Character Analysis Of Christian Darling Ashland University English Character Analysis

1737 words - 7 pages

Christian Darling Character Analysis
Irwin Shaw’s short story The Eighty-Yard Run, is a story that focuses on the life of its major character, Christian Darling. Although it appears to be an action story about an athlete at the beginning, further reading into the story reveals it to be a reflection on attitudes towards life. Christian is a football player, whose moment of fame comes in 1925, when he makes an eighty-yard run during a play at practice. The story initially takes the form of a flashback, with Christian looking back after fifteen years on this play from practice. It then relates to the subsequent course of events of his life. Christian marries Louise Tucker, his college girlfriend, and moves to New York with her after college. Once out of school, he works for his wealthy father-in-law, an ink manufacturer, who ends up committing suicide after the stock market crash of 1929. Louise goes on to become a successful magazine editor for a company in New York, and Christian is unable to find his way out of the circumstances he was put in after the stock market crash. At first, he struggles to cope with the fact that he is a failure, but admits that he is later on. This story is built around Christian’s and Louise’s contrasting attitudes towards life. Christian’s character can be analyzed through his immaturity about life, his attitude towards life, and his resistance to change.
Christian’s character of immaturity is demonstrated early on in the story. He is overly pleased with his eighty-yard run, during practice mind you not, and soaks in it with undue importance. It is inferred that Christian feels a great sense of happiness and feels good about himself after this run. He recalls, “…listening to the applause and shouts of the students along the sidelines…” (Shaw Pg.426 T). Christian soaks in the moment of fame with the applause from the people watching, his coach’s approval, and the captain’s sign of recognition. The captain of the football team said to him, “Darling, you're going to go places in the next two years.” (Shaw Pg.246 M). Next, he imagines his entry onto the field in the coming game against Illinois, when the spectators cheer, it says, “…part of that enormous salute would be for him.” (Shaw Pg. 246 B). Christian is very overzealous about his run and boasts about it to Louise, “I got the coach in the palm of my hand…” (Shaw Pg.247 B). His eighty-yard run gives him a sense fame with the college crowd, and he is undoubtedly aware of being an important figure at his school. Before this eighty-yard run, Christian was the second string running back. After, it moves him from being a second stringer to a starter, but he never matches it again during a game. Christian eventually becomes completely overshadowed by Diederich, “a blank faced German kid from Wisconsin, who ran like a bull…” (Shaw Pg.428 M). From that point on his role in the team is to open the field for Diederich. Darling admits that his college football career never...

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