Essay Calculated Artistry In Conrad Aiken's Impulse

Essay Calculated Artistry In Conrad Aiken's Impulse

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The story “Impulse” is about a man named Michael Lowes who lives a boring life and enjoys his nights off from work. What appears to be an ordinary night with friends turns out to be a life changing night that is caused by events caused by a friendly conversation about impulses. Michael’s wife looks down on him, and he has to lie to spend time with his friends who he doesn’t really like very well. One thing leads to another and Michael finds himself in jail because of a shaver he stole from a drug store. It isn’t until he’s in jail that he realizes his life is over. His wife divorces him and takes the kids away leaving him absolutely nothing but his shame.

Michael Lowes, the main character in the story “Impulse”, has a tough life. He didn’t have a great job, and he always had unpaid bills. He did, however, have a college education. Michael had a wife named Dora who he thought he knew well, and two children named Dolly and Mary. He was always moving from one place to another trying to make a living, therefore never making any friends. Michael worked hard and felt he needed time to relax, and every other week he would play bridge with his acquaintances. Michael has a pretty boring life and does the same thing every day. He never did anything wrong and always followed the rules. But one night while he was playing bridge, the idea of “impulses” came over him, and he could not stop thinking about it. He wanted to do something different and feel alive. The idea of stealing something really fascinated him.

Michael was in a way scared to stand up to his wife and had to lie to her to do what he wanted. He really believes he is a good person regardless of what people tell him. In the morning he has a fight with his wife, but looks forwar...


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... has a lousy job, a lousy wife, and lousy friends. Yes, there are people who give in to their impulses and get away with it, but it’s always the good ones that get caught. I can relate to Michael being that he is a good person who never does anything wrong and has people closest to him look down on him. I know if I would do something that Michael did I would get caught because that’s my luck. Unfortunately, the ones who don’t get caught are the evil ones who continue to do bad things with zero consequences, and that is the problem in this world.



Works Cited

Handa, Carolyn. “’Impulse’: Calculated Artistry In Conrad Aiken.” Studies In Short Fiction 12.4 (1975): 375. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 May 2014.

Winehouse, Bernard. “’Impulse’: Calculated Artistry In Conrad Aiken.” Studies In Short Fiction 15.1 (1978): 107. Literary Reference Center. Web. 1 May 2014

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