Robert Cormier had written a cautionary short story, President Cleveland, Where are You?, where he raised an important issue about self-sacrifice. The short story is set in a small town during times of the Great Depression. Cormiers literary piece is based on the story of its main hero and protagonist an eleven-year-old boy Jerry who faces the difficult choice. Thus, the boy should give preference to his family over his friends. Therefore, it is considered to be a very difficult decision for the young hero, but he has coped with it. The writer in President Cleveland, Where are You? depicted the struggle between a strong desire of receiving something and giving joyfulness to the native person. Jerrys fondling hobby is collecting cards that whether or not became the key issue in his dilemma with family and his capture. At the beginning of the story, the protagonist is an immature child who puts his desires above all other things. However, Cormier made Jerry a dynamic character that becomes gradually more and more a virile person. Thus, in the short story President Cleveland, Where are You?, Jerry represents a selfish and perplexed child that changes under different circumstances, thus the young boy learns an important lesson of life.
Jerrys family struggles with hard times they faced, but it is not the only family in the town that makes ends meet. In spite of familys lack of money, an eleven-year-old boy spends capital whatever he wants, and his major desire that is represented in his hobby is buying presidential trading cards. Therefore, Jerry shows himself as a selfish child who does not take into consideration lives and needs of other members of his family during such hard times. Thus, collecting cowboy cards takes all the young boys time, and became a kind of mania, I too was obsessed with the cards, because they had become things of comfort in a world that had suddenly grown dismal (Cormier, 1980, p. 26). For instance, Jerry is truly disappointed when he recognizes that his favourite cowboy cards are no more available at stores. This event is like a catastrophe for the child, because his life revolves around trading cards with friends. However, new presidential cards appear, and Jerrys life again makes sense, The President cards were a roaring success, and the cowboy cards were quickly forgotten (Cormier, 1980, p. 25). Nevertheless, this hobby symbolizes an addiction that involves an innocent person into its strong snares.
Jerry is even more immersed in his delusional world of cards when he denies giving Armand money to buy a present for their fathers birthday, Look, he said, its Pas birthday tomorrow. I think we ought to chip in and buy him something… he replied, Aw, come on, I protested. I havent got a single Ken Maynard left, and I was going to buy some cards this afternoon (Cormier, 1980, p. 23). The young boy gave his older brother a little part of his earnings for the reason that a strong desire to buy new cards has captured him. Jerry behaves as a wise contriver who still finds a way to maintain his obsession. Therefore, Armand chastised his younger brother and gave him a good lesson, which was the catalyst to Jerrys changes and recognition of his own baseness. In addition, this episode affects the narrator of the story deeply enough that the boy becomes a more pensive person.
Read also: “Academic Book Review: How to Complete It”
At the end of the story, Jerry sacrifices his favourite hobby in favor of his family. However, this decision was not easy for the child who first of all was lead by his desires. Certainly, Jerry represents a selfish side of childs nature, but he learns from his mistakes and shows that he can change his way of thinking and take care of others beside himself. At the beginning of the story, the young boy is at his most selfish point, but due to his older brothers deed, he begins to think about his attitude towards the family and its members. Thus, the feeling of guilt begins to prevail over the boys stinginess. Jerry comprehends that his older brother has a certain dignity that he cannot express himself. In this light, Jerry starts compassion Armand, because his older brother has felled in love, but he is unhappy. Ultimately, such Jerrys inner changes lead to his most touching and impressive deed. Therefore, the boys selfless action at the outcome of the short story demonstrates that the child is growing up into a thoughtful person and learns a good life lesson.
To sum up, Jerry from the short story President Cleveland, Where are You? is a dynamic character that is able to think and change. The young boy makes self-sacrifice to carry out the dream of his older brother Armand. Cormiers protagonist does not hesitate in making the choice between friendship with his best friend Roger and Armands dream to win the heart of the girl. Thus, a self-centered boy learns that his own worries can be less important than other people. Therefore, Jerrys sacrifice has a very strong meaning in the story he will not be able to have a second chance to get favored card, just like his older brother will not have one more opportunity to go dancing with the girl he loves. Robert Cormier had written very instructive and strong story about the child who had changed his priorities in favor of his family. In addition, Cormier used an implication by representation in Jerrys character the whole society that should strive for changes.