Essay on Mike Sager's Story Old

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Mike Sager uses second person throughout his portrait of Glenn Brown Sandberg in Old. He does not simply randomize his use of the form however. While his switches between third and second person may seem inadvertent, Sager systematically works with the two forms in an attempt to bring the reader into the experience of not only Glenn but of the aging process and life in general. “You live in your body every day of your life. Things change slowly, inexorably, in increments too small to measure. You gain weight, you lose weight, your hair falls out...You ask people questions several times over…Your parents and your five siblings and your spouse have all died…People talk to you as if you were a four-year-old…” (Sager 254). Many of these things are unpleasant and unappealing, but I feel Sager wanted to convey the certain inevitability of it all. In simpler terms; regardless of who you are, you will get old. I see it as a very somber undertone to the narrative at this point. Sager wastes no time, though, in changing the tone of the piece. We learn as we read that Glenn is a very upbeat individual with a great perspective of life and its unavoidable end. He understands that his death is getting closer by the day and yet is alright with it, commenting, “It’s been a good life” (Sager 260). Sager uses Glenn’s attitudes as the basis for his second large section in second person. He discusses the two views you can take upon reaching an age like Glenn’s, “You can see it as a long, slow march toward death. Or you can see it as a distillation, a paring down—as the last leg of a journey, the jump-off point, perhaps, for a great new adventure in the next world, a chance to reunite with your loved ones” (Sager 255). He further demonstrates Glenn’s optimistic outlook by calling old age a “second childhood” (Sager 255). Sager does an exceptional job in involving the

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