Changes In The Life Of Marcus Gorman

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade November 2001

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In the beginning of Legs, the narrator, Marcus Gorman, has grown increasingly dissatisfied with his boring and inactive life. He passes his time reading the same book in the library, or waiting for people with whom he can play a game of pinochle (16). He searches for a solution to breaking the monotony of his everyday life. Marcus actualizes his statement that if you "Do something new and you are new" (41) by identifying himself with Jack "Legs" Diamond, and agreeing to go work for him.

Marcus is fascinated by the way that Jack approaches life, and he adds excitement to his own life by associating himself with someone who is very action-oriented. He uses the way that Diamond runs through the woods like a cat as a metaphor for the attitude with which Jack approaches life. In his description, Marcus says that "he was not mindful of anything except"¦his destination and whatever obstacle he and the cat might have to dodge or leap over: an old log, jutting rocks"¦entire dead trees, the residual corpses of the forest" (45).

This example displays Marcus' awe of Jack, and his ability to go through life killing anybody that gets in his way, with reckless abandon and complete lack of conscience. Marcus admits to living a slothful life, and his goal in life was to lie complacently until he could be "ushered" into a seat in Congress. He finds himself more impressed and intrigued with the way that Jack is never inactive, and how he metaphorically knocks over everything in his path in order o achieve whatever he strives for in life. Marcus believes that by doing "something new," and becoming involved with Jack, he could actually become a new person and create action and excitement in his own life.

Despite the fact that Marcus recognizes the differences between Jack and himself, he identifies their similarities and hopes that all of Jack's characteristics will rub off more on him. When Goose Murray drives Marcus home one night, he says in reference to Diamond: "I think he was always crazy: (75). Marcus casually responds, "some of us are" (75). He believes that he possess many of the qualities that Jack does, however, Marcus does not directly act on those instinct that he claims to possess. While Jack has proven that he is impulsive and unpredictable through his brutal actions, Marcus simply feels that he has the potential to be impulsive, but that he is unable to actually carry out any actions. The characteristics that are embodied by Jack lie dormant in Marcus, and he hepoes that by partnering with Jack he will be able to base his actions on impulse and drive, in the same manner that Jack does.

It is clear that Marcus decides to connect with Jack "Legs" Diamond in order to make initiate changes in himself. While he intends to absorb Jack's qualities and desires to institute them in himself, by the end of the novel he realizes that he is actually not "crazy" or impulsive like Jack. He was simply bored with his existence at the beginning of the novel, and his association with Legs served as a catalyst to beginning to live a life by a completely different set of moral rules. However, he learns that the life that Legs lives is not appropriate for him after all, and that while he has become "new," he must choose his own path through life guided by his own rules.

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