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“My Greatest Ambition” by Morris Lurie

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How does the author describe the feelings of anxiety and excitement of the boy?

My Greatest Ambition is a story written by Morris Lurie in 1984 about a thirteen-year-old boy whose greatest ambition was being a comic-strip artist although at the end he grows out of it. In this text the author can easily transmit the feelings of anxiety and excitement of the main character in different ways.

One of the ways Morris Lurie describes them is through the boy’s incapacity of controlling his own body. For example, when he is talking to Miss Gordon from a public phone and his voice is “unnecessarily loud”. He doesn’t shout at her on purpose and this has to do with his lack of experience in facing this kind of moments in his life. And another moment is when he jumps up from his seat on the train and then he decides to sit down again to be relaxed. These have to do with his innocence of not being aware of his movements and the immaturity of acting as a child instead of thinking about his behavior as an adult does generally.

In addition, the author uses language devices to describe his anxiety. One of them is the lack of punctuation that can be seen when he is in the interview and he describes his situation in a one-long phrase with a few commas, and a whole paragraph with only one stop at the end of it. This represents the fantasy he has for being there and the special world he has imagined that makes him describe everything in detail because for him everything is new and amazing. The effect on the reader is that he is lack of air because it seems he wants to say everything very fast and he doesn’t want to stop.

Finally, the third way Morris Lurie uses to describe these feelings is making the main character have no control of his anxiety. It can be seen when it appears a countdown of the train’s stations left: “Twelve stations, eleven stations, ten. Nine to go, eight, seven. Or was it six?”. This example shows the state of nerves he is in, the anxiety he has for arriving at the correct station and being in the interview. Instead of being relaxed, he is permanently trying not to be distracted and miss his first opportunity of doing what he wanted to do, he doesn’t want to miss any detail during the journey.

In conclusion, the author successfully transmits to the reader all the feelings the character feel in a little bit humorous way during an easy-reading story. The nervousness, the excitement and the anxiety actually reach the reader and make him feel he is the one who is undergoing the different situations the main character has to face.

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