Journals Take Two
By: Sarah Pierce
There is no set rule for when clarity comes to a person in life. It can be found when a person first hold their child in their arms, or first falls in love, or when a person decides to follow a certain religion. Clarity comes to us in an array of ways. It is a fluid concept that cannot be defined by a single moment, and is different for many people.
Death often comes to mind when discussing the meaning of life as it is the thing that makes us question life’s necessity in the first place. It is tragic and romantic to have a hero or anti-hero find clarity in life, only to meet their death soon after. The irony in it is beautiful and tantalizing and makes literary works resonate with readers, but death isn’t always so frustrating. Many people die peacefully, having found their clarity much earlier in life. The reality is that death is often simple, peaceful, and certainly unromantic, but literature can’t settle for something so drab.
In Welty’s story, The Death of a Traveling Salesman, Bowman realizes all of the love he has missed out on when he enters Sonny’s house as he observes the simplicity in the way they live. There are no riches and the house is lacking in grandeur but Bowman realizes that the family has a different kind of wealth: love and family. Ironically he realizes this during a prolonged heart attack and dies before he can take action and seek real love in his own life. Bowman finds his clarity right before death, but it is certainly not the norm.