The Game of Life

             Stephen Crane’s “The Five White Mice” is a story of chance, a game, and the unpredictability of life. A game is defined as: “A way of amusing oneself. A set of rules completely specifying a competition, including the permissible actions of and information available to each participant.” Life resembles a game in various ways. Both a game and life are governed by a certain set of rules and specific challenges that arise throughout. These rules place boundaries as to what can or cannot be done. One of the challenges that arises is learning to play or live within those determined rules. Because rules are made and not chosen, some win and some lose. Initially the act of playing a game was to entertain. It allowed those in rural areas to socialize while at the same time provided many whom lived in the big cities a chance to escape the stress of everyday hustle and bustle. But is it possible for recreation to change a person’s character and instead of being a part of the game, allow life to become the game itself?
             The story begins in an American bar in Mexico, where several men are entranced by gambling. These men have become oblivious to the entire outside world to which they make no mention. The “outside world” is everything apart from the game itself. The game could therefore be played outside the bar and yet still have an “outside world.” This proposes that a new world can be created when the outside world and the game coalesce. The game takes control of them like a fever. The narrator says it “…afflicted a man with a stroke of dice shaking.” “Then violently the cravings took them. It went along the line like an epidemic and involved them all.”(F.758) Something in or about the game caused these men to leave reality and enter the world they created. A world in which was developed by abandonment of the outside world. It certainly did not seem to be the strain of their environment, for...

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The Game of Life. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:56, December 08, 2016, from