Themes and Meanings (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
“Crazy Sunday” is a story about the interrelationship of illusions and reality (or make-believe and actuality), of the difficulty people have separating them, and of the confusion of identity that results. Because the story’s characters work in a profession that creates and markets illusions, the problem of personal identity is heightened and the thin line between acting and being is blurred. On Sundays, when they are not making films, they are thrown into the challenge of coping with the world of actuality. Because it is psychologically frustrating for them to contend with real problems of fidelity, jealousy, illness, and death, they tend to extend their work week and to find faith in the profession itself, to live in the office of creation. Their weekend lives are staged at parties in theater-like mansions. However, they are vulnerable: Miles is marked for death, Joel has a problem with alcohol, and Stella verges on hysteria with her insecurity.
Miles tries to turn his artistic creation, Stella Walker, into his real-life wife, but he cannot cope with that step in her transformation. Stella, with Miles’s death and the loss of her creator-director, believes she cannot manage and pleads for Joel’s support. Joel does not accept the real plea for help from Stella, for he still sees her as the little gamin whom Miles turned into a star.
Another theme in “Crazy Sunday” is the coexistence of the characters’ glamour and emotional instability—Miles’s psychological confusion and weariness of mind and body, Stella’s insecurity amounting to complete dependence, Joel’s drinking and naïveté. This dark side is also evidenced in the coarse makeup of the film extras and the rummies who write the film scripts. The fact is that these are necessary accompaniments to the dream world they produce for the public and in which they themselves are caught.