Inevitable Grief in Not Yet, Jayette
In the short story "Not Yet, Jayette" by William Boyd, Charlie, the narrator and main character, describes a day in his life, and tries to understand, what is going on with him, and where and when his life took a turn towards misery. He states: "It seems to me that everybody in their life is at least two people. Once when you're a child, and once when you're an adult. It's the saddest thing." We will now try to see how this statement relates to his life, and whether or not this phenomenon can be said to be symptomatic for our culture.
Charlie, the main character of the short story, spends his life in Los Angeles, mostly looking for famous people. He used to be a star himself, when he was a child, but this came to an end as soon as he reached puberty. Now he is trying to recover the glamour of his childhood, but it is infinitely lost to him. This leads him to the reflection mentioned above.
I would argue, however, that he himself is not really changed. As a character, he appears never to have fully grown up. What has changed, is the attitude of the world towards him. His society, Hollywood, in the middle of the California of the American Dream, estimates youth above all, and maintains a "childish" attitude towards things. He himself, however, is excluded from the people he dreams of being with. He lives in a world of disillusionment, the wrong side of Hollywood, together with all those who have never succeeded. But he has somehow conserved a certain hopeful candour, which makes us pity him, as we know he should have no hope. This has however prevented him from sinking into the total despair of e.g. Vanessa, the woman he calls "aunt" . He keeps on dreaming about being famous, rich and young, and he views his own existence as a kid as something close to Paradise.
As I have already mentioned, he does not cope with existence like an adult. He is not able to keep his work, his family has been broken to pieces, and yet, all he does is looking for the rich and famous, and dreaming about the return of his career. He is secretly proud that Jayette, the woman in the coffee-shop, has noticed him.