Who are they now? In 'who am I this time', I believe the author is try to tell the story of how two wandering souls had found each other through the strangest of circumstances. The two main characters Harry Nash and Helene Shaw both have trouble communicating with other people. They have a hard time dealing with society and they can not handle personal relationships very well. These two
Harry and Helene are each, in their own ways, wanders of life. They seem to keep moving aimlessly through their days.
It's the same boring routine every day; there is no excitement in their lives. They seem to avoid doing anything new because they are complacent in their narrow views of reality. They only feel comfortable with each other. Harry roams in and out of acting rolls and Helene wanders from city to city. They are never able to sit still long enough to decide who they are. Once they are done with a job, it is on to the next, with a chance of finding themselves anew. Harry would always leave right after he was done acting. Before anyone could tell he would wander off. He would never stay long enough for the cast parties partly because he couldn't take praise very well and he didn't feel comfortable around his peers. He would just drift off. They did not feel comfortable in any one situation for an extended period of time.
Perhaps a good reason for this might be that they lack positive self-images. It is because of your ego that people act the way they do. Harry and Helene are very quiet individuals. They are not the least outspoken. They are hermits in modern society, as recluse as they can be. "He never could think of anything to say or do without a script", and she could only speak for a machine (Vonnegut, p.882). They did not have individual identities. They were never who they seemed, always someone else.
Because they lack egos, they both need direction in life. Both of these characters are indecisive. They must be told what to do and ultimately, how to act. Helene takes orders at work like what to say and where to live much like the machines she works with. Harry also takes orders at his place of employment. He has been a clerk for a long time and has never shown the desire to take on more responsibility. He would rather be submissive and do what he is told to than have to be the boss and make the decisions. The only time they seemed to have any life in them at all, was when they were being told who they were. That was when they came alive and escaped their lifeless worlds. Then they could mingle with the rest of society and not be noticed as strange. According to Vonnegut Helene felt she was "always a stranger" (882).
Harry Nash and Helene Shaw are two simple people who are not well adjusted to the outside world. They can only get along with each other alone. They stay away from the prying eyes of society because they would rather not be noticed at all. These two social outcasts do not need praise and kind words to make them happy. Because they are wanders in life it is hard for them to sit still and make something happen and see it all the way through. There was never to be a long-term commitment expected from these two characters. They will just keep drifting along in life until something comes along because they will not reach out and go for it. Being outspoken is not in their nature. This is because they lack positive self-images. They can not see the good in their own selves. Harry and Helene are always being told what to do. They must be told what to do because they need direction. The reason they do well in acting is because they can just read the script and everything will be okay. But just as you get to know them, they fade away. Who will they be next?