Analyzing the Gandhi Box’s Ending
In the short story “Gandhi Box,” author Daniel Abraham explores the consequences and contagious influences of the unbalance between unbridled pure desires and submissions to societal rules. Through the climatic ending, Abraham illustrates how man’s inability to reconcile with his internal moral and instinctive conscience leads to his moral depravity and deleteriously influences those around him.
Through the dichotomous violence and joy at the ending, Abraham highlights the necessity of man to make concessions with the ethics of society and his unrestrained instincts; the absence of this balance leads man to his moral deterioration. Mason begins beating Jenny aggressively in the ending scene. Kicking her, Mason describes “the world” as “perfect and beautiful as a pop song.” In his eyes, violence and the world are no longer great but “perfect.” Mason “is in control of the world.” Although socially considered as immoral and unjust, violence – to Mason – is normal and warranted, “beautiful as a pop song.” By highlighting this perverse perception from Mason, Abraham illustrates that Mason’s beliefs and ideology as a whole are warped and thus suggests that Mason’s idea that “he is in control of the world” is twisted as well. In fact, at this final scene, Mason is not in control but has lost control of his morals and inner conscience, the ability to balance his instinctive savagery with socially imposed constraints. The intensity of the unbridled “kick[ing] her hard in the ribs….mewling and coughing” displays his unconcern of the balance of ethics and pleasure-seeking instincts. Pain from “the impact was amazing,” and Mason’s animalistic emotional bliss at this point overpowers his conformity to the social contract. By portraying the almost savage-like behavior of Mason, Abraham illustrates the magnitude of man’s moral deterioration, caused by absent internal conscience. By accentuating the ending’s perversion of unbalanced instinctive desire, Abraham finally highlights the need to instead achieve a healthy balance between animalistic desires and societal rules.
Additionally, Abraham utilizes the ending to illustrate the diseased influence of abandoned unbalance of pure desire and societal submission to others. As Mason charges at Jenny with a knife, Jenny has no choice but to defend herself, “straddin[ing] him, her hands cradling his head, beating it against the floor.” The violence of Mason, who has previously “kicked her hard, mewling and coughing” parallels to the unrestrained violence of Jenny. The high degree of violence in Jenny is illustrated as she consecutively “straddles,” “cradles,” and “beats.” As Mason dies, Jenny is “screaming. It sounded like joy.” By carefully choosing the words “screaming” and “joy,” Abraham emphasizes the unchecked exuberance “joy” that Jenny feels as she violently kills Mason. It is as if before Mason dies, he has satisfyingly transferred his animalistic conscience of violence to Jenny. By sexualizing the end scene with “straddling” and “cradling,” Abraham further reveals the prevalence of satisfying pure desires, or the unbalance of the instinctive side of the mind. This scene may also hint at the possibility that Jenny, after traumatized by this ordeal, now metaphorically lives on and holds this fetal and contagious unconsciousness, spawned from Mason’s influential disregard of social consciences.
Therefore, through the end scene, Abraham illustrates the moral deterioration of man, who escapes from the reconciliation of his moral conscience with his innate barbarism. His unbridled violence and moral deterioration may also ultimately contaminate and influence others.
- Asimov’s Science Fiction. http://bestsf.net/asimovs-science-fiction-magazine-january-2002/
- Abraham, Daniel. “Gandhi Box.” 2008.
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