“Listening to One's Heart in Paulo Coelho's by the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept”

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“Listening to One’s Heart in Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept” A person’s action is always influenced by several factors. One thinks about the option one really wants; after that, is the time in which he thinks about how it will affect his surroundings, whether it will soil his reputation, and whether it goes against his morals and beliefs. Every action has to have a reason, because an action from instinct is perceived as foolish. Society taught people to control their actions, and its policies instill fear of reclusion and pain, thus filtering out the true wishes inside peoples’ hearts. In result, a person could not live his life, but merely follows a substitute that does not threaten him. A person who wishes to truly experience how to live should trust his instincts and not examine its consequences.

In Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept, his protagonist, Pilar, is first portrayed as a woman of logic. She weighs her options carefully before she makes them. She clearly had requirements, a kind of restriction, for people that she will allow herself to love. Pilar said, "So we should love only those who can stay near us.” This manifests her fear of being left by another person. As the result, she misses out on the opportunity to love fully and unconditionally, which is a part of experiencing life. “For years, I had fought against my heart, because I was afraid of sadness, suffering, and abandonment,” Pilar had said. She is afraid of experiencing true happiness, for fear of what sacrifices it asks for in exchange. But as she travels with her childhood friend, she slowly transforms, leaving her fears behind, and accepting happiness in her life. With it, she earns her courage: to welcome the suffering that may come with it, to experience life along with its ups ad downs. By listening to her heart, she becomes more mature, and not foolish like what the society advertises. “That's why you don't ask—you...
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