A Look at Walter Von Tilburg Clark’s Short Story “Why Don’t You Look Where You’re Going?”

January 26, 2017 General Studies

Out on a vast no man’s land, you are voyaging speedily through the unknown coordinates. As far as you can see there’s nothing, just the waves of the flat sea. All you can hear is the loud noise of nothing. For miles around there is not another vessel. As you speed ahead, something catches your eye out in the distance. It is too far away to tell what it is; yet it is there. Under these conditions, how will you react when you find what it is?.

As your fast vessel is moving closer to the unidentified object, you realize it is another vessel, which is small and insignificant to yours and the surroundings. Your quickly moving vessel does not change its course, as you come upon the smaller vessel. It frantically tries to move quickly out of the way to avoid being crushed under you, but its power of movement does not suffice to your own. As you both narrowly miss each other, you are confused and outraged. You are confused at the fact someone else is out in the vast region and outraged because they interfered with your trek. As you look back, the other vessel is fraught with the struggle of adjusting after the wake of your passing. Then he says, “Why don’t you look where you”re going?”.

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Your feelings towards him are tempered and you are enraged as he says these very words, yet you are wondering the same thing. You were going peacefully and he got in the way. “Why should I move?” you ask yourself, “I had the right of way!”.

Now, put yourself in another scenario with the same settings. You are out in the same wide-open ocean. You are calmly going wherever the wind may take you. You are just out enjoying the tranquility, exactly at nowhere. Then in the distance something catches your eye. What is it? It’s coming quickly; it gets larger and larger with every second. It is a huge vessel coming your way; there is no way to move. You struggle to get the wind to fill you sail and propel your ship out of harm’s way.


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