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American Dream by Norman Mailer
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This is a story of Victor who returned from overseas where he served his country in the fight against terrorism. Despite having represented the country on such a mission, he comes home and he seems not to have reconnected with his wife because he forgets about the anniversary and he does not bring her flowers. This paper explores the many difficulties that he faces, such as when his life nearly comes to a standstill after he accidentally kills his beloved wife, and how he is able to rise up and move forward.
The paper is organized into three sections, each section dealing with different angles of the story. The last section deals with the redemption of Victor who repents his sins and lives a good life.
The last week in the camp where they had spent almost two years was coming to an end and everyone was happy to return home at last. Victor was particularly happy as he could meet his fiancé and wed her. They had formalized everything and tying of the knot was the only remaining thing to do. After he returns home he is awarded a lot of awards and he is also declared a state hero by the government
Victor is overwhelmed by the kindness he is shown all over the country. His wife is also proud of what her husband has accomplished. Although Victor is famous and all the country is seeing him as a hero, his wife is not that happy because their social life is deteriorating. Worse even, it has been eleven months since he came from Afghanistan and they still have not had their marriage ceremony.
The marriage ends in a bitter separation, though Rael, his wife, still loves Victor. She divorces him and ends up getting an apartment in the same neighborhood. Being so close to each other gives Rael an opportunity to communicate with Victor whenever she wants to. This does not end well as Rael feels that despite their separation she still has power over Victor, and this makes him have some thoughts that are not pleasant to either of them. This escalates to hatred, although they love each other and they want to be happy after the separation. But the urge to see each other becomes unbearable, so Victor calls Rael as he heads home.
Victor calls Rael on his way home and it’s during this conversation that she invites him for dinner that night. Victor is facing a dilemma: either to have dinner with Rael or just head home. He later decides to call on Rael, though deep inside he feels that something is not quire right. After entering the house, he meets Rael who has prepared dinner and she invites him in. The argument starts as they sit down to have dinner.
They start with formal greetings as Rael serves him food and asks how his day has been. It is during this conversation that Rael discovers that Victor hasn’t stopped drinking and he came to her place straight from a bar. This triggers off a heated argument, and Victor becomes furious with Rael for dictating to him how his life should be. In the heat of the argument Rael hits Victor hard with a spoon. Victor overreacts and pushes her hard after which she falls down the stairs. Victor rushes to pick her up and realizes that her pulse is fading. Victor is confused and doesn’t know what to do. He decides to walk home and forget about the whole thing, though it still torments him that he has killed a lady he once loved and treasured. As he walks home he meets a call girl he once knew and she follows him home. At home he tells her that his ex-wife committed suicide by drowning herself in a swimming pool. The next day he hears news about his former wife’s death but does his utmost to distance himself from her death. The police take his statement and direct him to attend an autopsy in order to establish the real identity of his former wife. During the investigation, the police are curious why Victor is not shocked about his wife’s death. However, later on he confesses to having had a hand in it, thus confirming their worst fears. During the autopsy Victor meets Rael‘s father.
Mr. Richard has met Victor at many state functions, so it is no surprise for him to meet Victor. After talking to him, he asks Victor whether he knew Rael was an undercover agent working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He declines to comment but he later confirms to him that he was involved in her death. He later explains that the investigation was called off by the officers to protect other agents. Victor also asks him to forgive him for her daughter’s death and cites drugs as a prime reason for Rael’s constant arguing with him. It is during the therapy sessions that he realizes how much he has lost, and that he needs his reformed life back. After several weeks of therapy sessions, he is reformed.