Hands: Paranoia
English 102 b
Jan. 28, 1997
It seems that in all three of these works there is a sense of paranoia.

In “Hands” a man is fearful of what might happen if he continues to do as he has
done in the past, touch people.A terrible fear of what a small touch could
lead to. In the story “Eveline” a young woman is confused about what to do with
her life. Whether to go with a man she thinks she loves or stay with her father.

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In the poem “Summer Solstice, New York City” This man is made crazy and
paranoid because of something. That something has driven this man to the point
of casting his body over the edge of a building.

Straight from the text of Hands, a story about a man and his paranoia of
his own hands. An example of Wing Biddlebaums fear. “Wing Biddlebaum forever
frightened and beset by a ghostly band of doubts.”(p. 882) Adolf Myers, or Wing,
as the town people called him, was a dreamer, he wanted others to dream with him
and experience what he did. “Adolf Myers walked into the evening or had sat
talking until dusk upon the school steps lost in a dream.”(p. 884)”In a way
the voice and hands, the stroking of shoulders and the touching of hair were a
part of the school Master’s effort to carry a dream into the young minds.”(p.

884) This is a man that was run out of a town for something that was not a bad
thing. Nor was this something intended the wrong way. Mr. Myers did touch only
to pass on something great, a dream. Mr. Myers was run from a town. “They
intended to hang the school master.”(p. 885)”As he ran away in the darkness
they repented their weakness and ran after him.”(p. 885) Mr. Myers was so
paranoid about touching someone he would do anything to keep his hands from
doing so. “When he talked to George Willard, Wing Biddlebaum closed his fist and
beat with them upon a table or on the walls of his house.”(p. 882) Once Wing did
let that one thing that he tried so hard not to do happen. He touched someone,
when he realized it I feel that the paranoia set in. “For once he forgot his
hands. Slowly they stole their way upon George Willard’s shoulders.”(p. 883)
“With a conclusive move of his body Wing sprang to his feet and thrust his hands
deep in his pockets.” “Tears came to his eyes.” “I must be getting home, I can
talk no more.” (p. 884) Wing was scarred of something . . .He was paranoid of
touching someone.

The poem “Summer Solstice, New York City”deals with a man threatening
society to take his own life. This whole play is dealing with paranoia. “He
could not stand it” “The officer was putting on a bulletproof vest, a black
shell around his own life.” “They all came a little closer, where they squatted
near his death.” All of these are examples of either anticipation of death or
fear of what will happen depending on what you do next. The officers are afraid
of moving to fast. For if so the man may jump. “The tallest cop approached him
directly, softly, softly, talking to him, talking, talking.” The crowd was
paranoid that what they might do would have an adverse effect on the situation.

“The crowd gathered in the street, silent.” Every person was worried that the
man would jump. All people took preparation. “The dark hairy net with it’s
implacable grid was unfolded near the curb and spread out and stretched as the
sheet is prepared to received birth.” While the man stands at the edge of the
building, about to take his life. A cop worried about startling him makes his
move. A cop “came up out of a hold in the top of the neighboring building, like
the gold hole they say is in the top of a head, he began to lurk toward the man
who wanted to die.” Even thought the man wanted to die, it seemed that he wants
to live that much more. The man was scared of stepping down “everything stopped
as his body jerked and he stepped down from the parapet and went toward them and
they closed on him.” The police were happy to see the man had passed on his
desire to take his life, they had done their job and they had done it well.

“They took him by the arms, and held him up by the chimney and the tall cop lit
a cigarette in his own mouth, and gave it to the man.”(p. 925)
In the story “Eveline” a young girl is paranoid about making the right
decision. Her mother asked her to promise something before she died that would
twist her thoughts till the night her boyfriend left her. Her mother made her
promise to take as much care of the family as she could. Eveline wanted to do
so many things that her life at home restricted. “She was about to explore
another life with frank.” “He took her to see The Bohemian Girl.”(p. 888) “She
would go away with him by the night-boat to be his wife and to live with him in
Buenos Ayres.”(p. 888) Her father refused to let her see him. “I know these
sailor chaps.”(p. 888) “One day he had quarrelled with Frank and after that had
to meet her lover secretly.”(p. 888) One would feel like the reader could tell
that Eveline wanted to go. She would experience things that she had only
dreamed about. She worried so much. Every time it seemed she had a valid
reason to go she would contradict it with a reason to stay. Her mother seemed
to be the biggest factor. Often she made reference to her and times they spent
together. “Another day their when mother was alive, they had all gone for a
picnic to the Hill of Howth.”(p. 889) However so many times when she did find
reason to stay she would think of how mean her father had been to her. Often
withholding money from her. Then sending her to the store at the last minute to
get food and milk. But at that very same time she thought that her father was
reason to stay. “Her father was becoming old lately, she noticed; he would miss
her.” “Not long before she had been laid up for a day, he had read her a ghost
story and made toast for her at the fire.”(p. 888) Last of all things her heart
poured out to God to help solve her confession, her paranoia of the situation,
and her inability to make a decision. “She prayed to God to direct her, to show
her what was her duty.” (p. 889)
“Hands” Sherwood Anderson
“Summer Solstice, New York City” Sharon Olds
“Eveline” James Joyce