Posted by: Fabius Bile | January 5, 2010

The Light of Emotion

Wilhelm’s “No Light in The Window” made for a very enticing read, exploring the usefulness of emotion and the study of reactions that would be “safe” for prolonged space travel. Of course, when it was published in 1963 prolonged space travel was still a far fetched idea, only seen in the minds of the imaginative. Of course, it still is to some extent, though we have slowly made strides towards that goal. Wilhelm tells a story of a married couple preparing for this possible journey, and the story really separates into two parts, the husband and the wife’s experiences.

Of course no real divide exists, but the reader’s mind divides their experiences. As the plot unfolds and the tension of being selected for the journey unfolds, Connie and her husband Hank react incredibly differently. Connie takes on what could be called a stereotypical woman’s role, as she has emotional outbursts, or concerns, and yet can keep herself controlled so long as she has some emotional output. Hank on the other hand stays stone cold, keeping all of his thoughts and emotions bottled up, or what could be seen as a stereotypical male. This of course brings up the issue later as to which one of these mindsets will in fact be successful.

It would seem to be expected that keeping calm and withdrawn on this extensive journey would be imperative, but as is revealed at the end of the story, Connie is in fact the one who will be going, for exactly the reasons she feared she would not. This story really illustrates the advantages of being able to cope with emotions in an outward way, or having a sort of window that allows you to vent your pent up emotions. Hank is the figure that becomes an example of no light being in that window, and is inevitably left behind as being pent up in such a way is of course much more dangerous for later breakdowns than having the occasional emotional outburst. This story really illustrates a sort of superiority of this mindset that would generally be female, so in effect, expressing the superiority of women.

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