Nick Hornby's High Fidelity Essay

978 words - 4 pages

Nick Hornby's High Fidelity

In Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, the main character, Rob, relates music to every aspect of his life. He utilizes music as an escape from his anxieties regarding his failing record store, relationship, and sense of self. Music provides Rob with the inspiration that keeps him going:

Records have helped me to fall in love, no question. I hear something new, with a chord change that melts my guts, and before I know it I'm looking for someone. (169)

Music prompts Rob to isolate himself, hold an unrealistic view of people and sabotage his relationships. Rob allows himself to get overcome with a feeling when listening to a song pertaining to that feeling. Many of the songs he mentions as his favorites or with significant meaning, relate to Rob?s life in that they have a lot to do with loneliness. One song in particular that Rob wants to serve as his eulogy, ?Many Rivers to Cross,? by Jimmy Cliff touches upon aspects of his life, such as loneliness, abandonment and anger.

The title, which is repeated throughout the song, relates strongly to Rob due to the fact that it contains the word ?cross? in it. Having just broken up with his girlfriend, coming to grips with his fear of commitment and finding unhappiness with his occupation, Rob has just crossed many boundaries in his life. He has taken on a sense of depression, which leads him to resort to anger all the time. The word ?cross? in the title can also relate to Rob?s anger. He is constantly ?cross? with his coworkers:
If I have to listen to one more word of his useless, pathetic, meaningless babble in my entire life I will kill him. When I let him go I am shaking with anger. (56)

When on the topic of Ian, the man Laura left him for, Rob goes of on a tangent about how he ?never liked him then, and [he] *censored*ing hate[s] him now? (70). Rob has trouble controlling his temper and is easily impelled into a fit of rage. At the funeral, while speaking to Liz, he gets all worked up and ?suddenly, [he?s] raging and [he] [doesn?t] know how to calm down? (244). The word ?cross? describes Rob quite well because he always seems to find someone to be angry with. Rob?s distress is clearly caused by loneliness and unhappiness with the way his life has turned out.

Rob clearly feels he is battling life alone. He feels he has no one to express his feelings to because no one understands him:

I can?t speak to Laura because she lives with somebody else and she calls from phone boxes and she pretends she doesn?t, and I can?t speak to Liz because she knows about the money and the abortion and me seeing someone...

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