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Paper on Rules for Old Men Waiting

Paper on Rules for Old Men Waiting - Lindsay Lastinger Ms...

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Lindsay Lastinger Ms. Carver AP Literature: Analytical Essay February 23, 2011 The Characterization of MacIver in Relation to Theme Throughout the novel Rules for Old Men Waiting , the careful and detailed characterization of the protagonist, Robert MacIver, provides an in-depth analysis of the greater theme that certain aspects of life are inevitably out of one’s control—specifically those aspects relating to life versus death. As MacIver recounts the events of his life, he is enraged by the magnitude of the events which have been out of his control, specifically the deaths of his father, Alastair MacIver, his son, David, and his wife, Margaret. Each of the uncontrollable events during MacIver’s life impact him in a negative manner, yet one positive solution that MacIver seems to have for this lack of control is to formulate a set of rules regarding his own life—rules that he carries with him to his death. The first event in MacIver’s life which forces him to realize that certain aspects of life are out of his control is the death of his father, Alastair MacIver. Young MacIver constantly worried about his father, a pilot for the “Royal Flying Corps in France” (Pouncey 27). However, upon MacIver’s question regarding the safety of his father, Alastair replied, “…I’m very lucky—I get to fly in the good clean air, while all the poor soldiers have to slog it out in the horrible mud” (27). Though MacIver was relieved upon considering his father’s statement of reassurance, his relief quickly transformed into grief when his father’s plane was struck down, essentially leaving his father to die “in the mud” (28). This tragic event ignites a feeling of anger within MacIver. He is bewildered by the fact that his father died, despite his promise of being safe. In that moment, MacIver became aware of the fact that many aspects of life—especially those concerning life or death—are out of his control. The effect of this awareness is characterized by
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