Loneliness is a feeling in which people experience a strong sense of emptiness and solitude. Loneliness is often compared to feeling empty, unwanted, and unimportant. Someone who is lonely may find it hard to form strong relationships with those of the same and opposite sex. One who is classed as lonely often fails to build bridges within society, coming across as distant and irrelevant to life itself. Loneliness isn’t something, which happens by choice, but is often related to certain events happening in the sufferers’ life. A Painful Case is revolved around the story of a boring, predictable banker named Mr. Duffy.
Mr. Duffy follows a life of routine, works, eats in the same restaurant with the same meal, and returns home. Occasionally, Mr Duffy leaves the house to visit the theatre or concert hall. One on of these rare occasions he meets a particularly interesting woman named Mrs. Sinico. Mr Duffy bumps into Mrs. Sinico on a further three occasions, and on the third arranges to meet with her purposely. Mr Duffy begins to feel uncomfortable with the meetings as he founds out her husband, Mr Sinico was a captain of a merchant ship. Despite with feeling uncomfortable, Mr Duffy continues to meet her, always at her house.
They share many interests, and I feel that Mr Duffy finally has found somebody he can relate to. They appear to get closer and closer throughout the meetings as they slowly find out they share many interests. Mr Duffy’s once hard, boring character begins to lighten up, which was soon to change. Mrs. Sinico makes a misinterpretation of Mr Duffy’s body language leading her to put Mr Duffy’s hand on her cheek. Disgusted with this sexual advance Mr Duffy finishes his regular visits to her and cuts off any relationship they had with each other.
They have a final meeting in a cake shop, agreeing to end all links with each other although it’s clear this is not what Mrs. Sinico wants. Four years later Mr Duffy stumbles across a news article entitled ‘A Painful Case’. This article describes the events of Mrs. Sinico’s death, and mentions that she was an alcoholic and had become very detached from her husband in the past two years. This news saddens Mr Duffy, and he realizes that his one chance at love was blown, leaving him even more alone than he began. ‘Uncle Ernest’ and ‘A Painful Case’ revolve around the same feelings.
The story is about Ernest Brown, a single, upholsterer who was known as scruffy. Ernest was incredibly lonely. Ernest lives a life of routine, and visits the same cafe every day. His routine changed today, leaving him late to eat breakfast due to a previous job, which lasted longer than expected. While he eats his breakfast, he begins to think his life through questioning his existence upon the earth. He believes that he doesn’t deserve his position in life as all have his friends’ die in the war. He has no visual scarring from the war, but only mental scarring from the horrible sights he saw but he also suffered from shellshock.
He did not have a job until later that day so he intended to wait until he had to participate in the job. While at the counter, two younger girls entered the cafe and took a seat. When he returned from ordering and retrieving his food the two younger girls had placed themselves on his table. As if ignoring the two girls he sat down where he was once sat earlier. After hearing the two girls arguing about purchasing a cake and a bus fare he decides to step in and aide them in their problems. This becomes a regular thing, with the girls abusing Ernest’s regular spoiling and treats.
Weeks pass, with Ernest continually spoiling the girls. It never enters his head that the girls were abusing his generosity and open heartedness and they became increasingly greedy. This was taking full advantage of Ernest kind deeds. One day in one of their regular meetings in the cafe, two suited men enter the cafe. Ernest recognized these two men from regular visiting’s throughout the week. The girls went up to the counter to purchase food, while in the mean time these two men approached Ernest. They asked him to leave the cafe and never to return.
They claimed to have been ‘watching Ernest for a while’ and threw him out of the diner. Depressed, shocked and upset Ernest walks away as lonely as ever, once again questioning his own existence. Both main characters in both stories are incredibly lonely. Mr Duffy makes a choice to be lonely as a post to Ernest in which it is not his fault he is lonely. Mr. Duffy chooses to be lonely; choosing to live as far away from Dublin is possible. This was because he looks down upon citizens of Dublin and suburbs surrounding Dublin. Mr. Duffy lives a very boring life, doing all activities alone.
He entered work by the same means of transport daily, eats lunch in the same place then returns home enduring in the same activities with him occasionally visiting the opera or the concert hall. ‘He had neither companions nor friends’, this shows that Mr. Duffy chooses not to have any friends and prefers to be alone than associate with the others of Dublin and the suburbs as he considered them to be ‘mean, modern and pretentious’. With the refusal to socialize with those around him this leaves Duffy with a very small chance of ever finding friendship.
Once he does find friendship I feel that he is very inconsiderate towards others feelings. He is very inconsiderate to Mrs Sinicos feelings as he only considers his own feelings and does not allow any room for the two to talk about it; he just takes actions into his own hands. He is very selfish with this deed. I feel that he responds poorly to others other than Mrs Sinico. Even so, this relationship proves to end badly due to Mr Duffy responding badly to a spur of the moment action. This story is very different in ‘Uncle Ernest’ where his actions are not the cause of loneliness but large feelings of disbelieve in him.
Throughout the story he questions his existence upon the earth. Ernest suffers from shellshock making him immediately different from others. He is naturally an unapproachable person making it immediately difficult to find companionship. He is also a very timid character showing that he may also find it difficult to find friendship. Although he is timid, Ernest cannot help but to show kindness which Mr Duffy fails to do. He feels the need to help the girls out with the shortages of money, a kind, warm deed which Mr Duffy would never think about doing.
He is not used to the fact of loneliness as in the text it says. For years he had eaten alone, but was not yet accustomed to loneliness’ showing that at one point in his life he was used to having friends. Ernest does not want to be lonely, hoping that one day the spell would break, whereas Mr Duffy makes the choice to be lonely due to the way he responds and thinks of people. He feels guilty for others, possibly wanting him to live a better life than himself. This shows that he has kind hearted thoughts to not only one person but others, whereas Mr Duffy is only kind to Mrs Sinico.
The difference is that Mr Duffy thinks very highly of himself, whereas Ernest questions his own placement upon Earth, showing that he does not think very highly of himself. Although the girls are very manipulative to Ernest, he continues to spoil them with treats, showing that no matter how much he is taken advantage of he will carry on spoiling people in order to have somebody to talk to, a friend. In A Painful case, Mr. Duffy begins off as a routine following lonely man. He occasionally attends local concerts in which he meets a mother and her daughter.
She says to him ‘What a pity there is such a poor house tonight! It’s so hard on people to have to sing to empty benches’. Mr. Duffy sees this as an invitation to engage in a conversation with the lady. He instantly took a liking to her and attempts to ‘fix her permanently in his memory’. The further two meetings with Mrs Sinico made him happy, as she was beautiful but remained intelligent. He made an appointment with her on the third meeting. Although he had to meet her stealthily he still enjoyed the company, his first shot at companionship. ‘Little by little he entangled his thoughts with hers.
He lent her books, provided her with ideas, shared his intellectual life with her’. This shows that they share many of the same ideas as each other beginning to enjoy his time with her more and more, gaining further interest into her life. They understood each other deeply, with her interested in his thoughts. She suggest that he should ‘write down his thoughts’ showing clear interest in what he thinks, and maybe even to find out how he felt about her. ‘Her companionship was like a warm soil about an exotic’.
This quotation shows that this companionship was a large piece of Mr. Duffy’s life, erasing previous habits and effectively rewriting this stage of his life to one of joy and happiness as a post to dismal, boring routine. Uncle Ernest begins as a lonely grafting man. He does not make the choice to be lonely, and is not used to the factor of loneliness, showing that he once had friends. He suffers from shellshock from the war, loosing several of his friend’s in the war, and still possibly getting used to the fact of living his life without friends. This shows that much of his life revolved around the war as this is where he made, had and lost many of his friends.
He sits, eating alone at the cafi?? when two girls enter the cafi?? and sit at his table. He hears them arguing about affording a bus ticket and a cake and sees this as an opportunity to make friends and to talk. He engages in conversation and offers to help them on this situation. They happily allow him to spoil them and begin to meet regularly in the cafi??. This makes Ernest happy, continually spoiling the girls. They manipulate Ernest into these treats, but he is incredibly nai??ve and does not see this occurring, as the friendship with the girls is what makes him happy. In ‘A Painful Case’ Mrs Sinico is also a lonely character.
She is half of a civil partnership in which her partner is always traveling and it is thought that he has a girl in every other port. Her daughter also teaches music for long periods of time often leaving her alone at home, with Mr. Duffy her first real friendship, the one preventing her from loneliness. In ‘Uncle Ernest’ Alma and Joan are also lonely. Their mother treats them poorly, and very neglectful. They are lonely as they only have each other, with their mother supplying with very little. Joan is shy which makes her all the lonelier, struggling to make a new group of friends.