An Isolated Man

November 15, 2012

I got into the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” on Netflix. It’s not that great, but it’s interesting and well-written, with some interesting characters.

The one who resounds with me is Richard Harrow. For those of you unfamiliar, he was a sniper in WWI and at some point had his left eye shot out and the left side of his face and mouth severely damaged. He wears a sort of half-mask mounted on a pair of glasses to cover it. He meets one of the main bootlegging characters, Jimmy Darmody, at a veterans hospital and becomes a killer for him.

Harrow is isolated from others by his facial deformity- I was reading recently people have a sort of programmed reaction to this, like they would to a person with a contagious disease. He’s also isolated by his experiences in the war. But more fundamentally, he seems to be the sort of intellectual, introverted person who has difficulty with the constant phoniness of human interaction. In the end he is left with no purpose but to fight for his friends, criminals though they are.

At least he has some friends.