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“A Desperate Adventure” by Max Adeler Essay

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Updated: Mar 19th, 2020

Max Adeler’s short story “A Desperate Adventure” dwells upon an important issue concerning the life and death. Notably, the author is famous for his “mental pictures” of men and women who make the reader laugh or cry (“Max Adeler’s Return” 7). The story in question contains both components as it seems very sad at the beginning, but it appears to be a positive and optimistic story at the end. It is possible to think of a number of themes, for example, the nature of suicide, people’s values and so on.

One of the major themes of the story is existence of the ‘cure’ for suicide and existence of a person who can help others. The author provides an example of the therapy which can be used to make people forget about suicide. This therapy includes three main steps, which a man effectively uses to help people.

The story opens up with an advertisement which can be regarded as the first step in the theory outlined. The advertisement addresses those who are “bent upon committing suicide” (Adeler n.p.). The author stresses that it is important to understand that the person is willing to terminate his/her life.

It is possible to find out about people’s intentions during discussions and Captain Cowgill, who can be seen as a therapist, talks with each candidate to understand a person’s desires. Interestingly, the author does not retell the discussions and does not mention why Cowgill choose the passengers. At the end of the story, it is clear that Captain Cowgill’s choice is not random.

The second step of the therapy is revealing the reasons for the desire to die. Importantly, to make people think about the reasons, they are brought to a different place, which is “[p]leasant enough”, they are torn from their usual environment (Adeler n.p.). People feel more relaxed and they are ready to share their emotions and their intentions, to unfold their “griefs to each other [sic]” (Adeler n.p.). The main characters tell their stories to each other. They become a bit closer. Their mutual work also brings them closer.

Finally, the main characters start the discussion which helps them understand that their problems can be easily solved. Thus, problems, which seem unsolvable, turn out to be easy to solve. It appears that people who are in the carriage can help each other. Captain Cowgill’s plan works as he chooses people who can solve each other’s problems. Of course, they see other passengers’ problems too meaningless to lead to suicides. The passengers decide to live on and the mission of Captain Cowgill is accomplished.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the central theme of the short story is ability of one person to help people cope with their problems and live on. The short story can be regarded as certain message to those who want to help people and know those who are miserable. It is also a message to those in misery.

The story shows that people can cope with all their problems even if they seem unsolvable. Admittedly, sometimes it is necessary to talk to other people and share problems to understand that life is too beautiful to lose it because of some problems. The story is a very optimistic account which makes people learn a simple truth. People can never give up as their future and their happiness is in their hands.

Works Cited

Adeler, Max. A Desperate Adventure. n.d. Web.

“Max Adeler’s Return to Life.” The Argus 31 August 1901: 7. Trove. Web.

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