Analysis Of Denis Lehane's Mystic River

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At the heart of every great story, there is a great storyteller. Denis Lehane is one of these great storytellers. In this 2001 novel Mystic River, he recounts the story of three young boys after a horrific event (). The consequences of that terrible incident change the lives of the three characters Jimmy, Dave and Sean forever. Many of the characters in the novel fall into a cycle of dumb violence and revenge. Take Jimmy as an example. First, he kills a character by the name of Just Ray and then he kills his childhood friend Dave for reasons he believed were just. Dave himself kills a pedophile, because he thought it was the right thing to do. In Mystic River, Lehane demonstrates through the actions of the characters that revenge, often claimed…show more content…
Just Ray and Jimmy started out as friends, but Ray “ratted” Jimmy out (Lehane 360). While in jail, Jimmy missed the last months of his wife’s life. After leaving jail, Jimmy swore to take his revenge on Just Ray. Jimmy liked Ray and before taking his life he said: “I was crying too hard. That’s how pathetic it was. [Ray] was blubbering, I was blubbering” (361). We can clearly see that Jimmy didn’t want to kill Ray. Jimmy knew what he was doing was wrong, but he justified his action by saying that he had to kill him on “Principle” (Lehane 361). Lehane is trying to show that revenge is often hidden under the guise of justice. Lehane is saying that in reality, there is no justice in revenge. The murder of Just Ray also led to a cycle of violence. Ray’s kids grow up with lots of resentment and they develop behavioural problems. In turn, one of Ray’s kids murdered Katie (375). Ray’s murder created a cycle of violence that led to the murder of Jimmy’s own daughter. In some bizarre way, Jimmy prompted Katie’s death. Lehane shows how violence only leads to more violence. Consequently, Jimmy’s revenge was selfish and his revenge only produced more
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