Themes and Meanings
Throughout the story, Ambrose tries to comfort himself by thinking of a future time when he will have conquered his adolescent fears and solved his sexual conflicts through marriage and a “normal” family life. At the same time, however, he fears that he really is different from other people. In his precociousness he knows that he thinks more easily than he acts; that he articulates his perceptions within his own mind more lucidly than he converses with others; that he is intellectual, analytical, and introverted; that he is more of an observer than an actor; and that it is quite possible that he will not marry and live what he perceives to be a normal life.
The question that Ambrose must answer is clear to him. It is expressed in the first sentence of the story: “For whom is the funhouse fun?” The answer he gives is also clear: “Perhaps for lovers.” For Ambrose, though, the funhouse is a place of “fear and confusion,” as he tries to make his way through it. He knows that he could make funhouses, could create them for other people to enjoy, and he thinks that his future is already manifest: “Therefore he will construct funhouses for others and be their secret operator—though he would rather be among the lovers for whom funhouses are designed.”