Compare the revelation Ruth has at the end of "Come Out the Wilderness" with Candy's at the end of "Christmas Eve at Johnson's Drugs N Goods."

Both Ruth in "Come Out the Wilderness" and Candy in "Christmas Eve at Johnson's Drugs N Goods" realize that they lack meaningful connections with their fellow human beings. Although Ruth seeks such in her relationships with men, she does not find any, and she comes to understand that those men are just as lost as she is. Candy feels cut off from her parents and reaches out to a fellow employee, seeking any acceptance she can find.

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By the end of James Baldwin's "Come Out the Wilderness," Ruth has realized that although she feels lost in her life in the midst of the city and in the midst of her unstable relationship with Paul, men like Paul also feel lost in their lives and in themselves as they try to navigate the world around them. She realizes this as she looks at a young man in a bar who resembles a former boyfriend. She sees his sorrow and understands that he is lost and in pain, just "roaming the world" looking for someone to shelter him and never finding it. He reminds her of Paul and of so many of the men she has known. As Ruth leaves the bar, she also realizes that, like this man, she does not know where she is going.

Candy also comes to a realization at the end of Toni Cade Bambara's "Christmas Eve at Johnson's Drugs N Goods." Candy has spent her Christmas Eve working at Johnson's store and watching for her father to come to visit her (although he never arrives). She and the other employees observe and interact with two women, Ethel and the one Candy calls "Fur Coat," who both amuse and repulse everyone in the store with their antics. Candy also recalls her past experiences, the relationships she has with her family, and her impressions of the other employees.

By the end of the story, Candy realizes that her father is not coming and that she will spend her holiday with only her aunt and uncle. Her mother might call from the road (she is a traveling singer), but there will be no real meaning in their conversation. Candy knows that she has lost her connection with her parents and that while she is not completely alone in the world, she lacks the love she needs. At the end of the story, she agrees to go to a Kwanza celebration with a fellow employee, figuring that he is a nice person and reaching out for any connection she can find.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 22, 2021
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