Initially, both Charlie Farris and Philip Bannister begin the novels with their own troubling patterns that affect their overall lifestyle and relationships with others. In the novel Final Things, Charlie begins as a father and loving husband who lives with insecurities about himself and his poor repetitive habits. Charlie is a recovering alcoholic who continues to ignore treatment for his addiction. Charlie’s habits before his son was born was to resort to alcohol only in stressful situations, and when Charlie has a son, Jonathan, he is more effective at controlling these inclinations. When taking care of Jonathan, Charlie tries to conceal his urges to resort to alcohol when he is faced with challenging parenting situations: “To soothe his irritation, Charlie drank a few cans of beer, though he felt more like whisky. But he was childishly eager to remind Jonathon that his father was no longer a drunk. When it came for the boy to walk to the variety store, Charlie was almost glad to see him go” (Final Things 6). As can be seen, Charlie is better able to control his troubling patterns now that he has the responsibility to take care of Jonathan. However, when Jonathan was younger, Charlie experienced a rough patch in his life and resorted to alcoholism. Charlie understands now that Jonathan has little respect for him because of these habits and he also recognizes the relationship between Jonathan and himself is all but gone. Charlie is attempting to repair this relationship by serving as a better role model for his son and controlling his damaging habits. Similarly, Philip Bannister in Tourists, has unhealthy habits that he tries to control through living a bland life. Philip has a negative perception on the world and believes that everything and everyone hates him. He begins the novel as viewing life as living hell, and these tendencies stem from his unstable childhood. Philip’s father did not love him and his mother died in childbirth. Because of these things, Philip decides that the world hates him, and he is forced to move in with his aunt who he does not respect. Often, Philip expresses his displeasure and depressed state of mind about life: “In mundane we must find out contentment or perish unsatisfied, for the dramatic life is an unhappy life” (Tourists 77). Evidently, Philip has witnessed many problems as a young child, such as alcohol and narcotics addictions, which have contributed to his negative perception of the world. Philip also reveals his displeasure of social interactions, which stem from his unhappy childhood. However, Philip’s tendency to view life as living hell does not take a significant toll on his lifestyle in the beginning of the novel. Hence, each protagonist begins the novel clinging to unhealthy tendencies that will ultimately impact their lives and the ones of those around them.
Both protagonists in the