Mirrors Don’t Lie in Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s The Lie Essay

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Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s The Lie - Mirrors Don’t Lie

In The Lie by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Eli Remenzel is a thirteen-year-old boy on his way to The Whitehill Preparatory School with his parents.  Little do they know that Eli is keeping a big secret from them: he didn’t get accepted to the school.  As the story unfolds Eli finally cracks under the pressure of the lie as the headmaster informs his parents that he wasn’t accepted at Whitehill.  What happens next is a disaster.  As I was reading the story I noticed a lot of qualities in the different characters that are traits I see in myself.  Eli, his mother Sylvia, and his father Doctor Remenzel all have different characteristics that reflect me.  These characteristics are what blend together to make me a unique individual.

First I’ll focus on the similarities between Eli and myself. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. writes, “Eli sat up again, but began to slump almost immediately (…) hoping to die or disappear.”  This was written while Eli kept the secret from his parents. As I reread the passage I disliked the way Eli decided to handle his secret. Instead of coming right out and telling his parents what the problem was, he ignored it, and every mile they drove it became bigger and harder to hold in. Notice the word slump in the above passage from the story.  This was the first thing to pop out at me indicating our similarity, because the word creates a vivid picture of myself when I am in similar situations. I felt Eli’s frustration building, and I realized I handle problems with my family in the same way.  My parents never have the same reaction to a problem, so I’m always scared that they’ll be angry or disappointed in me. This causes me to do exact...

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...tor Rememzel, I accomplished nothing embarrassed myself, yet the next time I was unhappy I would repeat my actions over again. I no longer throw temper tantrums, but I do speak before I think and often say and do things that I do not mean. Unlike the other previously mentioned faults, I am quite aware of this one, and I recognized the similarities between Doctor Remenzel and myself right away.

            In conclusion, I disliked The Lie, because the characters in it exemplify the worst qualities in myself.  Whether it’s not being honest with my family, being self-absorbed, or my uncontrollable temper, I cannot like characters that possess these traits because I hate these traits within myself. Reading about the characters is like looking into a mirror, and like the title says, mirrors don’t lie.


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