Characters from different sources of literature can often be linked together and seem to have the same feelings, background, moral standing, or struggles. They may experience the same hardships, driving them to suffering, which other characters in literature encounter. In the book Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee, the main character was told from the age of seven the hardships she would encounter in her lifetime (Mukherjee 3).
Pecola, from The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, experiences rape by her father and the miscarriage of their child. The main character in “Barn Burning,” by William Faulkner, deals with a father that ruins his life and the struggle to stop his father from burning buildings. These character experience hardships throughout their lives. They live with the rejection their lives have given them and try to survive in the world of injustice by themselves.
Each story starts with the character’s family and group identity. Jasmine lives in India with her parents at the beginning of her life. She later moves to the United States to escape hardships. Sarty from “Barn Burning” lives with his poor and rejected family moving from place to place. His family has been rejected by society because his father would not stop burning buildings when he got mad at the people he worked for. Pecola lived with her poor family as well. Her mother was gone most of the time and her father would get drunk almost every night before coming home. She was moved out of her house for a little while until her family could pull themselves together and provide a suitable place from her to live in. In each piece of literature, the character starts with family, a place to call home, people who accept them, and a place of the same race and nationality.
Do government programs influence family life? Some of these programs are Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. These programs have changed family life not only in a positive way, but also in a negative way. These programs are targeted at giving older citizen some form of money or medical care, while other programs are geared at taking money from the working class. Yes, government programs do ...
As the stories progress, each character experiences their own desire for better; they have found something that will better their lives. As they struggle to gain their prize, hardships string into place to hinder their path. Jasmine must overcome the death of her husband to get to America. She must also find her way illegally into the country and settle somewhere suitable. When a man helps her into the country, she is very grateful, but the man rapes her. She kills the man, “the human form beneath it grew smaller and smaller” (Mukherjee 119), and escapes to finish the job she had set out for. Sarty also wants to escape the life he has at the beginning of the story. He wishes to get away from his family and go somewhere safe and sturdy, instead of the insecure life his father leads the family into. His family tries to stop him though the story; “Better tie him up to the bed post” (Faulkner 2060) his brother says when Sarty is about to stop his father from burning down another building. Pecola only wants to have blue eyes throughout the book, hence the name. She wants the blue eyes so that people will not look down at her. She believes that the blue eyes will somehow make her a better person than she was before.
In all three stories, the characters must experience suffering to get what they want. Rejection follows their suffering to make things worse. Jasmine must undergo the death of her husband before she goes to America alone. She is raped by Half-Face when she reaches America, but manages to escape. She is rejected by most of the people she meets because she is from India and not American like them. When she does find people from India, she does not seem to fit in very well. America had changed her and she could not fully go back to the person she was before she left. Sarty experiences this same exile. From beginning to end, he and his family are rejected and exiled from the towns they come to. Sarty must abandon his family to ever escape to the freedom he wants. He overcomes his father and may have even gotten his=m killed by the farmer they worked for. He realizes that he is alone when he leaves in the end, but he is happy that he had the opportunity to do so. Pecola was raped by her father, one of the most painful things that could ever happen to someone. The people around her reject her; they won’t even look at her anymore, “We tried to see her without looking at her, and never, never went near…we avoided Pecola Breedlove—forever” (Morrison 158).
According to Henry James, characters are only as interesting as their responses to particular situations. The character s response in the two short stories I have chosen is the reason I chose them. In Jack London s To Build A Fire and Edgar Allen Poe s The Tell-Tale Heart the character s reaction to each situation leads the reader to read more to find out what happens next. It is interesting to ...
She thinks it is because she has blue eyes; they are so pretty they don’t want to look at her eyes. At the end of the book, she is portrayed as crazy or out of her mind, “She, however, stepped over into madness” (Morrison 159).
Although all characters started with a family or group that loved and cared for them, the characters ended in a little less than they had expected. They had a desire; Jasmine wanted to go to America, Sarty wanted to get away from his family, and Pecola wanted blue eyes. Each character gets what they wanted through a strong moral struggle, but at a cost close to their lives. Jasmine had to pay by being raped, widowed, and outcast; Sarty had to pay by rejecting his family and running away; and Pecola had to pay with her sanity, innocence, and being rejected by her friends and the people around her. It is sad the way the characters must suffer to get the things they want, but it shapes who they are. Sarty became independent and not afraid to express his feelings. He learned to stand up for what was right. Jasmine learned how to be a better person. Her experiences made her stronger. It’s a struggle to become who you want to be. Even though you try your best, it may not always be what you expect.
Faulkner, William. “Barn Burning.” The Norton Anthology: American Literature; Shorter Fourth Edition. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1979. 2050-2062.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Pocket Books. 1970
Mukherjee, Bharati. Jasmine. New York: Grove Press. 1989
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