The characters in Brautigan’s stories The Weather in San Francisco and Corporal exemplify similar interpretations of the author and his own life stories. As an author early on, Brautigan became “self-absorbed, deeply depressed, troubled by debts, and abrasive even to those who cared for him” (Hackenberry 3). These distressed emotions left him feeling hopeless in life and himself. It was as though he was in the middle of running an endless race without anyone cheering him on and the finish line was nowhere in sight. As time progressed “he [grew] increasingly withdrawn and depressed over his fading career” (Contemporary Authors Online 6). In the end, Brautigan let his sorrows consume him to the point of “apparently committing suicide” (Contemporary Authors Online 6). Like Brautigan, the characters in his stories also express unhappiness in life. The butcher in The Weather in San Francisco had “a very unpleasant experience” after having to reluctantly slice a pound of liver to sell to the old woman (The Weather in San Francisco 120). He hoped to persuade the old woman to purchase the hamburger because he needed to sell it before it ruined, however she would not be swayed. The boy in Corporal had to suffer for a whole week going “door...
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... surrounded him. The old woman also symbolizes weakness. A great deal of times “she grew tired and had to stop and rest” (The Weather in San Francisco 120). Just like Brautigan, it was hard for her to continue putting on a smile on the outside each day when the inside was in shambles. This may explain why Brautigan took his life with no one knowing. He never made it visible to the world, just kept the feelings within.
As a temporary escape, Brautigan writes in order to express his life through the characters, while incorporating his optimistic attitude as the moral behind each story. He explains that although each day may appear to be cloudy, one must believe the sunshine will peek out at any moment. He also expounded that instead of sulking over failure; accept the defeat proudly instead of making it your weakness. The dreams of a better world are all in our hands.
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