The Company Man & Faith

The Company Man & Faith

In the essay, “The Company Man” by Ellen Goodman, and the short story “Faith” by Tim O’Brien both authors presents themes of loss and betrayal. Though both authors present the themes in different manners Tim O’Brien and Ellen Goodman are able to capture the reader with a series of images and ironic situations. Ellen Goodman’s “The Company Man” presents loss with Phil’s family and place of employment. Phil’s family experiences the sense of loss when he dies at work. The author presents the family’s loss in a series of emotional experiences for example the oldest son asks neighbors about his father and the neighbors were embarrassed because they did not know anything about him. The sense of loss appears to truly occur even before Phil’s death. A co-worker says to Phil’s wife “I know how much you will miss him” and the wife’s reply is “I already have.” Ellen Goodman emphasizes this loss with the daughter never having anything to say to her father. The author presents Phil as a “perfect Type A, a workaholic, a classic.” He worked six days a week, ate at his desk and no outside extracurricular activities. A great loss to a company, truly a company man. Ellen Goodman reinforces the loss by mentioning that he was one of three for a promotion “if the president died or retired.” The emphasis on Phil’s work ethics reinforces the loss of the family. The author expresses betrayal throughout the essay from the president of the place of employment and Phil’s betrayal to his family. Phil betrays his family by simply never being present. His children do not know him, the daughter thinks that the wife “had given up trying to compete with Phil’s work years ago.” Phil”s obsession with work made him a provider but not a father or husband. Though Phil betrayed his family the author quickly displays how ironic ones obsession can betray him. As in the president who discreetly asks who was the hard…


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