Deliverance Theme

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In the novel Deliverance by James Dickey, four men set out in a canoe trip down a river as an adventure hoping to get something out of the experience. The narrator, Ed, is bored with his life and finds his suburban lifestyle less than adequate. On the trip, Ed’s goal is to come back more manly than he left and hopefully come back happier. Ed goes through the motions in his life, with his job, with his wife, and with his son, not really caring about what he is doing. He does not work for the happiness that he could have and does not think that he can have it. As the novel moves forward, James Dickey shows that when Ed wants to change his life he cannot act the part, he has to take the opportunity that presents itself in order to get happiness…show more content…
Before taking this trip, Ed was more focused on the masculinity that he did not have and did not experience beauty or acknowledge certain things: “‘What a view,’ I said again, ‘The river was blank and mindless with beauty. It was the most glorious thing I have ever seen,” (171). Ed is leaving the suburban guy that is bored with his job and life, and is becoming the masculine man that loves his life. Ed can see the best view he has ever seen because it was the hardest task he has completed. Now that he is not focused on things that do not matter as much he can acknowledge what is in front of him. He is no longer bored with his family or his job; he embraces and values these things. In the beginning of the novel, Ed referred to his wife as “it”, making Martha more of a concept rather than a human being. After taking the trip he comes back with a different outlook on his family. He likes being around her he enjoys what she does for him and appreciates it, “She was professional and tender, and tough, what I would have hoped for; what I knew I could have expected; what I had undervalued,” (270). Ed is now aware of how much Martha cares for him and how much he cares for her. Ed no longer has to pretend to be engaged in his life now that he has a new appreciation for

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