The Joke is a short story written by Roddy Doyle. The story is told by an omniscient narrator, and it is told from the male protagonist’s point of view. The story is about a nameless man who is trying to find the point of his thoughts. He remembers how his marriage used to be and how his wife would sit on his lap, how they would watch the TV together. But now he claims that if he leaves his wife, his wife would not care. He does not know what has happened to this marriage or partnership as he refers to it. He is in doubt and he is angry. In the story, he likes to tell his wife a joke and make her laugh like the old times. But he is nervous and does not want to seem desperate, because then he is worried that they would drift even further apart. He also fells very unappreciated.
Characterize the main protagonist: He is a anonymous man who seems to very confused about his life and marriage, He is married and has children. He is going bald. He claims that he still loves his wife. He is very eager to have his wife’s attention although he says otherwise. He is sick and annoyed of everything. He doubts everything; he is not sure what he wants or what his point is. He is also very unhappy, that is why he tries to tell his wife a joke. He believes that his marriage – or partnership as he calls it – is a “give and take” kind of thing; he has to give something in order to receive something. The protagonist does not develop much during the course of the story, because he has not found out what he wants. In the end, it is not clear whether he tells his wife the joke or not.
Comment on the title: The title is the Joke” and the joke the protagonist wants to tell his wife is “What’s the difference between a good ride and a good shite?” But I believe that the real joke is the protagonist’s behavior and thoughts; he does not know what he wants or if he wants anything at all. He keeps changing his mind during the story’s course. The title could also refer to the fact that it takes a silly thing as a joke to be the solution of something as important and serious as a marriage – because the joke he might have told could be the start of their communication.
Write a short essay about how men and women communicate: Men and women both have very different ways of communicating, that’s because they are also different mentally and physically which also plays an important part in how they see and understand things. This can cause problems between the two genders as is sadly common today and probably always has and will be. They operate in each their own way and expect the other to understand what they want, even just out from bodily gestures which are unfair to the other because of the differences. Most of which would be easily avoidable if people talked more together rather than expecting the other to understand meaningless gestures, a fault both genders share.