Online Journal 7: Analysis of the Short Story ‘Eye Candy’
There will come a time in the life of every individual wherein they get to reflect on where they currently are in their lives. People often tell themselves certain things in order for them to feel secure. But then again, there will be moments in life, that unfortunately, will make them realize the lies they have been telling themselves their whole lives. It is where guilt, envy, regret, desolation, and greed may come into place. The short story Eye Candy is a story that is quite entertaining to read because of its riveting writing style and its way of depicting its characters. Its characters were presented in such a way that makes the story easy to picture and imagine.
Eye Candy follows the story of a middle-aged banker, Maya, in a restaurant as she waits for her husband’s arrival. The story shows her perspective of her surroundings, and it takes the reader on quite a tour of Maya’s mind. The story takes place in a classy high-end restaurant with soft piano music playing in the background and a wrought iron chandelier as a centerpiece. “It is a place where wives of diplomats spend their time and where ladies kept their backs straight and their legs crossed the whole time,” as Maya likes to put it. As it says in the synopsis, Maya is a self-righteous person, which is evident in the story. This sums up the totality of her character. She is a conformist; she follows a set of rules in her life in the hopes that this will assure her of a happy, contented, and balanced life in especially in her retirement. In the story, she described how she is obsessed with things being organized, putting things in columns implying that she has certain standards. For her, her standards are on point. She is a keen observer and notices many details in her surroundings. This is to the point where she is not just observing but judging things and people as well. She is ambitious and does things not because she has to. Maya is strategic and always had a reason for her everything she does. Most of the time, the goal is for her to gain an advantage over people. This makes her a people pleaser. In the story, she described how she relates to co-workers, praising them for simple deeds and always doing little meaningless things. She is so self-conscious that it matters to her what other people think about her. She cares so much about her physical appearance that it took her so much time to decide to get something else other than the salad, but in the end, she still ends up ordering it.
After a while, her true feelings as well as her conflicts in life were revealed. When she started to focused on the couple, there was something inside her that was stirred and disturbed. As she processed her thoughts and feelings, it is revealed that she had been telling herself that her life is great, but in reality, she is miserable and discontented with her life and her relationship with her husband. At the time she watches the events happening around her, she started questioning her life choices. The irritation she felt seeing how the couple displayed their affection to one another, in a way, is the representation of how she is longing for affection from her husband. The distaste she felt is the result of her unhappiness and yearning to break free from the norms, which are the standards that she has set for herself. This is the conflict, Maya struggling to accept where she is in life and Maya denying all the lies she has been telling herself. This makes her question everything.
Maya is a dynamic character. The author spent a great deal of time presenting to the reader who Maya is, how she reacts to her surroundings, and how she questions herself by reassuring herself that her choices were right. The character of Maya and the others, such as Andrei and the witch, was felt and seen as the reader goes through the story. Maya is also a concrete character. She was conflicted inside when she saw how the May-December couple was acting. Her true feelings were revealed when she allowed herself to even think about how the couple might be spending their time in the bedroom. This was a gesture that showed her weakness as a character. Her transformation came at the end of the story when she kissed her husband in front of so many people. It was not just a simple kiss. It allowed her to loosen up even just a little. For once, what other people thought of her did not matter.
The story tells us that in life, we should not be confined to the standards we set for ourselves. There is nothing wrong with conforming to the norms, but it should not be to the point where we hold back our desires and feelings. The story makes us think about what can make us happy, whether it be our ambitions or the simple things in life. People should make choices that make them content happy. Be wise and live life with no regrets.