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A Friendly Neighbour

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Mik1812
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A Friendly Neighbour

The ability to think is partly what has gotten man to the top of the food chain. It is hard to imagine a world in which no one is able to think ahead; predict what is going to happen. Yet, what would happen if our thoughts became our only reality? That is exactly what happens to Roger in Adam Johnson’s short story ‘A Friendly Neighbour’ from 2004.

Roger lives in a typical neighborhood with his family and seems well off with a swimming pool. Unfortunately, Roger has had some disagreements with one of his neighbors, Frank, in the past: “I never could stomach Walker… (p. 1 l. 1),” which had led him to the belief that Frank is pedophile and violent towards his family. Roger loves his family more than anything else, and with Frank that close, he feels threatened and wants to protect his family – at all costs. Consequently, he has to keep the doors shut and the kids inside. The frustration accumulates, and Roger ends up killing Frank and his family in an insanity of fear. In Roger’s head, the act was fully justified: “It is human nature (p. 3 l. 14).” Nevertheless, no matter how many good excuses Roger comes up with, it is an explicit sign that something is completely wrong with him.

Roger is possessed by thoughts; actually, most of the story is just Roger thinking.
Roger is aware that he thinks too much, and something deep within him actually briefly tries to recognize this: “No, no, no, I was thinking, not acceptable (p. 1 l. 11).” That is Roger’s only substantial attempt to stop what he is eventually going to do. It is almost like Roger has been taken over by a ‘monster’, which lives of his belief in every single thought it creates, because that is what he does. Roger believes everything his mind tells him, as if it was the bare truth. His thoughts are so delusive and convincing that they have taken complete control of him. For…...

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