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East Of The Mountains If Suicide Was At Odds With His Life, Why Did He Consider It?

955 words - 4 pages

Sopheatra KhievAn Old Man's Journey The novel East of the Mountains by David Guterson is not about a boy or alien but an "old" man's struggle with terminal colon cancer. "Suicide was at odds with the life he knew, at odds with all he understood, of himself and of the world"(58). An old and retired heart surgeon, Ben Givens seeks to put all of his memories behind him and commit suicide. His plan was to hang himself and make it appear as if it was accidental. Since, the novel was 277 pages long, it was apparent that suicide was not going to come easy. Ben's chance encounters are not coincidences but events used for convincing Ben to reconsider suicide. The novel was exceptional because ...view middle of the document...

Guterson ties chance encounters by using Ben's movement out east to explore the beauty of the landscape. The beauty of the eastern landscape shines brightly in East of the Mountains. The significance of Ben's movement eastward of Seattle was really to enjoy the beauty of the landscape that existed on that side of the mountains. Guterson stated, "the apples hung in the late-dry sun, the leaves stirred in the wind. The green orchards were cool and inviting around the dun-coloured sage lands" (103). In contrast to where Ben lived which was the cold rainy days of Seattle and the vast surrounding of forests, Ben moved eastward to explore the beauty of the fields of sage, fruit and vegetable farms irrigated to a field of green. This was a place he grew up in and perhaps this is what made it so beautiful to him. Another Guterson use of imagery is, "east of the snow-covered crests of the mountains the sky lay almost clear of cloud; save for a few last spectral wisps of vapor floating beneath the chill points of the stars, one's view of the heavens was unimpeded" (2). Again, Guterson elites the fact that the eastern side of Seattle is so much more beautiful than the west. The west symbolized lonely canyons and boring seasons. Conversely, the east was more of a "heavenly" place with apples hanging in autumn light. The most important aspect Guterson incorporate s the relationship between man and nature. ...

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