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 menti
758) Nor did it appear that these men were trying to escape from any horrible circumstances because none were relevant enough to be disclosed. The game takes control of them like a fever. But often in a game we don"tmt know what"tms in the opponent"tms hand either! The kid was willing to lose his life in order to win an honorable death, but the whole thing had been a game. 768) As he envisioned the "Frisco kid telling the story to everyone he began to glorify his own death. No longer were these men simply escaping one world, they were creating and entering another. Clearly the actions of the men had developed into an inappropriate stage compared to when they first entered the bar. The desire to gamble alone had become an obsession, showing the progression of intensity from the love of the game to the obsession of the game. 766) Basically, no way out! Crane also shows the New York Kid"tms vulnerability by disclosing how alone he feels. The New York kid hesitated because he was playing for the highest stake ever - life. The change of environment from the bar to the outside world is not significant because the infections of the game are within and don"tmt go away. The game was proven to be too intense. The desire to obtain victory, whether in life or a game, can change a person.