Growing up we learn the importance of many different things. Of all these things, we have learned that being accepted into society, forming friendships, and loving someone are very important to us. In Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, “Who Am I This Time?”, we see through the experiences of Helene Shaw that by shutting ourselves off from others around us we can miss out on some of the most important things in life.
Many things are important to us, one of these is being accepted by our society. We all hate to be the outsider or the new kid, because we feel alone and secluded . In “Who Am I This Time?”, Helene Shaw’s job kept her moving to a different town every eight weeks. She became very cold to her surroundings in order to ease the transition from place to place, thus easing the sense of not belonging to the society around her. When she was invited to join the Mask and Wig Club, she was very surprised and excited to have been included into the community. This gave her a feeling of belonging and acceptance.
Another thing that is important to us is forming friendships with others. The brief time spent in each town made it hard for Helen to get to know others. She seemed to slip into her own “protective bottle”, moving from place to place almost mechanically, making it
harder for people to get to know her. By joining the Mask and Wig Club, in North Crawford, she was given the opportunity to open up to others and meet new people, thus making many friends. We can see that by emerging from her protective shell, it was easier for her to get to know the people around her and for them to get to know her as well.
Among the things we have learned to hold important in our lives, is loving someone. In the story, Helen Shaw shut herself off from others so much that when she did meet someone nice she would feel as if she couldn’t touch that person, no matter how hard she tried. The only people she had ever allowed herself to love were in dreams or movies. Once she joined the play in North Crawford, she emerged from her protective bottle and allowed herself to fall in love with Harry Nash, her co-star. She had never experienced being in love before and it was very exciting for her. If she had never emerged from her
protective shell and opened her heart, she may have never experienced love.
From the experiences of Helene Shaw in “Who Am I This Time?”, we see that it is important for us to not shut ourselves off from the people and world around us. By making ourselves open to new things and experiences we will not miss out on the important things in life.