Wave Watcher by Craig Alan Johnson and the play Antigone by Jean Anouilh

Wave Watcher by Craig Alan Johnson and the play Antigone by Jean Anouilh

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Death is a very delicate subject to most people. The details involving a discussion about death most certainly include some topics to be discussed in this comparative essay. People all die for a variety of reasons, be it for an honorable reason, a coward reason etc. Whatever people die for, after they go away, almost always the consequence is the same. After someone’s death, the loved ones, cry and suffer, and might even do something more tragic. Louie is a young talented boy with a different view of the world, but also, he is disabled with a series of health problems. Louie one day sees a little girl drowning and decides to go and try to save her, in the process of saving her he ends up drowning himself. While, Antigone is a young intelligent girl, who at times is very selfish and immature, and one day decides she wants to die, and therefore commits a series of “crimes” in order to be punished with the death sentence. In the novel Wave Watcher by Craig Alan Johnson and the play Antigone by Jean Anouilh, Louie and Antigone die for totally remote causes, but their deaths result in the consequences.
In the play, Antigone, one of the main characters, dies for selfish reasons. In the play, Antigone dies because she wants to die, contrary to Louie, who dies to save someone else. Antigone is selfish and immature, and only thinks about herself. Throughout the play, the main topic is about Antigone and her thirst for wanting to die, inventing excuses and pretexts for having to die. Creon, Antigone’s uncle, tries to understand why and to whom Antigone so desperately wants to give her life away, and on this excerpt he asks, “ ‘Why are you (Antigone) acting like this, then? To impress other people, those who do believe in it? To set them against me?’ ‘No.’ ‘Not for other people? And not for your brother himself? For whom then?’ ‘No one. Myself.’ ‘You really want to die then?’” (Anouilh, 35). By reading this quote, the reader can see two main things. First, the reader can observe Antigone’s desire to die. When Creon asks you really want to die then?, he is asking a rhetorical question, that is because he already knows the answer as should the reader. The second thing that can be observed, is that Antigone herself admits the reason behind her wanting to pass away.

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‘Not for other people? And not for your brother himself? For whom then?’ ‘No one. Me.’ This dialogue explicitly shows Antigone’s motives for wanting to go six feet under. Antigone unlike Louie, dies for herself and her own problems.
In the novel, Louie dies not for himself, but for someone else to live. Louie is a very charismatic child but he is born with defects such as only having one lung. These defects of his shape who Louie is, and mark his uniqueness, both mentally and physically. He has a very different perspective of the world and different opinions of what is correct and what isn’t. An example of this, is of the sea gull incident, when Louie sees a hurt sea gull, and orders his dad to stop the car and goes take care of the sea gull so it won’t suffer anymore. Louie also has a different view then Antigone towards death, in the novel, it’s written, “She told us how she had kept slipping off the board and that the little boy put the Velcro strap from his Boogie Board around her wrist and made sure that it was tight… she described how the little boy made her promise not to let go of the board… She cried as she showed us how the little boy had tried to get back on the board with her but couldn’t.” (Johnson, 133). When the little girl is describing what happened, Louie (“little boy”) is already dead, and what the girl is explaining is how he saved her even though it meant he would die. There are many clues that show that Louie sacrificed himself for the girl, contrary from Antigone who sacrificed herself for no one, it says the little boy put the Velcro strap from his Boogie Board around her wrist, and also, the little boy made her promise not to let go of the board, Louie sacrifices himself by giving the girl his wrist strap, and by making sure she was secure in the board before he climbed it. Also, contrary to Antigone, he doesn’t ask to die, nor wants to, dying for him in this case was a consequence he was willing to have happen with him, while Antigone wants to die, and dying is the priority for her. In the novel, Louie is brave and courageous and once again, proves his uniqueness in sacrificing himself in order to save an unknown girl.
Like in Louie’s story, after Antigone dies, someone else sacrifices themselves for her. Antigone is Haemon’s fiancé in the play, and both are deeply in love. So when Haemon hears about Antigone being condemned to death, he becomes desperate. He pleads to his father, King Creon, to revoke his decree of killing Antigone and threatens him. Haemon, still so young, still with a bright future in front of him, but so full of love, Haemon opts to sacrifice himself for Antigone. The messenger tells Creon, “ He stared at his father, his eyes black with passion… and drew his sword… Haemon looked at him, his youthful eyes full of contempt… and without a word plunged the sword in his own belly. Then he lay down beside Antigone, embracing her in a vast red pool of blood.” (Anouilh, 57). Haemon sacrifices himself for Antigone, not that he died to save Antigone, but passed away because he couldn’t tolerate to live without his love. He loved Antigone, and like Louie’s father, Haemon died for love, his eyes black with passion, this passage exhibits, Haemon’s love for Antigone. This passage also gives the imagery of Haemon dying for Antigone when it says and without a word plunged the sword in his own belly. Then lay down beside Antigone, embracing her in a vast red pool of blood. After interpreting this quote, it can be affirmed that after Antigone’s death, Haemon sacrifices himself.
Similar to Haemon’s sacrifice for Antigone, Louie’s father, also sacrifices himself for Louie. Louie’s father is very conscious of Louie’s disabilities but nevertheless, he still pushes Louie to try his best and be good at what he does, for example in swimming classes. His’ father in a way is proud of Louie for being such a warrior in midst of so many problems. But still, he is very aware of Louie’s disabilities and always reminds Ray to never take his eye of Louie. Louie’s father loves Louie very much and similar to Haemon with Antigone, has promised Louie that he would always be there to hold Louie. Ray says, “ ‘He drowned because he couldn’t use his legs,’ I heard one of them say… But there was more. I knew so because I was looking at my father. He hadn’t used his arms, either. He hadn’t even thought of using them… My father didn’t use his arms… because they were both securely wrapped around his baby boy.” (Johnson, 134). Louie’s father gave his life away in order to try and save Louie and keep his promise. Of course Ray’s father loves Ray very much, but Louie is his baby boy. Louie’s father loved him so much, he drowned just to be able to hold Louie in his arms. Like Haemon loves a lot Antigone, Louie’s dad also does, and like Haemon, he loves Louie so much, he loses his life in order to be with Louie.
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