Classics unquestionably relate to modernistic ways of life ; A good life is not measured by success or wealth, it is evidently the product of happiness driven by the love of others and the determination to dream. There will always be someone who cannot grasp one’s life image, only they can proceed to a life worth living. Seize The Day, a psychological fiction written by Saul Bellow is an extraordinary representation of human experience. The book has the ability to grasp the moment and capture the essence of one’s life. Tommy Wilhelm, is a man in his mid-forties who recently lost his job as a salesman. He was a college dropout who now has two kids and separated from his wife. Tommy’s life has been turned upside down and is now on the brink of financial disaster. Hope to acquire both financial and emotional support from his father is refused and recollection of his past is brought about once again. Conversations with Dr. Tamkin, his therapist allows Tommy to aid the support he needs and never got from his father. It is at this point where transitions from past to present are apparent in connecting to his misled life. Confidently, Seize The Day is able to emphasize how each and everyday is valuable, by reinvigorating that sense of drive to sustain a full and lasting life. This classic is capable of showing the relevance to society today with the use of theme, character development, and riveting conflicts.
Many themes are brought about throughout the book, particularly to adhere relevance in today’s society. Specifically talking about greed and deceit evidently show how the novel is able to show the connect-ability in the lives of many today. Particularly enough, greed is conspicuous. Tommy grew up with money, and when he lost it all he was burdened with the overwhelming realization that he must not depend on others for his mistakes. This is shown as an objective to why tommy must not take things for granted, people in society today know to well the downfalls of greed. “He thought, The money! When I had it, I flowed money. They bled it away from me. I hemorrhaged money. But now it’s almost all gone, and where am I supposed to turn for more?” (77), Wilhelm clearly proclaims his self-indulgence and self-deception since he knows quite well that the only reason he wanted money was to feel a sense of entitlement, once the money disappeared he was left with a broken ego and no one to turn to for more, Tommy used his wealth as an excuse to be better than the rest and when it came down to him needing a favour he was turned away. This can be seen in the general public today, millionaires who flow money, often seek glory from those alike, not the lower class. Furthermore relevance today is also demonstrated by deceit and lies. By taking the connection between the lust for money, and lies told to benefit yourself it is obvious that they will eventually bond together and construct the perfect element of harm, not only to themselves but those around them. “Wilhelm thought, I must be a real jerk to sit and listen to such impossible stories. I guess I am a sucker for people who talk about the deeper things of life, even the way he does” (81), Clearly, Wilhelm gets something out of his meetings with Tampkin. Not only do they discuss the market standings and family issues but Tommy comprehends what his friend is saying. The conversations they have about profound topics are now showing him that there is more to life, he just needs to open his mind to the potential of inevitability in his life. This theme is understood drastically throughout the book so that the reader can tell when Tommy’s character is changing. This can be said for the lives of many wealthy people who have not been acquainted with how others live, they must take control and learn a thing or two. Considering how much Tommy reconsiders his life decisions and the events surrounding his loss of money and family, greed and deceit slowly fade into his past. His past was a troubled time and the memories when brought about haunt him. By changing how the world is viewed greed and deceit can be turned into generosity and honesty.
Character development broadens the perspective on how Tommy is actually an idealist, a romantic, and a dreamer, even though he has brought most of his troubles upon himself. Worries and fears get the best of him, events that occurred in his past and now the overwhelming family drama is pretty much bound to have some kind of effect on how he develops as the protagonist. The development of one’s character realistically depends on how your life goes. Someone raised with privileges will not contrast to another raised with a stellar work ethic. Flashbacks of Tommy’s past play a key role in his character development. The narrator is able to give a clear representation of his post life. “Old people are bound to change, he said. They have hard things to think about. They must prepare for where they are going.”(15) : Going back in time identifies characteristics about Tommy’s personality. He is impulsive, Tommy dropped out of college and head to Hollywood to be a star, and many more attributes are mentioned to give a clear sight into his mind. Although the flashbacks show the substandard way in which Tommy’s life revolves around, they are also used to give intuition about his future, where he must now change how he viewed his past. Regret, it is the utmost fear among Tommy, fear that the decisions he chooses to make with backlash and end up hurting his future. A future already ruined by the idiotic and questionable choices he makes in the past. “A person can become tired of looking himself over and trying to fix himself up. You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half”(100), there are two major regrets that Tommy recollects. After dropping out of college, fighting with his family, and bragging about his soon-to-be fame, the thought of going back home with little to no dignity. After changing his name and breaking his family line, running away and getting married to the wrong person, quitting his job and begging his father for money, signs of regret seem to be on the front of his mind, each and every situation where he chose the wrong answer are hanging over him like deadweight, the beginning of his life was a test and now that he has failed he will spend the whole second half attempting to put things back in balance. knowing that if his past were different the man he would soon become would have been a completely different one, this can be said about anyone. How accessible technology is today can give impressions that you must be rich, attractive, smart and so on. By listening to those responses it can impact you as a person. The uncanny ability to take his past and connect it to how things are working for him today clearly were not present.
Conflict is in everyone’s life whether it be good, bad, or life changing will result in how you go about your life. Tommy was struck by many types of conflict, internal more specifically. Losing his job and the love from his father was hard to process, he went from having everything to losing it all in a blink of an eye. When someone loses their job, it is a scary thing because their financial stability is now gone. Stress and devastating news can cause drastic things to happen. “Fifteen grand, though, isn’t too much for a man of your intelligence to ask out of life. Fools, hard-hearted criminals, and murderers have millions to squander. They burn up the world—oil, coal, wood, metal, and soil, and suck even the air and the sky. They consume, and they give back no benefits”. (20); Tamkin likes to make Tommy feel that he deserves the (imaginary) fortune that’s coming to him. In the sessions where they were together they talked about when Wilhelm had money of his own, and the question was did he use it to do good, or was he just like those others who burn up the world, and give nothing back? The conflict is proven to meaningfully interact with the conscience. Someone’s mind can overrule their conscience because of the problems they faced in the past, rejection, disappointment, fear for the future. “What do I expect?” said Wilhelm. He felt as though he were unable to recover something. Like a ball in the surf, washed beyond reach, his self-control was going out. “I expect help!” . . . “When I suffer—you aren’t even sorry. That’s because you have no affection for me, and you don’t want any part of me.” (97), It’s hard to say what makes Wilhelm most upset, the fact that his father won’t share his money, or the fact that his father expects Wilhelm to deal with his problems alone. Wilhelm desperately wants his father’s support, but Dr. Adler wants nothing to do with his son’s troubles and failures. formally saying how the conflict can cause people to do certain things that can ultimately relate now and then, this shows how conflict from 1965 has a huge role especially today since wealth and power is often sought after. Distinctly enough, each and every conflict experienced is a result of the uncontrollable ability of his conscience.
The past can play a big role in the outlook of one’s future, personal debt and a mindset of ignorance will lead to a downfall. This rich classic is able to set the foundation of how someone can go from having everything to nothing. In conclusion Seize The Day is relevant to society today because the themes it displays, dramatic character development, and intense conflicts are able to connect to the lives of many. In the end it is left unknown that Tommy Wilhelm will find work, visit his wife and kids or resolve things with his father. All that is know is that once he leaves the funeral home, he will forever be a different man.