Every choice comes with a consequence; furthermore, those consequences become more impactful as time goes along. Throughout Black Hole many of the characters experience this exact notion. Dealing with all the struggles of being a teenager, Keith and Chris constantly find themselves making important decisions that result in huge implications on their lives. Charles Burns in his novel Black Hole utilizes characters and metaphors to illustrate the theme of how decisions can ultimately define one’s life, as well as the temptations that aid teenagers in making these poor choices.
It is hard enough being a teenager, but being placed in an unsuitable situation doesn’t help either. Chris and Keith both find themselves in circumstances in which result in them making poor decisions; however, Chris’s decision comes rather early in the text. In “Racing Towards Something” Chris finds herself alone with Rob where she says,” That sounds good but let’s not drink here… Let’s go for a walk.” Here Chris makes the decision to isolate herself with Rob, a boy exposed to the virus in which the book refers to as “the bug”, and suggests they spend some time together at the cemetery. The character Chris portrays with this mindset is one with ill intentions. Unaware that Rob has the bug Chris tries to kiss Rob; however, Rob stops her so that he may inform her of his disease. At this moment Chris interrupts Rob saying, “Shh…I know…I know.” Chris assumes what Rob was going to say, and ultimately this was her biggest mistake. Her own desires clouded her better judgment. Choosing to leave the party and put herself in an environment that was unfitting also contributed to her demise. Her prior actions is what led her to interject what Rob was about to say. Her youth and inexperience were all contributing factors in making the choice to have sex with Rob. Charles Burns manipulates the thinking and desires of Chris to show how one mistake can cost you everything.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas”. Keith is a great example of this because his friends frequently cause him to make poor decisions. In “Bag Action” Keith finds himself visiting this house described in Black Hole as the “Grey house” in which him and his friends are picking up drugs. A lot happens at this house, but nothing more significant than Keith’s introduction to Eliza. Keith wanders into the kitchen in search of some beer when he witnesses this women standing in the kitchen with a tail. Aware of the fact that this woman (Eliza) has the bug Keith makes the choice to stay and converse with her. Eliza begins to make Keith a sandwich and begins to ask him, “Come on, try it! If you don’t like it, it’s no big deal!” Already having been exposed to the bug earlier Keith casually takes a bite. This may not seem like a huge deal, but it speaks a lot about Keith’s character. His willingness to associate himself with people contaminated with the bug are legitimate signs of a person who makes bad decisions. Like Chris, Keith often allows his feelings and emotions to take control of his better judgement. In fact, Keith expresses this lack of self-control in “Out” when he observes Chris injuring her foot on some broken glass. Keith immediately rushes to assists her despite the fact that she has been exposed to the bug. Keith says, “I’ve seen it before…that same dark opening. I was starting to lose it.” Keith is referring to the beginning of the novel when he envisions all these different images in his head; nonetheless, Keith is another example of a character plagued by bad decision making. Charles Burns illustrates how emotions and desires not only hinder a female’s ability to think properly, but also a males.
These characters were victims of their young and adolescent thinking which ultimately led them to making atrocious decisions and defined their roles in society. However, it is important to remember that Charles Burns instinctively used this age group to display how easily a person’s desires and decisions can have huge implications on their lifestyle. Actions define people not only by what they do on the outside, but who they are on the inside. Black Hole is a glimpse of what society is capable of. That decision and consequences go hand ‘n hand like sex and a bug.
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