In “Under the Radar” by Richard Ford, the failing marriage of Marjorie Reeves and her husband Steven Reeves is analyzed. While on the way to a party at George Nicholson’s house, Marjorie admits to her husband that she had an affair with George last year. Upon hearing this life changing news, Steven pulls over on the side of the road, speechless.
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After a few minutes of awkward silence, he hits her in the face with the back of his open hand, in a blind rage. After apologizing for striking her, Marjorie insists that Steven get out of the car to help a raccoon that had been ran over; when Steven complies with the request, she turns on the car and begins to drive. In this short story ford suggests that neglect can create barriers between people, and causes the crumbling of relationships.
When someone is deprived of attention from a loved one, they tend to seek that attention else where. In marriage, this attention seeking need can manifest its self in the form of infidelity; but this is not the only time that neglect causes issues. When a child is neglected by their parents, that child will seek attention and comfort else where, even if it is in the form of a gang.
Everyone has a desire to be needed, even if they are not needed, they still want to feel as if they are. By not showing someone the attention that they require, that person begins to feel as if they are not inferior. When someone feels they are being neglected, they will begin to make up stories and do outlandish things in a cry for attention. For instance, in an attempt to receive her husbands attention, Marjorie would make up wild stories, claiming that she was a “topless [dancer] while she was an undergraduate” or that she had done “heroin experimentation” and even “taking part in armed robberies” (146), however Steven brushed off these cries for attention as blank lies. He did not realize that his neglect would be the downfall of his marriage.
Ford Richard. Under the Radar. London: Harvill, 2001. Print.See More on Literature