“Empire”

In “Empire,” I noticed what seemed to be an emotional disconnect with the character the story revolves around and the actions taking place.  I wondered if this was perhaps just a reaction to reading so many short stories that are in first person, then suddenly switching back to 3rd person.  However, “Empire” did contain some similarities despite the point of view; the limited omniscient perspective where we only understood Sim’s thoughts and not the inner workings of the people he interacts with, similar to how first person narratives only provide direct access to the main speaker’s thoughts.

I talked earlier about emotional disconnect.  I felt like this was the result of the lack of reflection that frequently seems to occur when a first person story is introduced, especially in Ford who likes to start off his stories in a frame that shows how the character is looking back on his actions.  However, I also felt that this was an aspect of the character himself.  He seems to have very little awareness about the consequences of his actions, such as meeting with these female sergeants, and later the story says that he didn’t know what would happen when Benton asks him if he knew ‘this’ would happen, referring to sex.  Any reader can see that going to a woman’s room at night for drinks will probably lead to sex, but Sims doesn’t seem to get that.  The narrator also reveals that Sims was ‘seeing things from the outside’ where nothing bad could happen after he starts to drink, but I think his attitude of watching from the outside applies to his life as well.  He seems like a spectator with no expectations, rather than an active participant in his own existence.

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