Mystic River

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“The death part you do alone, but I could of helped with the dying” –Jimmy. This is a story about friendship, betrayal, and murder. The setting for the story is Boston, Massachusetts. Not the Boston of Cheers, MIT, or Charles River luxury apartments. The Boston where the story unfolds is called “the flats.” The river in which the story evolves is the Mystic River that flows through the flats. The river could tell many stories of human tragedy if only it could speak. It is a neighborhood of lower income, lower social-status white people, who live in tenement type apartments, just above the poverty social welfare level. The three main characters in the story are Jimmy, Dave, and Sean. They all grew up in the same neighborhood in which Jimmy and Dave still live. Subordinate characters, although not primary focus, are integral to the story. Brendan and Deaf Ray were two sons of “Just” Ray Harris, who had also lived in the neighborhood. Brendan, Deaf Ray, and their mother have continued to live in the neighborhood after the disappearance of “Just” Ray, husband and father. The focus of this tale is Jimmy and Brendan, although having grown up in the same social environment possesses significantly different morals and values.

Jimmy and Brendan both grew up in the same neighborhood. They shared the social values of a blue-collar lifestyle that had changed little since Jimmy’s youth. Brendan is the young man who is depicted as thoughtful and caring. He assists his deaf-mute brother by signing so communication can be established. Brendan is the love of Jimmy’s daughter, Katie. Jimmy also shares these traits of thoughtfulness and caring to his daughters and wife. He is an especially loving father to his oldest daughter, Katie whose natural mother died of cancer. The death of Katie, on the eve before she and Brendan planned to elope to Las Vegas to be married, sets in motion a series of events which illuminate and intensify the character and moral fiber of...
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