Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Extended Essay: Green, Brockmeier, Albom

Rosie Agnew received a Commendation for her thoughtful essay on 'Life After Death' in three books: Looking for Alaska by John Green, The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

She writes: The three novels I chose to study all delve into very different possibilities of the afterlife. As it is an extremely complicated subject, with no simple explanation, it is important to understand how the themes of the novels interlace and intertwine with the influences that govern ideas of life after death. It is very unclear what the basis of a lot of speculations regarding the hereafter is. The most influential force would certainly be that of religion.

The followers of Christianity follow the words of the prophet Jesus Christ, and believe that after we die we go to a place called Heaven, and we become angels. This, however, is only if we have been faithful to God within our lives. If we have not, or if we have somehow behaved wrongly, we may go to Hell. In between these two lies Purgatory and this is where Kevin Brockmeier retrieves the foundations to build his story around. His is possibly the most complicated literary piece of them all; because the story is built very slowly as the reader must take the book chapter by chapter in order to be able to understand it. As each member of the living realm within the book dies, the only people left in Purgatory, or the City as it is so called, are the ones which Laura still remembers. When people we love pass away, we often have a passionate longing to see them again, or, more simply put, we miss them, sometimes for years after their death. A lesson that has to be learned is that we cannot still rely on the dead to comfort us, for they are gone to a different place now, one which we cannot reach without being there ourselves.

Read Rosie's full essay here.

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