The other day I wrote about narrative arc, positing that a famous, mega-selling author eschews the literary cornerstone. His protagonist, Jack Reacher, never changes, and readers, especially women of a certain age, love him.
But Jack Reacher is fiction, and Ethan Couch is not. There is a creature of no narrative arc in fact, blatantly flaunting American ideals in a bloated life of entitlement.
Ethan Couch’s demoralizing life saga began at birth (according to court records, his parents have checkered histories, so both nature and nurture are flawed), turned sideways during a over-spent youth, and then twisted horribly in June 2013, soon after he got a driver’s license.
Though Ethan was experienced, driving since he was 13. When the head of the school questioned the practice, his father threatened to buy the school. How do authorities buck that?
In June 2013, he stole two cases of beer from a Wal-Mart (remember, he’s rich) and drove his father’s red Ford F-350 wildly and thoroughly drunk. And the world soon knew his name like none other.
Four people were killed in a severe crash, when this self-deluded teen did himself and society a bad favor by drinking and driving. Other passengers sustained serious bodily injury and the kid feels no blame, blemish, or fault. In fact, his defense attorneys (yes, plural) argued that Couch had ‘affluenza’ and needed rehab instead of prison…in an in-patient facility that was somewhat plush, as expected for a kid whose family was flush.
Some readers have wondered about Brandon Breeden, the coddled kid of my book, STASHES. He characterized the Entitled Generation with whom we live. His narrative arc was befuddled by the fact that he didn’t earn his parent’s esteem with the good deed, and he felt entitled to his self-esteem.
Yet Brandon’s prize vehicle was only a red Ford F-150. And, he would have tested negative for Affluenza…
The Breeden family and their friends live in central Michigan, where auto manufacture and agriculture forged a reliable middle class. STASHES is set in the fall of 2009 when unfortunate real estate loan practices gutted the American Dream. Many people of that area and era would have tested positive for poorlio…
Back to Ethan Couch, who undeniably would have been better if he’d lived his life as an entitled couch potato rather than getting behind the wheel of a car. After a mini-vacation, that violated his probation, currently he and his mom are jailed.
Stay tuned. We novelists can’t make up stuff better than this. Ethan will be treated to a tv movie or two, donchathink?
Ain’t that rich?!