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Catherine Clark
10/24 Discussion
Sat Oct 25, 2014 2:35pm
150.216.254.205

My thesis for the Boyle paper is “Obsession and greed are two of the recurring themes within many of T. C. Boyle’s short stories. Through these stories, it is evident that Boyle thinks being too obsessed with something as well as being greedy can result in terrible outcomes. He believes, as most people would, that these are both bad characteristics to have. “On for the Long Haul” and “The Human Fly” are two stories that carry with them Boyle’s opinion on obsession and greed.” Really I guess the just the last sentence can be considered the thesis, but anyways… I used the stories “On for the Long Haul” and “The Human Fly” because I felt that both of those stories had great examples of obsession and greed within them.

In “On for the Long Haul,” Bayard Wemp’s obsession with safety puts him and his family in terrible danger. I think the fact that he refuses to go back to his old life even when he sees his daughters becoming “withdrawn, secretive,… and depressed” is good support for his obsession going a bit too far. Although he thinks he is doing what is best for his family, he is not doing what will make them the happiest. Arkson’s greed can also be seen in this story because all he wants is Wemp’s money, and he seems to create such a great “bond” with him but then does not even recognize Wemp when he sees him in town.

In “The Human Fly,” Zoltan’s obsession with becoming famous, and also his obsession with death are made very obvious by his determination to perform life threatening stunts on a regular basis. He believes that “The Human Fly can survive anything,” however he is so obsessed with becoming famous that he does not bother to take care of himself. He slowly becomes more and more unhealthy as he performs more stunts. His hair slowly begins to fall out until there is practically nothing left, his face becomes “as seamed and scarred as an old hockey puck” and towards the end of his “career” he “looked about one hundred and twelve.”

Both of these stories have good textual support as to why obsession and greed are bad characteristics to have, according to Boyle.

word count: 377

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    • Discussion 10/24 - Taylor Pease, Fri Oct 24 9:56am
      My thesis for the Boyle paper is in T. C. Boyle’s short stories “On For the Long Haul” and “The Human Fly” the themes obsession and greed are significant because Boyle believes that they are... more
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