Farrell, James T. "To Whom It May Concern".
The protagonist is Ernest Cobat, aged 40, sitting in a New York hotel and writing his diary. Describes his attempts to become a novelist instead of a script writer which he is now, intends to turn from scribbling to writing something of literary value.
Seems to seek a way how to become a recognized person: before trying is hand at novel writing, he tried to enlist in the war to become a hero, but was refused because of his age and shape.
He is discontent with his life (wrote too many lies he did not believe) and with the world (though the war is paradoxically likely to increase his profits), misses anything to believe in.
Accidentally meets Catherine, his ex-wife, tries to seduce her but fails. Writes the first chapter of his novel, thinks it brilliant but the next day realizes it is worth nothing and tears it to pieces.
Calls to accept the job of script writing which he refused several days before. Returns home.
- theme: middle age crisis against the background of WW II
- incapability of a middle aged man to change the stability of a well paid but unsatisfying job for the risk of novel writing
- guilty feelings of a man who earns his money on the unfulfilled dreams of unhappy people
- the world and the people inwardly torn by the war
- reality of life substituted by the dreams provided by films
- motifs: the protagonist's fascination by his skin and organs, gastric ulcers, and drink
AuthorFarrell, James Thomas. (1904 - 1979).
Full Title"To Whom It May Concern".
First PublishedIn: More Fellow-Countrymen. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1946.
Farrell, James T. "To Whom It May Concern". (1946). In: An Omnibus of Short Stories. NY: The Vanguard Press, 1956.