RICHARD DOORLAND : Girlfriend in a Coma
“My mind flashed to abortion and as quickly flashed away. No. This baby must be born.”
-Upon hearing about Karen’s pregnancy Richard made a courageous choice be a father. This was the start of a long road that built up his responsibility and dedication to Karen and his daughter. It was also the ray of hope for Richard to improve his life.
Desires, Worries, Fears:
Desires: “I asked Karen, who was also trying to gauge the impact of what we’d just done together in the woods, if she was happy.” “It’ll be called a Mcneil?”
-Richard was really trying to be tuned in on Karen’s happiness. The second quote refers to after he hears about the pregnancy and that the child will be a Mcneil. Despite being onfused, you can feel the heaviness of disappointment in his inquiry, and that he wants to be something for the daughter early on.
Worries: “Mrs. Mcneil”—(oh God)---“has eagerly volunteered to take charge.”
-Not only is Richard worried about Karen’s coma and prophetic dream, but then he has to anticipate the upbringing of his own daughter under the control of Karen’s mother, who may have lead Karen towards the half dead state for the sake of a few lost pounds.
Fears: “I thought of Karen in the intensive care unit and I felt as though I was a jinx of a friend.”
-Richard’s gone through the experience of losing someone before, granted Jared and Richard had grown apart by the time Jared passed away, but Richard is at the point of fear where he starts blaming himself and comparing and thinking that Karen will end up like Jared.
“Until Jared vanished, I had thought my life average. You might look at me and ask me to baby-sit your children or coach them in baseball… …but I was left every day with the sensation that I wasn’t doing a good job at being… me.”
-Richard was an average nice guy, reliable and trustworthy. In his yearbook someone commented that he was the only one to pick up trash in the smoke pit. But he viewed himself as somewhat fake.
“She might even live to see the year 2100. She might save the world. I tapped the window, said “Goo.” She looked at me and then I was hers. It was that fast.”
-Such a beautiful scene. This part empowered Richard and gave him motivation to raise Megan, even if he only had little to do with her. Until the birth, Richard had been lacking any drive to go forward, and so Megan was like a light switch.
“Lois was definitely changing for the better, though I didn’t entirely trust her motives. Lois wanted the baby---as if it were her own.”
-Richard’s main conflict is between him and Karen’s mother over the baby in the first quarter. Despite knowing that he has no choice, the way it’s written we can tell that Richard does not approve of Lois’s shallow mothering.
“Also Richard, could I ask you a favour? Could you wait for me? I’ll be back from wherever it is I’m going. I don’t know when, but I will.”
-From Karen’s letter, we see that Richard is extremely loyal for her to put her wishes like that. And he does wait for her, which is the noblest part about him, besides stepping up to the plate when he becomes a dad.
In the beginning of a book one can only scratch the surface of a character, only see the tip of the ice burgh, miss the momentous potential. The conflicts become clearer, their motivations more complicated, their views more elaborate and extravagant, and their desires, worries and fears more intense. Richard Doorland, the prominent character of the first quarter in Douglas Coupland’s “Girlfriend in a Coma” is at the beginning of the journey. While he does have simple applications of all these devices, the best is yet to come. He’s just beginning to change and see the world in a new light. Through Karen’s coma he falls into a pit very early, the type where he doesn’t think he can get out. Then Megan is born, but even though he tries to become a father to her he still cannot become stronger. He still lacks the resonance of motivation to become the hero. It is similar to the beginnings of Bilbo Baggins’ adventure, when he is still despairing about the journey itself; when the character lacks motivation and the more complex changes they become foggy. The reader must wait to see what they become.