The Pact

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The Struggle Within |
Jodi Picoult’s: The Pact|
By Rayna Crawford|
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“I can’t imagine loving someone so much you’d do anything they asked. Even if that happened to be murder.” (384) Murder is never acceptable, but in Jodi Picoult’s novel The Pact, Picoult explores ‘murder/suicide’ from a different point of view, love. Jodi Picoult discusses what happens when one is faced with an evil that is unfathomable and how one reacts doing things one did not considered before. Picoult demonstrates the emotional struggle one faces through her characters: Christopher Harte, Emily Gold and Michael Gold. Christopher Harte faces a struggle within himself. Does he help the girl he loves kill herself, or does make her hold onto the life she doesn’t want, to please himself? As Christopher Harte took the gun from his dad’s cabinet, he realized: “He could not let Emily kill herself. When you’d been with someone your whole life, you could not imagine living in a world that did not have her in it.” (283) Chris’s world revolved around Emily, he had known her all his life and now the realization of possibly losing her has made him question if he was going to have a future without her. Emily had been a part of Chris’s life since birth; he could not picture a world without her in it, because there had never been a time where she wasn’t a part of his life, “‘he realized that if Emily was dead, there would be no reason for him to be alive.’” (334) She was his life, without her, he saw himself as nothing. As the night progressed into what would become the night of Emily’s death, Chris realized that if he truly loved Emily, he would help her give her what she wanted, death; “When you loved someone, you put their needs before your own. No matter how inconceivable those needs were; no matter how fucked up; no matter how much it made you feel like you were ripping yourself into pieces.” (327) Chris knew it would hurt losing Emily, but he could not stand to see her in pain. He would do anything to put her out the misery the depression was causing. He had tried to change her mind but she wanted to die and he knew he would have to help her do it. Having Emily die was not what Chris wanted, “Either he let Emily have what she wanted more than anything, or he let himself have what he wanted.” (326) Emily wanted to die, Chris wanted a life with her. He wanted her to live but he could not stand to see her in the pain that the ‘incident’ had caused leading to her depression. The thing was, “He could stand pain himself. He just couldn’t stand hers.” (372) He could not watch her suffer because not only would she be hurting, but he would be too. Emily left Chris alone in the world when she committed the act of suicide even though he had taken part. Chris was angry, “‘she said she loved me. When you love someone you let them take care of you.’” (229) Emily had been selfish, Chris loved her more than anything and he had done everything she had asked for, he was there when she killed herself, he even held the gun. Taking part in her death was the last thing he ever wanted, but he did it for Emily. Chris did not understand how he had done everything he possibly could for her but she did not do the same, she did not choose to live.

Emily Gold faces a battle within herself; she is faced with depression and desire not to disappoint her parents and her boyfriend – Christopher Harte. Telling them the real reasons as to why she is depressed; she thought it would destroy her relationships and inflict pain on the ones she loved. The struggle leads to her death. Emily Gold’s depression was triggered at a young age by the ‘incident’ when she was molested by ‘the creep’ in McDonalds; “He pushed her against the door, barring anyone else’s entrance. Holding her hands over her head, he slid his hands up her shirt.” (179) No one knew about Emily’s trauma, she bottled up what had happened, not even telling Chris. Keeping this event to herself led to a...
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