Wade's Affliction

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The character Wade Whitehouse from the book Affliction by Russell Banks is very complex. To properly analyze his character one must take into account all aspects of his personality. To do so we must break down any information we may find about, the character’s background information, describe his personality, determine any changes to his character during the novel, and how he has affected fellow characters.

First, we must look at the major factors that influence the character such as: background of the town, the family relations and early life experiences that have dramatically affected the character. The town of Lawford is a rural community in New Hampshire having no natural resources for economic strength. Due to this poor flow of money the town lacks simple services and recreational facilities and therefore does not attract many tourists. Those who do visit the town are either city comers using their families’ cottage as a weekend getaway, or deer hunters traveling through because of the thriving wild life. The only success story is a local man named Gordon LaRiviere who owns a well drilling company and the boss of Wade and many other men of this town. Affliction is set in a winter scenery and throughout the book the weather is gloomy “ the sky clear as black glass” (6 Russell Banks). The weather becomes a direct reflection of the attitudes of the characters.

Now we must discuss Wade’s dysfunctional family background. His father was a severe alcoholic who regularly abused each family member. Once drunk, he became extremely violent and could not control his anger. Wade’s mother, although very loving, could not protect the children because she herself feared her abusive husband. On many occasions she had also been abused so she tried to avoid any confrontation at any cost. Wade had four siblings, two older brothers Elbourne and Charlie, who were both killed during the Vietnam War. Wade also had one younger brother Rolfe, who left town for college, and a...
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