The character of Darling in Irwin Shaw’s “The Eighty-Yard Run”
“The Eighty-Yard Run” tells the story of a man who had lost his past glory as a excellent football player in college and couldn’t’ adjust himself to the changing society and keep up with his wife and hated the friends she associated, thus the relationship between the couple gradually becoming worse.
Darling is a tragic character and he always set himself in contradiction. He always reflected back at his collage years when he was the idol of the whole school. It seemed like he was adored by everybody: teammates liked him, coach and manager favored him, girls worshiped him and boys respected him. He had everything a man could have including a beautiful lovely girlfriend who is also clever and rich. But when the day came that he never was the “super hero” but just an ordinary guy, he became confused, angry and depressed. He was thirty-five then and worked as a staffer in his father-in-law’s ink manufactory. He indulged himself behind Louise. He got some weight. He had debts to pay off. What makes the matter worse is his occasionally reflection of the “good old days” which could only made him more sullen a guy.
His contradictory character reveals like this. First, he loved his wife but what he did always make her disappointed. When Louise asked him why he drank at two o’clock in the afternoon, his answer was “I have nothing else to do.” And his negative answers, “I don’t want to walk along the river,” “I don’t want to walk along Fifth Avenue.” “I don’t want to go to any art galleries.” “I don’t like your hat” “I don’t think I like you to associate with all those people…” “I don’t feel like going down to Fourteenth Street.” All these annoying answers finally made Louise lost her temper when she suddenly yelled “Oh, hell!” Yet he loved her, he did try to make himself like others, “he’d gone grimly to the art galleries, the concert halls, the bookshops, trying to gain on the trail of his...