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The saying ignorance is bliss is something society has come to accept as true. However, Mary Morris’ “Lifeguard,” uses this saying ironically, as ignorance becomes horror. The following is the anticlimax that ignorance has brought about.

Sally Spencer, who’d once dug her nails into my arm during horror movies of my youth, now did so again. “you’re a Lifeguard,” she said matter-of-factly. “you’re supposed to know what to do.” But I’d done everything I’d been trained to do, and nothing could bring Becky Spencer, her mouth gaping in a silent, breathless hole, back to life. (430)

The dark comedy of this short story is not of just the narrator’s own inexperience with life and death, but rather the communities. As they are content not knowing or talking about the tragedies so close to them, such as the death of Billy Mendel. They find it sickening and even outcast those that do understand the pain of knowing, in the case of Mrs. Lovenheim. Only to be trifled by the very tragedy they tried so hard to ignore, and saved by the person they outcast. It’s this tragic irony, that surrounds the anticlimax, that makes it clear that ignorance is not bliss.

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