The Bus to Veracruz is a guiding educational short story written by Richard Shelton. This story revolves around the realities of a human life; His birth, his willingness to live a life. The author Richard Shelton in his short story The Bus to Veracruz suggests that a person comes to this life unknowingly and has difficulties to adjust with it. He’s supported by angels and good people to achieve the goods in life and afterlife. Adjusting to the inconveniences of life can be challenging for most people until and unless they have someone to guide them. Life is full of positive and negative experiences that everyone has to face. Disappoints are part of life but so are hopes as wells. According to the author, even after a lot of hurdles and facing so many experiences in life, every human being eventually makes his/her way to their final destination.
A person comes to life unknowingly about it. He/she doesn’t know what it looks like, how to speak its language, and even its people. Richard Shelton shows this point at the very beginning of the short story. “At any rate,… prove I exist” (423). It is so difficult for a person to be in a new place to live in. He/she is like a newborn child in this new place. He/she is put in a situation where he/she might face different kinds of difficulties. He/she might find a hard time communicating with people around him. His life will become difficult and daunting because of not being able to communicate with people. An Example from my life experience, the first days that I spent after I had come to the States, were the worst days for me in the States, because I came to a new place where the culture and tradition are totally different from where I came from. I didn’t speak the language used, and the weather is the opposite from where I came from. A person has to adjust with life and its difficulties in order to live in this life. Not only does he point out that people can get through the difficulties of life, he even encourages readers whom it is possible for just about everyone to adapt to the inconveniences of life.
When a person is in a new place, he/she has hard time, at first, to adjust with it. When time passes, he/she will be more comfortable with it or start to get used to it. Richard Shelton writes, “The Nausea from… by the floors” (423). This basically emphasizes on how the narrator dislikes the place he lives in. The narrator is undoubtedly disappointed and disdainful about his surroundings. He adjusts with the necessities of living such as food and drink but he has to find his way to adjust with the floor (the place he lives in). As a person is new to this world and he/she does not know anything about it, he is not used to anything. He/she needs time to adjust in this world because there are many things that are considerably strange for him/her. To adjust to a new place, a person needs a hand to take him/her guide him along the path where he/she is supposed to be on. The narrator’s hopelessness at the beginning of the story that he has no one to support him along the way reflects this point.
A person is supported by angels and good people to help him/her to adjust with life’s difficulties and to get to the right path. This gives hopes and optimism in life and reaches people to the paradise in the afterlife. Richard Shelton uses Rafael and Esteban to represent angels and good people in life who help others to find the right path that is full of hopes and optimism produced in this life. He describes this path as the road to Veracruz and mentions it as if everyone wants to go down this path. Rafael and Esteban are described and portrayed as angels, “They are young… handsome.” Every person helps each other to live life. Some cause happiness while others offer support. People in this world are born to achieve their goals and they get support in achieving their goals. They can’t remain standing all by themselves, so they need support and help to proceed in their life and get success. They work hard to fulfill their wishes and to reach their destination. They also work in this world to make their afterlife better. So they are working to achieve their goals in lives, the present and the life hereafter. Along with explaining how people need the support of others to successfully live this life. He also expresses how every human being is dependent on each other.
There are also some disappointments in this life, but there are more hopes and optimism too, which make a person produce more and be more efficient in order to reach his or her goals. Richard Shelton tends to point out positives in life in different places in the text and limits its negativities. He uses the woman, who works in the post office, and the other woman, who sent letters to the narrator, to describe the positives in life. The first woman is described as always smiling, very delighted, having great enthusiasm, and having a friendly apparition. However, she is, also, described as an old woman “whose bright red-lipstick… teeth.” The other woman was a source of happiness to the narrator. “Even the life’s… at one time” (424). He basically points out that the positives and negativities in life are balanced out. Even though these supposed ‘love’ letters this woman wrote were not addressed to the narrator, he rationalizes reading them by imagining that the man to whom the letters were written has probably died. Despite of the fact that the woman is middle aged, the narrator finds immense pleasure in reading her letters, almost as if she was his lover. While reading her letters he even visualizes her appearance and presents a portrayal of her appearance. “She is blond… far from old.” He even dreams about her. There is no doubt that he gets a sense of contentment and satisfaction whenever he reads a letter from her. Thus these two women reflect the only positives in the narrator’s life.
This story revolves around the realities of a human life; His birth and his willingness to live a life. A person comes in this world unknowingly and it takes time for him to adjust here. He needs someone to help him.
Gradually, he works to achieve his goal and angels and good people are there to support him. He finally reaches his destination. Life is merely a journey. By destination the author probably means the end of life, the destination where every human being eventually has to reach. Whatever experiences a person goes through on the course of this life, whether positive or negative, are meant to prepare him for that destination. In fact, these experiences not only prepare them for the end of their life but the life hereafter as well.