So much for the short story. Modest in its pretensions, shyly proud of its petite virtues, a trifle anxious in relation to its brash rival, it contents itself with sitting back and letting the novel take on the big world. And yet, and yet. That modest pose — am I mistaken, or is it a little overdone? Those glancing-away looks — do they contain a touch of slyness? Can it be that the little short story dares to have ambitions of its own? If so, it will never admit them openly, because of a sharp instinct for self-protection, a long habit of secrecy bred by oppression. In a world ruled by swaggering novels, smallness has learned to make its way cautiously. We will have to intuit its secret. I imagine the short story harboring a wish. I imagine the short story saying to the novel: You can have everything — everything — all I ask is a single grain of sand. The novel, with a careless shrug, a shrug both cheerful and contemptuous, grants the wish.
But that grain of sand is the story’s way out. That grain of sand is the story’s salvation. I take my cue from William Blake: “To see a world in a grain of sand.” Think of it: the world in a grain of sand; which is to say, every part of the world, however small, contains the world entirely. Or to put it another way: if you concentrate your attention on some apparently insignificant portion of the world, you will find, deep within it, nothing less than the world itself. In that single grain of sand lies the beach that contains the grain of sand. In that single grain of sand lies the ocean that dashes against the beach, the ship that sails the ocean, the sun that shines down on the ship, the interstellar winds, a teaspoon in Kansas, the structure of the universe. And there you have the ambition of the short story, the terrible ambition that lies behind its fraudulent modesty: to body forth the whole world. The short story believes in transformation. It believes in hidden powers. The novel prefers things in plain view. It has no patience with individual grains of sand, which glitter but are difficult to see. The novel wants to sweep everything into its mighty embrace — shores, mountains, continents. But it can never succeed, because the world is vaster than a novel, the world rushes away at every point. The novel leaps restlessly from place to place, always hungry, always dissatisfied, always fearful of coming to an end — because when it stops, exhausted but never at peace, the world will have escaped it. The short story concentrates on its grain of sand, in the fierce belief that there — right there, in the palm of its hand — lies the universe. It seeks to know that grain of sand the way a lover seeks to know the face of the beloved. It looks for the moment when the grain of sand reveals its true nature. In that moment of mystic expansion, when the macrocosmic flower bursts from the microcosmic seed, the short story feels its power. It becomes bigger than itself. It becomes bigger than the novel. It becomes as big as the universe. Therein lies the immodesty of the short story, its secret aggression. Its method is revelation. Its littleness is the agency of its power. The ponderous mass of the novel strikes it as the laughable image of weakness. The short story apologizes for nothing. It exults in its shortness. It wants to be shorter still. It wants to be a single word. If it could find that word, if it could utter that syllable, the entire universe would blaze up out of it with a roar. That is the outrageous ambition of the short story, that is its deepest faith, that is the greatness of its smallness.
In Macbeth, Shakespeare sets the themes of seduction, ambition, and deception amid a correlating backdrop, whether you are giving chase on a battlefield, standing in foul weather, or seeing apparitions of bloody daggers we sense danger from the opening act....
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Macbeth quotes in fear “Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings; My thought, whose [Duncan] murder yet is but fantastical,… If chance I will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir.” (Shakespeare 1.3.145-150)....
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One reason why the dream to become an astronaut was so easily broken was because I didn’t have a strong enough desire to become one. Why would there be so little astronauts if it was so easy to become one? It isn’t. It is very difficult and some people are just not born to become one. It takes much perseverance to accomplish a goal. I believe that perseverance decays when the ambition drags on for too long when the desire to accomplish it is weak. A catalyst that speeds up this process of giving up is fear of something. It can be the fear of consequences or the fear of death. My uncle’s best friend discovered that he had a terminal disease. The doctors said it would take a lot of perseverance, confidence and time to have a chance of recovering. At first, he was very confident in himself and believed that he can do it. He went to every appointment and did everything the doctor told him to. As time went by, his will started to diminish. He would still go to the appointments, however, he didn’t listen to the doctor’s recommendations of what to avoid eating. After a while, he started to accept his fate and not combat his fear of death. Today, he is lying in an emergency room, and accepting death.