3, l. 19-20). He has never felt the same intimacy with another woman as he feels with Lily. This makes the reader reflect on whether they should be together, in spite of the fact that they where both married.
Carl and Lily seem destined for each other and they have all sorts of thing in common like they are both: “six feet tall, with pale eyes, angular features, and light hair” (p. 1, l. 4-5) and they both just lost a sibling to cancer. Lily is also presented as a clean and right choice. This is also justified because of her name, Lily. “Lily” represents innocence and purity. All this makes the reader believe that they are right for each other and meant to be together. The title “The order of things” covers the story and themes well. The story is about the order of things seen from Carl and Lily’s view.
They are so much in love and they almost forget to think rationally. They are “hypnotized” by their feelings: “Feeling came first and thought came after; that was the order of things” (p 3, l. 24). The season becomes a symbol in their affair, because the story begins in August, where the weather hot, but in October the weather gets colder and they meat each other farer away. It is beginning to snow and they cannot see each other anymore. By they start seeing each other at the church it is winter and it is very cold. Their relationship ends when the snow begins to fall and Lilly dies.