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Characters in Townies by Andre Dubus

            A traumatizing childhood further complicates the already difficult process of maturing. In Andre Dubus's "Townies," Mike's inability to properly integrate himself into society stems from the disturbing event of his father committing suicide. Wandering throughout town, Mike, unlike Robin, appears alone for he has no one to confide in; his only true friend is the cool metal rim of the beer can. All around him, the world has changed and everything has evolved; however, Mike has remained a boy. Reflecting, "All his life this town had been dying" (365), Mike fails to recognize that, contrary to his belief, his town has in fact matured and transformed into an environment of higher learning and he is the one dying. Mike succumbs to a life of poverty and hardship as he aimlessly leads himself and those around him into the gutter. No loving mother or father could save him from his self-destruction, as he does not have anyone to look after him. Merely greeted by "the old vulnerable breathing of night and dreams" (364), when he steps into his home, Mike appears to have been abandoned by all. As a result, his craving to be accepted and fear of abandonment ultimately begins to control his life. .
             While sitting at the bar with Robin, Mike realizes he will soon be abandoned by yet another loved one. Broken and alone, Mike solemnly notes, "In her eyes she was already gone" (365), conveying that once again he finds himself alone because of the highly educated and success driven individuals which the college attracts. He subconsciously accepts that he will never be as important to the world as they are. As a vital figure in Mike's life walks away, the pain of losing his father resurfaces. Mike no longer has an intimate relationship or an individual who struggles with the same drug related issues as he does. Filled with anger and "the singular focus that [comes] from being drunk and sad at the same time" (363), Mike lashes out, killing Robin and ultimately subjecting himself to a life of misery and emptiness.

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