Comparison Of 'the Handsomest Drowned Man In The World' And 'burning Chrome'

Throughout the course of time, people have always been under the impression that all hopes and dreams can be accomplished as long as action is taken into making them come true, but that is not always the case. Unfortunately, Bobby Quine and Automatic Jack come across this circumstance in William Gibson’s “Burning Chrome” through Bobby asking Jack to help him take down a dangerous criminal named Chrome in the hopes of being able to earn enough money to provide for his girlfriend named Rikki. Although the duo earn a lot of money in accomplishing the task, they still encounter the unexpected with Rikki as she decides that she doesn’t want to be with Bobby anymore and leaves for Hollywood. Also, the situation Bobby and Jack fall in relates to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” since it revolves around a drowned man named Esteban washing up on the shore of a village, where his appearance causes the villagers to be in awe as he is unlike any of the men that they have ever seen since he was tall, handsome, heavy in weight, and considered to be compassionate. Due to Esteban having these differences, it causes the villagers to fall in love with him and feel the need to change their hopes and dreams in order to accommodate the hopes and dreams Esteban would’ve had. While “Burning Chrome” and “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” are two different tales with different fates, they still come together to tell the story of how the love and loss of someone can cause one to feel that their hopes and dreams will become nothing but regret.

Although it may seem like one can accomplish their dreams without thinking about someone they lost, there comes a time when their loss is so significant that it brings forth a change that they didn’t see coming. With “Burning Chrome”, the author brings this idea to life through the incorporation of tone by mentioning how after Rikki decided to leave for Hollywood once she got the eye implants she wanted from Bobby, Bobby couldn’t fathom the idea that his dreams of being with Rikki are done for. Due to this circumstance, it causes Bobby to feel the need to go to the Gentleman Loser (a bar) in order to find a woman that will “tell him what his new life would be like”. In regard to “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”, the author shows how the appearance of Esteban (the drowned man) prompted the villagers to make a huge change to their way of life through the use of imagery. The author uses imagery by stating how the villagers decided to make their houses have doors that are very wide, ceilings that are high, and floors that can withstand the weight of Esteban, along with deciding to “paint their house fronts gay colors” and to plant flowers. With both of these stories, they relate to one another since they show how the loss of someone can truly cause one to come across a situation that forces them to accept the fact that they need to do something in order to move forward with their lives, even if that involves a person having to come to terms with changing their hopes and dreams. In the case of “Burning Chrome”, it captures this idea in a way that shows how Bobby had to change his hopes and dreams of being with Rikki for all of his life with one that would guarantee that he would find someone that would stay by his side through thick and thin, which in turn implies the idea that Bobby regrets thinking that he could be with Rikki. Therefore, this change in Bobby’s hopes and dreams causes the tone to seem desperate due to the fact that Bobby’s need to go to the Gentleman Loser is so strong that he is willing to stop at nothing to find someone that he can have a future with. With “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”, it takes a more light-hearted approach in comparison to “Burning Chrome” as the imagery the author uses helps show that the villagers were willing to accommodate their hopes and dreams without any regret in order to truly honor Esteban as they felt that he played a significant role in helping them see that their village needed to be up-to-date with the constant changes that are happening around them. By making this change, it allowed the villagers to live a colorful life as they wanted to help make Esteban’s memory be a constant part of their lives so that they can always feel close to him in spirit (rather than continuing to live life the way they always had without making any changes). No matter how strong-minded we portray ourselves to be in seeing our hopes and dreams manifest into existence, we will always fall victim in one way or another to seeing our expectations evolve into something that we didn’t expect when we allow the loss of someone to creep into our lives and stay on our minds all the time.

Even though “Burning Chrome” and “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” are both stories that vary significantly from one another when it comes to the loss of someone affecting one’s hopes and dreams, they still relate to one another in ways that would not seem possible. With the stories, they come together to show that an unexpected change can rise to the surface when we allow the loss of someone to play with our emotions when we are on the path in accomplishing our hopes and dreams.  

16 December 2021
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