‘The Company Man’ By Ellen Goodman
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In this essay Goodman retaliates at the middle class, constantly trying to become the upper class in a fit of greed lost in a fog. The Company Many is an ironic essay, in which the main character “Phil” represents every American that loses touch with reality in the fog of ambition. Phil is the ideal hardworking man, dedicated to his cause, and all that he believes to be good and just, yet losing all that is real. For Phil’s goals are nothing but ideals.
Essentially, it can be implied, that Phil represents the personification of America as a whole, losing feel with all that matters, dominated by desires we don’t have, and not living for that which matters most. Although Phil was an extraordinarily hard worker, he was the most typical of people. His life revolved around his work, and he forgot about why he worked, only knowing to work. Becoming mechanic in everything he does, like a robot he had no soul, no heart, no life, he was dead before he died. His wife knew that he had died, and his children grew up fatherless orphans of a dedicated man. This is shown to be true when; “A company friend said, “I know how much you will miss him.” And she answered, “I already have.” – A Company Man by Ellen Gooman.
His own son grew up without a father, and had to research his father in search of something to say at the funereal. His son who now works as a successful worker in the south, symbolizes the mimicking of his father’s life, as though life were nothing but a cycle of repetition that was unbreakable in the blind and bliss ignorance of the crime. The rest of his family are simply victims of the tragedy that affected all of their lives, and to the wasted death that they knew so well. Does Phil represent the average American households, controlled by indifference in each other, and solely occupied in bettering themselves, forgetting why they do so? Or does Phil represent American society as a whole entity that lives in virtual realities and is based off of education and financial status excluding all others Phil is easily characterized as someone who works for a living, yet works for his living, consequently working himself to death, and never living. The humorous irony in this is obvious, but deeply implied lies the dark truth that haunts America today. This is many of us.