All Hail the King

997 Words4 Pages
All Hail the King

“Who wears the pants in their relationship?” someone may ask about a

couple. In the short story “By the River” by Jack Hodgins, Jim Styan

is definitely the one wearing the pants and is in charge of most, if

not all, matters regarding him and his wife’s life. In essence, Jim is

the King of the jungle, or more appropriately put, he is the King of

the Canadian wilderness. The balance of power in some relationships

isn’t always an even fifty-fifty split. Sometimes, one of the partners

has most, if not complete, control of the relationship. Unfortunately,

Jim and Crystal Styan’s relationship is a prime example of the

presence of ill balanced relationships around the world.

In the relationship of Jim and Crystal Styan, it is extremely apparent

that Jim is the dominate one. Jim decides that the best place for the

two of them to live is “in the mountains with the river and the moose

and the railroad” instead of living in the city (pg 130). He decides

for the both of them that contact with others are not important. Jim

even goes as far as to suggest to Crystal that they “don’t need any of

them” to survive in the wilderness (pg 130). Even though Jim doesn’t

think the outside world and contact with other people is important, he

has traveled into town by the train on several different occasions.

Jim decides, without consulting Crystal that they’ll be “farmers” for

the rest of their lives (pg 130). He also suggests that they will farm

their “hundred and sixty acres” of land by themselves and “make their

own world” (pg 131). What's more, he is so dominating that he even

goes as far as to buy “six chickens” and a “sway-back old Jersey” cow

without consulting Crystal at all (pg 131, 132). Whereas Jim...

... middle of paper ... dreams and

future into the fire, and Jim, being the insatiable fire, keeps

demanding for more and more.

All in all, this ill-balance of power is extremely evident in Jim and

Crystal Styan’s relationship. Jim Styan, who also acts like he’s the

King of the Canadian wilderness, completely dominates the relationship

and is extremely disloyal and exceptionally selfish. Whereas Crystal,

the supposedly “other half” of the relationship, although

realistically, she probably makes up merely five percent of the

relationship, is dreadfully passive, unbelievably loyal and

exceedingly giving. As sad as it may seem, this type of ill-balanced

relationship such as Crystal and Jim’s are present all over the world.

Who knows, perhaps right now, there is a couple just like Jim and

Crystal chasing a “sway-backed old Jersey” cow all over the Canadian

wilderness (pg 133).
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