According to Duff Brenna, “All literature shows us the power of emotion. It is emotion, not reason, that motivates characters in literature.” This means characters in literature are instigated to follow their true emotions instead of their own sanity. Characters follow their hearts rather than their minds, which is usually the reasons behind their actions. This is true as demonstrated in the two novels To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.
Atticus Finch is a lawyer known to be the most honorable man throughout the small town of Maycomb and is a paragon towards his children in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird. His name becomes shamed once he takes the challenge to defend a falsely accused black man guilty for rape against a white woman in the harsh and racial times of the 1930’s south. A con in this situation of defending a black against a white is the sacrifice of being looked upon as disgraceful, and even threatened to be killed along with his children. Atticus a strong believer in justice, courageously steps forward to defend this black man, even though he can already foresee the negative outcome. This case is considered to be a despicable act, but still Atticus fights for his defendant with all his efforts. Atticus knowing the consequences of the situation follows his beliefs over the peer pressure and degrading whispers of his fellow town people.
In Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, the main character Ethan Frome is known to put others before himself. He is a married man until death does his part to a bitter sickly women name Zeena. His life seems to go downhill when he develops feelings for his wife’s cousin name Mattie, Zeena claims to be sick, and is experiencing money difficulties. Mattie gives Ethan a sense of pleasure that allows him to feel wondrous and loved. Ethan later finds that Mattie shares the same mutual feelings and fantasizes about his gravestone being next to Mattie’s. Zeena suspicious of Ethan’s feelings...
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