The Late Twentieth Century: 1960-2000 - Short Fiction

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Explain the narrator's thought progression in Morris Lurie's "My Greatest Ambition".

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This short story captures the coming-of-age or the move from innocence to experience of the narrator, who, during the course of his story, successfully produces a comic strip and then faces rejection before abandoning his dreams of becoming a comic strip artist. At the beginning of the story, the narrator is shown to cling on to his dreams of becoming a comic strip artist. He ignores those that deride his idea and speaks mockingly of his fellow students in class as "dreamers":

There they sat, the astronomer, the nuclear physicist, the business tycoon (on the Stock Exchange), two mathematicians, three farmers, countless chemists, a handful of doctors, all aged thirteen and all with their heads in the clouds. Dreamers! Idle speculators! A generation of hopeless romantics!

The narrator seems to think that what makes them "dreamers" is that they are focusing on a future possibility way off in their adult years, whereas he is working now to succeed in his goal because he is being true to himself. The stereotypical careers listed suggest that his fellow students are not being true to themselves. However, by the end of the story, it is clear that the narrator has given up his goal of being a comic strip artist due to the rejection he has faced. Instead, he has settled for becoming a "dreamer" just like everybody else, with his new goal of becoming an artist. Even though the narrator recognises that there is something wrong with this, he forgets his former goal saying he had grown out of "the only thing that was ever real to me."

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