Darling marries Louise Tucker, his beautiful college girlfriend, and moves to New York. He works for his wealthy father-in-law, an ink manufacturer, who commits suicide after the Crash of 1929. Louise goes on to become a successful magazine editor. On the other hand, Darling is unable to find his way out of the changed circumstances of his life. He admits that he is a failure. The story is built round Darling’s and Louise’s contrasting attitudes towards life. Darling’s characterization is the main thread of the narrative and the action of the story revolves round it. “The Eighty-Yard Run” details how Darling’s personality ruins his marital relationship and leads to his acceptance of failure at the age of thirty-five. The characteristic trait of Darling’s personality is his immaturity and his refusal to adapt to new circumstances. Darling’s failure in life is due to his immaturity and resistance to change.
Darling demonstrates a very immature attitude towards life. He is childishly pleased with his ‘eighty-yard run’ and imbues it with undue importance. He recalls “feeling wonderful,” ---“listening to the applause and shouts of the students along the sidelines” (Shaw, Year, 1-4). He basks in the congratulations, the fussing of the managers and the captain’s approving forecast: “Darling, youre going to go places in the next two years” (Shaw, Year, 2-1). He imagines his entry onto the field in the coming game against Illinois, confident that, when the spectators cheered, “part of that enormous salute would be for him” (Shaw, Year, 2-5). He is very smug about his run and boasts to Louise, “I got the coach in the palm of my hand” (Shaw, 3-2). His ‘eighty-yard run’ gives him a passing fame with the college crowd, and he is complacently aware of being “an important figure” on campus (Shaw, 3-9). As a matter of fact, Darling’s brilliant run occurs only at a practice session. It moves him from being a second ...
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