Going along with someone’s beliefs is costly. When someone is open-minded, it is considered a positive investment in one’s growth. Removing one’s self from one’s ideas and way of life is another type of investment, one yielding high risk and little rewards. The incentive of being a part of something is very much worth the risk to many people. In the stories, “Just Walk on By” and “Happy Endings,” the tone is shared between Brent Staples and Mary B. who both conform to someone else’s mind-set for a sense of belonging.
Whether a healthy love life or acceptance amongst peers, almost everyone is capable of falling victim to a very familiar vibe: nurturance. Insert respect to the equation and being treated fairly without ridicule and prejudice becomes immediately significant in what individuals want for them. There is always a decision to be made in going after what one wants. The choice begins with a wager bearing unknown results. One essential item a majority of people consider; life without progress is one not worth living.
Mary gave in to John’s notion of faking a relationship for sexual gratification, when she was faking sexual enjoyment for a relationship. Mary invested her time and body into John, hoping she would be compensated with the title “Mrs.” Mary auditioned for the role tirelessly. She cooked whenever he came over, although he never showed any gratitude in return with an evening dinning out. Mary cleaned up after John while he slept, so he would be assured that she is not regarded as unkempt. This woman even kept herself unbelievably presentable when he wakes up the next morning, only to have him ignore her metamorphosis.
Mary grows emotionally fatigued from giving herself to a man that does not care. With an excerpt from “Happy Endings,” the premise is clear that John does not have love in his heart for Mary.
“One evening John complains about the food. He has never complained about the food before. Mary is hurt. Her friends tell her they seen him in a restaurant with another woman, whose name is Madge. It’s not even Madge that finally gets to Mary; it’s the restaurant. John has never taken Mary to a restaurant” (Atwood 483).
In an extreme ploy for attention Mary slammed down aspirin, sleeping pills, and wine with the aspirations of John saving her, but she ended up dying alone. Mary lost her self-respect and dignity conforming to John’s ideas. She also lost her life trying to make someone love her.
One can give into ignorant, fascist ideology and alter their movements in public space like Brent and enjoy the end result....