“Ridiculous. The mirror was curved. How do you expect to see yourself in curved mirror (275)”. The Vanishing American by Charles Beaumont is a story about a man “vanishing” to the people around him. The story has deep meanings throughout it and requires the reader to read it more than once. Three major points is Mr. Minchell vanished to people, realizing he lost himself, and begin to know himself again. Mr. Minchell’s repeating routine made him become invisible overtime in people’s eyes. For example,” He stretched and said goodnight to the people who filed past him. As usual, no one answered(273)”.
His co-workers did not notice him because he says the same thing to them every night. Mr. Minchell left the office and got on the elevator as usual but soon wished he took the stairs. ” The elevator operator, a bird-thin, tan-fleshed girl, swiveled her head, looking up and down the hall, “Going down”, she said. “Yes”, Mr. Minchell said, stepping forward. “Going down”….. Odd, Mr. Minchell decided, was the word for this particular girl. He wished now that he had taken the stairs(274)”.
The woman thinks that children are playing with the elevator and does not notice Mr. Minchell coming on the elevator. He nodded and smiled at the large man. “Good night, Mr. Diemel. ” The man looked up briefly, blinked, and returned to his conversation. Mr. Minchell felt a burning come into his face… He remembered that he had not spoken directly to F. J. Diemel for over ten years, beyond a good morning…. (274)”. Mr. Minchell was embarrassed by Mr. Diemel , his boss, for not noticing him,so he started to think why he wouldn’t say nothing back to him. Lastly, Minchell walks in the drugstore as usual to get a pack of cigarettes.
The clerk did not look up at him and he started to think what was going on with him. The word “ridiculous ” lodged in his mind and stayed there. Ridiculous, yes, for heaven’s sake. Still, he thought– now just answer the question– isn’t it true? Can you honestly say that clerk saw you(275)”. People were not talking to him or acknowledging him because he does the same routine everyday and vanished in people’s eyes. Minchell realized that he was not noticeable to the people around him because he lost himself with the responsibility of life. ”
The process of disappearing was set into action every time he brought his paycheck home and turned it over to Madge, every time he kissed her, or istened to her vicious unending complaints… (277)”. ” … He thought about going back to work tomorrow and the next day and the after that. He’d have to, of course. He couldn’t let Madge and jimmy starve(277)”. His responsibility to his wife and child was a major part why he lost himself because he wanted to provide for his family . Minchell was thinking back about his dreams and how overtime people around him stop noticing him. ” All the stagnant dreams came back. Fully. The trip to Italy he’d planned. The open sports car. The first hand knowledge that would tell him whether he did or did not approve of bullfighting.
The book… Then something occurred to him… No; he had been vanishing gradually for awhile. (277)”. Responsibilities in life can make someone lose their selves, but that should not stop them to follow their dreams. King Richard the lion reminded Mr. Minchell what he wants out of life and begins to to find himself. ” Less so of late, but still, had it ever completely gone? He was amazed to find that now the childish desire was welling up again, stronger than ever before. Urgently… Would it have been right to go back to the University and forget Madge? (277)”.
He wants to fulfill his dream to go back to college but he does not want anything to mess up family up. Mr. Minchell was noticed by people on the ground after he climbed on top of King Richard, a statue of a lion, and he was shocked. ” You… see me? He called. The young people roared. ” You do! ” Mr. Minchell’s face seemed to melt upwards. He let out a yell and gave King Richard’s shaggy stone mane an enormous hug(278)”. Minchell feels like he has a second chance in life and he can do whatever makes him feel good. ” He had been given a second chance. and this time he knew what he would do with it(278)”.
King Richard help Minchell to have faith again and helped him find himself. Mr. Minchell was losing himself in the world because he lost on what he wanted to do in life and was repeating the same routine everyday. King Richard helped Minchell to focus on himself and gave him another shot for a better life. The Vanishing American as deeper meaning throughout the story that will make the audience to think about life. Never let person’s life issue or responsibility of life take your dreams away. Life has to have balance or he or she will lose themselves and vanish.