Tuesday, March 20, 2007

“The Personal Touch” vs. “Thief”

The Personal Touch” by Chet Williamson and “Thief” by Robley Wilson Jr. are two considerably different stories. One sets the scene at home and the other takes place in an airport. One is about subscription renewal and the other is about a pickpocket. However, when comparing the themes of each story, similarity arises. Invasion of privacy is the common theme of both stories. As seen, both protagonists in each story and the events of each plot reveal how intrusion happens in our everyday life.

In “The Personal Touch”, the author uses subscription renewal letters as a course to discover the protagonist Joe Priddy’s misconducts and the consequence that he must payoff. The story begins with a Snoop Magazine subscription renewal letter that Joe received. He is irritated with the message that tries to appear personal, but indeed is a computer-typed message. He replies to the subscription renewal letter in a nasty manner. In return, there is a steep bill that he needs to pay. The magazine company holds a picture of his indulgence in tasting forbidden fruit and knows the exact money that he squirrels away from his wife. Joe is unfaithful to his wife; not only has he an affair with another woman, he watches a girl undress in an apartment. By using snoop technology, he invades a girl’s privacy, and he, however, never expects that the magazine company will use the same strategy to pry into his affair. This lesson makes him learn about the feeling of a victim in an invasion case.

In Robley Wilson Jr.’s “Thief”, the story develops around a business man who is waiting in the airport for his flight to leave. In this busy place, a young black-haired woman catches his eye. He stares at that woman and his mind is filled with lascivious imaginations. The woman becomes aware of the harassment, but she ignores him. Often, a man is off his guard when temptation has arisen. At least, this theory is applicable to the protagonist in the story. When he feels the brunette jostling him from behind, he is startled at first, and then disregards it and smiles at her. He does not realize that the brunette has picked his pocket, until he cannot find his wallet. A series of events that happens in the airport makes his life a chaos (or into a chaotic): first, he has to clear his name from incrimination, and then he has to cancel and reapply for all the documents and identifications in his billfold. Paradoxically, his billfold is returned to him intact in the mail two weeks later. The best way to explain this situation is that the brunette wants to give him a lesson for the invasion he did.

Invasion of property is condemned everywhere. Sexual harassment is a kind of invasion because body is one person’s property. The actions of both married reprobates trespass beyond accepted boundaries. The final moral message that the two authors want to convey through these stories is that people get their comeuppance for transgression.

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I teach English as a second language to junior high and high schoolers at a French school in El Salvador Central America. Thanks for your commentary. It is a good resource for the kids.

Nadia said...

I would like to make a reference to this article in an assignment, could you possibly provide me with a name for the author? Thankyou

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