Everybody Knows The Feeling Of
Everybody knows the feeling of trying to figure out what you are good at doing, right? How about if the only thing you are trying to be good at is to be dealing with some kind of satanic monster? This is the situation of the boy in the short story ‘Every good boy’ written by David Nicholls.
There are several themes in’ Every good boy’. The main theme is a young boy”s struggle to find out what he is good at. As the monstrous piano that suddenly is brought by the father, the boy takes up the challenge to tame it and master the art of playing it. Another important theme is also that the boy wants to impress his parents because his older siblings already have found their talents in this world.
The narrator in this short story is a first person narrator who looks back at his childhood memories with the threatening piano he had to deal with. The story is told chronologically. The author of this story creates scenes that are so ridiculous and exaggerated that they are fun.
The humor that the author uses in this story can be seen in the ridiculousness and exaggeration of some scenes.
The protagonist in the story is a young boy at the age of 9, who knows he has attained the skill of literally nothing. He is well aware that his older siblings have found their call in life. The sister is a majorette and the brother dismantles things. The success of his siblings and the pressure from his parent results in him trying to play the piano. He is a quick learner at first as he learns to play the theme of Jaws, but he quickly discovers that grasping the art of playing the piano, he needs to take lessons from the elderly neighbor Mrs. Chin. At the lesson, he is not able to play the classics correctly. Even though he struggles and does not seem to improve, he continues to try. This shows his determination of attaining any kind of skill in life.
"Do you ever wonder’ if you might want to possibly … give-up?"
"I think I’m getting somewhere," I replied. "Same time next week?" (p 4 s 1-4)
This quote also indicates that he is ambitious because even though his teacher asks him to give up in a more or less subtle way but he still continues.
The boy is also cunning in his own way, which can be noticed as he thinks that he has killed Mrs. Chin with his bad music. Then he tries to make the death look as a natural death as he changes the crime scene because he thinks he is going to jail for killing his teacher with bad music. This whole passage also shows that the character has a vivid imagination as this is a very absurd situation.
The Piano is a satanic instrument that the boy clearly is afraid of. Firstly, the piano is described as a black lacquered monster. He is clearly not getting better at playing the piano as he still thinks that it is threatening. This piano is the only thing that is in the way of him achieving to finally be good at something. That is why, he proceeds to try and tame it by taking lessons from Mrs. Chin. The ending of the text shows how the family gets rid of the piano and the riddance is described like:
‘After some persuading, the monster was successfully passed on to a nephew, and then almost immediately to the local dump and, presumably, the flames of a municipal incinerator. I imagined it screaming as it shattered and burned. Peace returned to our house.’ (page 5 s 164-167)
This is how they get rid of the devil, because it is passed on to the nephew, and soon after in to the flames of an incinerator. The flames here are like the flames of hell, because it is where every satanic creature and thing belong. He imagines that it screams, shatters and burns like everything would do in the depth of hell.
However, the ending is a bit more self-ironic and funny. After this horrible experience he has had with the piano, you would think that he would never live through that type of experience again. If this is the case, you would be wrong because in the end the narrator says that he afterwards started violin lessons. Here you can see a repeating pattern revealed.
The boy in the story may not be the best at playing instruments however he learns to face his fears and try to get the best out of it and is that not enough? To face your fears is a very particular skill that many do not possess but this boy seems to have accomplish this skill.