Theres a famous saying that goes like this: Behind every great man, there is a great woman. However, not all men are great. All men have flaws and women help men get through tough times and problems so they can come to resolutions. In the novels The Man Within, Lord Jim, and The Catcher in the Rye and in the movies Fight Club and American Beauty, the female characters relationships with the male characters are important and help the male characters with their respective problems. In The Man Within, Andrews problem stems from the fact that he has two separate personalities.
In the novel, Andrews said, He was, he knew, mbarrassingly made up of two persons, the sentimental, bullying, desiring child and another more stern critic. If someone believed in me- but he did not believe in himself. Always while one part of him spoke, another part stood on one side and wondered, Is this I who am speaking? Can I really exist like this? (Greene 24). What he was trying to say is that 2 personalities dominated his life. One of his personalities was called the coward. This personality of his was really emotional. He would look at ordinary things and stare at them for long periods of time and see a lot of beauty in them.
This personality also prevented himself from standing up for himself and against his fears. One of those fears was his nemesis in the novel, Carlyon, who he was trying to flee from because he betrayed him by giving the local authorities information about his smuggling ring. Another one of his fears was the fact he couldnt live up to the legend of his Father, who was known as a great smuggler but never treated Andrews the way he wanted to be treated. The critic in Andrews always second guessed everything he did. Whenever Andrews did something or was thinking about oing something, the critic in him would question what he did.
One example of this was when he was about to tell Elizabeth why he was running and he was about to fabricate a story but his hard, critical self said, You fool, shell see through that. Havent you enough gratitude to speak the truth (Greene 70)? These personalities are polar opposities and Andrews lets them confuse him to the point where he doesnt know what to do sometimes. This is where Elizabeth helps him a great deal. Elizabeths relationship with Andrews affects him a lot and helps him ome to a resolution at the end of the novel. Half way through the novel of The Man Within, Andrews falls in love with Elizabeth.
Not just because shes beautiful,but because she has attained a balance in her personality that Andrews wish he had. Elizabeth has found a median and that interests Andrews a lot and is one of the reasons he is very attracted to her. Elizabeth gives some good advice to Andrews. At one point, she gives Andrews advice on how to combat the coward in him by saying, You hesitate and hesitate and then you are lost. Cant you ever shut your eyes and leap (Greene 86)? Elizabeth tries to help Andrews by making him go to the town of Lewes to testify against Carlyon. She also was willing to help Andrews confront Carlyon at the end of the book.
However, it wasnt until Elizabeth was killed that Andrews found balance in his personality. He found a middle ground between the coward and the critic but it took the death of Elizabeth to find it. Andrews also finds out that it wasnt Carlyon that he was running away from the whole time. In the novel, he says, There had been no struggle with Carlyon but only with his father. His father had made him a etrayer and his father had slain Elizabeth and his father was dead and out of reach. But was he? His fathers was not a roaming spirit. It had housed itself in the son he created.
I am my father, he thought, and I have killed her (Greene 215). In Lord Jim, Jims problem is that everyone thinks he is a coward and he eventually starts believing it. The reason for that is because he jumped off a ship, called the Patna, filled with eight hundred Islamic pilgrims that he thought was sinking but it wasnt. For this he goes to court, where it turns out everyone at the town is against him and thinks of him as spineless. Jim is a romantic with a vivid imagination and the fact that people think of him that way makes him feel ashamed and uneasy and he starts believing that he is actually a coward.
He wants to be known as a hero and someone who is known for doing brave deeds. All he wants is to have a second chance at life so he can prove himself. Jims relationship with Jewel in Patusan is very important to him. Jewel is a Malay that Jim meets and falls in love with. From what is read in the novel, it seems that Jim feels as if Jewel and Patusan represented a second chance. A chance where he can prove that he is, in fact, a good and brave man. In one scene in the novel, Cornelius is harassing Jewel. Jim found it very uncomfortable but he didnt leave because leaving the house would have appeared a base desertion (Conrad 187).
He doesnt want to leave Jewel because the situation reminds him of the Patna. Leaving Jewel would have been like deserting the Islamic pilgrims on the ship and he did not want to seem like a coward again, no matter what his instincts say. Jewel also does other things to help Jim in the novel. In one scene, she tells Jim about assassins looking to kill him and he goes down to where they are hiding and kills them. At the end of the novel, Jim does what he feels is the brave and right thing to do as Doramin kills him. In the movie Fight Club, the main character, Jack, also has problems that a female character, Marla, helps him through.
Jack is a disgruntled man who is living a dead end life. Nothing really matters to him except the material possessions that make him feel complete. So Jack decides to attend support groups to warm his desperation. At these support groups, he meets Marla. She is just like him except she doesnt feel the healing that Jack does at the support groups. Jack is uncomfortable with that. So Jack sub-consciously creates Tyler Durden, an imaginary personality that is everything Jack wishes he could be and together they form fight club. He uses Fight Club to vent his frustrations about life and himself.
Near the end of the movie, Marla helps Jack realize that he doesnt need Tyler Durden as they watch the skyscrapers fall together. Another movie also has the theme of a female character help the main character find resolution. In the movie American Beauty, the character Rickey is a romantic. He is a lot like Andrews in that he sees beauty in the most ordinary of things. He usually videotapes things he finds beautiful. In one part of the movie, he says, Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.
Also like Andrews, however, is that he lives in his fathers shadow and he doesnt stand up to him. His father, who used to be a marine, is trying to shape Rickey the way he believes a good person should be like and doesnt give him room to grow as an individual. Rickey then meets Jane. She is very different then Rickey in that she is very defiant against her parents and most of the time, doesnt follow their wishes. They fall in love and when Rickeys father beats him, Rickey realizes that enough is enough and he finally stands up to his father.
Rickey then asks Jane if she is willing to run away with him to New York. Rickey finally gets to be his own man and wont have his father telling him what to do anymore. A Catcher in the Rye is another book that captures the theme that is used in the other novels and movies mentioned. The main character, Holden Caulfield, is a sixteen year old that has flunked out of his third prep school. Holdens problem is that hes afraid of growing up. The process of growing up is a sign of corruption from Holdens point of view. At one point in the novel, Holden says, Certain things they should stay the way they are.
You ought to be able to stick then in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone (Salinger 122). In that quote, Holden shows how hes very much against change. The difference between Holden, Rickey, Jack, Jim, and Andrews is the fact that the female character that helps him is not the women hes in love with. I Instead, the female character that helps him is his ten year old sister named Phoebe. When Holden sees Phoebe for the first time since coming back to New York, he notices that Phoebe seems to have matured a little since the last time e spoke to her.
The reader also notices that Phoebe seems to be more mature and responsible then Holden. When Phoebe tells Holden to shut up in one of the scenes, he is surprised. Phoebe has never told Holden to shut up before. To him this was a sign of her growing up. In another scene where Phoebe is on a carousel and is trying to reach for a gold ring, he says, I was sort of afraid that shed fall off the goddamn horse but I didnt say anything or do anything. The thing is with kids, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything.
If they fall off, they fall off, but its bad if you say anything to them (Salinger 211). When Holden said that, he understood that both innocence and childhood are not permanent. Hes basically saying you cant stop someone from moving into another stage of their life. Andrews, Jim, Holden, Ricky, and Jack all were men with conflicts that female characters helped them through. They all had problems and the female characters helped them solve the problems. However, it depends on the reader whether each of the results was happy or not. One thing is for certain. Behind every man is a great woman.