One extremely striking quality about the main character Leonard Shelby, also known as Lenny, was his false sense of purpose and heroism. Even after he got his so called “revenge” against the two men who apparently raped and killed his wife, he wasn’t able to find the closure he wanted. Instead of trying to move on his life, he created an unsolvable puzzle that he would never answer. He set himself on a path that would frame him in a somewhat Herculean image rather than the broken, lost and angry widower he truly was. Even after we find out that his wife was killed by an insulin overdose, just as how it was in Sammy Jankis’ story, we can see that Lenny has completely disillusioned himself from the reality that his wife merely died due to conditions beyond his control. He created a world in which he could somehow save her; a place where avenging her death could bring him and his wife peace and he wouldn’t have to live with the insane guilt. He created a John G., a reason to go on living. Unfortunately for the John G.’s of the world, Lenny wasn’t content with finding just one.
He turned himself into a detective, a crime fighter, a kind of superhero. The problem with this was, even after the threat was gone, he couldn’t let go of that mindset. He couldn’t face the fact that maybe, just maybe, he was the guilty one. When he found out that he killed all those people and committed all those sins and wrongdoings, he still wanted to go on this same path. I guess it was easier for him to play the hero than to face the fact that he was actually the villain in his own life. His own poison; sucking the life right out of him and putting himself on a dangerous, murderous and never-ending path to unhappiness and discontentment. The world Lenny dreamed up in his head became a sanctuary for him, a fantasy where he could do terrible things and forget them the next minute. This false sense of purpose and heroism destroyed him. It turned him from the innocent, loving and caring...
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