Common Theme

Common Theme

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Literary works have life changing messages hidden within their pages that have the power to teach a lesson. During the second half of the school year, we studied a myriad of novels and plays, however, despite their differences in plot and characters- the works had an overall theme in common. Each work discovers and characterizes the global theme of hope differently.
     In The Lottery, the characters disagree with a deadly ritual but follow it because they are afraid and will be chastised. At first there is some resistance from the family who gets the black ticket but in the end there is no confrontation. The characters never collaborate and join a team to do anything against the tradition but they hope that one day the town elders will understand how ludicrous this act they hold so dearly to their hearts is.
     A Catcher in the Rye, a novel explaining the nadir of an esoteric young man, depicts hope because Holden Caufield is stuck in a world of his own that he wishes to get out of. In the beginning of the novel, Holden tells Mr. Spencer that he feels stuck in his own world and that he wants to break away but can’t bring himself to do it. Holden hides his craving to be a part of the normal world by saying that everyone is phony. He hopes that one day he’ll be accepted and understood by the world for who he is. But Holden takes this theme to one more step; he gets help at the end. Holden sees a psychoanalyst and in turn he courageously looks in the eyes of his problem.
     In Death of a Salesman the theme of hope is ascertained through Willy’s strive to achieve the American Dream and to treat his family with valor. Biff demonstrates this theme by hoping that one day his family will cherish each other and be proud of him like they once were. Arthur Miller wants his readers to understand that if they work hard at something it can sincerely come true. If Biff and Willy put aside their differences for just a moment and talked things out- devoid of getting irrational they would have been back to normal. What the father and son pair doesn’t realize is that they both hope to get along with each other but they never speak about it so it doesn’t occur.

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     In both Cannery Row and Of Mice and Men the common thread of hope is identically darned. In both works by John Steinbeck, the theme of hope is shown by the characters skirmishing against their environment. In Cannery Row the boys, the rough and tough crowd that bunks together, along with the rest of the townspeople wish that one day they’ll be productive like Doc. The residents start to get jobs and make a living to help achieve their dream. Just like Holden, the people who live in Cannery Row are trying to do something with themselves than just hope that their dreams would occur. In Of Mice and Men, Lennie and George hope that one day they will be able to own a bit of land that they can take care of. They do not save a lot of money so when Lennie dies the dream goes with him.
     The essay that we read in Walden relates to Jonathan Livingston Seagull because hope is explained by Thoreau and lived by Jon similarly. They both hope that one day beings will set aside what is accepted to follow their unique dreams and to make a difference. Thoreau lives in the woods to reach enlightenment so that he can better understand the world. Jon strives against what is accepted in his society to find a deeper meaning of life. Both hope that whoever reads their story will strive for something better and make a difference in the world.
     Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” In the seven novels that we studied, the main idea that all the works have is hope. The author wants his (or her) readers to understand that nothing is capable of being done if there is no hope present. This universal theme has made me understand that humans by nature are stubborn, hardly act upon what they feel, but always have one thing in common which is hope. Hope is the common thread that binds not only these books together but all of human kind.

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