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The Door by E.B. White

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Length: 1143 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)
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The Door by E.B. White

(1) As humans search for meaning and purpose in their lives, the constant changes of everyday life that they encounter can be overwhelming and frustrating. E. B. White gives us an example of this in his story "The Door." The theme of this story is that too much awareness and analysis of life’s frustrations can drive human kind insane and render them powerless.

(2) The protagonist of this story is sucked in by his need to understand the frustrations of life. He is always seeking relief from his awareness of these frustrations; just when he thinks he has picked the correct path or door, ("the one with the circle on it"), the professor "changes that door on [him]." Consequently, the protagonist repeatedly encounters obstacles that block his ability to gain relief from his dissatisfaction. The insanity of never being satisfied with his lot in life, is prevalent in the protagonist's persistent refusal to give up his search for fulfillment ("jumping at the door"), much like the junkie's persistent refusal to give up that last fix. Finally, as hi...

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...nflict, in addition to reinforcing the protagonist's obsession with analyzing.

(8) From the start of the very first paragraph, by using words such as "duroid," "duro," and "flexsand," White forces the reader to join the protagonist in his insanity and his need to analyze. By immersing the reader into the story, White further brings out the theme by allowing the reader to identify with the protagonist's frustration, powerlessness, need to analyze. The reader then becomes enmeshed in the protagonist's journey on the road to insanity.

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