The Far And The Near Analysis Essay

When reading or watching any form of literature we expect for there to be a happy ending. Many times we use literature to fill the voids in our lives. In “The Far and the Near” an old train engineer, who has seen deaths, has no family, and has performed a solitary and lifeless job for his entire life fills his void by awaiting two o’clock everyday so he can blow his whistle and wave to a mother and daughter. No matter how much a person has done in his life for himself or others, we know a happy ending is not guaranteed. We are accustomed to always seeing the protagonist who goes through hardship rewarded with what he was striving for. Under all of the things the author uses to make us feel bad for and embrace the engineer are subtle clues…

First of all, the engineer saw the mother and daughter for twenty years; he saw them grow up. The difference is the engineer was looking at them while they were looking at the train. When the engineer blew his whistle he was calling the daughter and mother. When they responded and came outside the mother and her daughter waved at the train, not the engineer. What’s sad about the author is that he is so lonely that he thinks they are waving at him, but in reality they are just waving at the train. We are also able to see when the story takes a turn and the engineer starts doubting when he starts walking throughout the town. The town looks very different from so far away at a high speed. It was as if he had never seen the town before and the more he walked the more he became confused. Again, the mother and daughter can be compared to the town. When looking from afar at a fast speed, the engineer had perceived image of everything but as he came closer it was nothing like it seemed. The same can be said in our daily live; we make decisions that seem great, but upon further review we see the faults. When he approaches the house and his hand falters on the gate, when he begins to feel confused, doubtful, and hopeless he realizes how he has lived in his own little fantasy these last twenty years. When he approaches the door and the woman opens it and looks at him…

What else can we expect? In a basic sense and through subtle clues, it is easy to see why the mother and daughter are not excited to see the engineer. However, the reader is masked by the author’s description of the setting of the house, the character’s sorrow, and the character’s traits. All of these contributing factors add up to blind the reader. The author paints the engineer as a lonely, but suitable man which further makes it difficult to see how the engineer turns out sadder than he began. However, through careful analysis of the story the reader can see how oblivious the engineer really was, thus proving the story really does have a believable…