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Emmett used to be a good student in school until Dwayne's death during the Vietnam War; it was a turning point in Emmett's life. Emmett joined the army voluntarily because he wanted to comfort Irene by taking revenge for Dwayne. "I felt I owed something to Emmett because he'd gone over there for my sake." (171) But good deeds don't always work well. During the war, Emmett was poisoned by Agent Orange and had to cope with a bunch of physical as well as mental illnesses for the rest of his life. Emmett was discharged after he came back from the war. He used to live with Irene before she married Larry and moved to Lexington. However, Emmett was so considerate and did not want to be a burden to Irene. He showed his love for his sister by sacrificing himself in the war and being happy for her in her new marriage.
Emmett hid his love from Anita because he thought Anita was too good for him. All the lingering effects he got after the war made Emmett keep a great distance from Anita. He though it would be a tortuous relationship if Anita married him, because they might not be able to have sex and start a family properly.
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After reading Dwayne's diary, Sam could not accept the things that her father and Emmett had done in Vietnam and she decided to run away. Emmett was so nervous when Sam ran away because he was afraid that Sam would get hurt or commit suicide. He went to Cawood Pond to look for her immediately. When Emmett knew that Sam was mad, he was willing to tear his wound open which he could not face since he came back from Vietnam. Emmett tried to explain his situation to Sam and hoped she would understand and forgive him.
Besides Irene, Anita, and Sam, the three most important people in Emmett's life, he showed his love for his fellow veterans as well. It was such a painful experience for him to see his buddies die when they were in Vietnam. Throughout these ten years after returning to the U.S., he still was not able to face the fact that his buddies died. Emmett is full of consideration for his friends. Although he did not like dancing and socializing, he still participated in the Vets dance because he did not want to disappoint his buddies. Because Emmett is a very good friend, he always gained respect from his fellow veterans in return. During the dance, there was a fight between Earl and Pete. Emmett settled the fight and both of them seemed to respect him. Also, Emmett was willing to spend a lot of time with his friends. He habitually ate breakfast at McDonalds with his old friends.
Emmett has a generous and loving personality which I think most people need to learn from. Nowadays, most people judge each other only by their appearance. The one who dresses well, looks pretty and wealthy, is more likely to gain admiration than the one who looks ordinary. How many people are willing to learn a person by heart and discover their beauty? Although Emmett isn't good looking, his sympathetic heart towards others is more precious than anything else. He places others' needs before his which not many people do. I think Emmett is definitely the prettiest person in the novel and a model of true beauty.