Having friends. Experiencing life. Being happy. We make decisions in the pursuit of a better life, a perfect life, at least the perception of a perfect life. Social media has great impact on the perception of a perfect life, and therefore on the decisions we make.
However, memories and specific circumstances can alter one’s perception of a perfect life. The question is, however, if a perfect life even exists, when you must declare it and memorialize it before it is gone. The short story “Be here now” which is written by Miguel Syjuco and published in 2012, thematizes some of these issues.
The themes I find most interesting are memories and the perception of a perfect life. In this essay, I shall go over how the short story illuminates said themes, and in doing so, I shall go over the narrative technique, characterize the main character, and talk about the style of the short story.
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The short story begins in medias res and progresses linearly, though with a lot of flashbacks to the main characters memories. The short story’s timespan is over a few days and the setting is in the couple’s new home, however in reality the story takes place in the main characters mind.
The story is about the main character who is war photograph. We follow his thoughts as he sits in front of his laptop and reflects over his relationship with his fiancé. I would say the turning point of the story, is when we get to know that the main character is a war photographer: “I browse through some of my photos that made front pages.
A soldier on his knees defusing an IED [...]”1. After the turning point one’s perception of the story changes, since the main character may be traumatized and even suffer from PTSD, which explains why he has a hard time connecting to his fiancé, Jenna.
The title of the short story, “Be Here Now”, relates to the main theme in the sense of being present and living life without being chained down by memories, unable to move on. The short story ends with: “[...] I’ve been wondering why you weren’t with me.”2, which might also relate to the title by indicating that the main character had not been present but held back by his memories.
The short story has an open ending, and it is left for the reader to consider what will happen to the couple, we can only assume that the main character starts to connect more with Jenna, because of the way the story ends.