By Soumya Kulkarni, Regular ContributorNovember 2, 2015
“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” -Maya Angelou.
image via theguardian.com
Words, and art in general, fling their barbed hooks into our souls and hang us up by clothespins. Art is an imitation of life, and death is part of life.
In my opinion, seeing death in art is not to be morbid or to embrace death but to learn to appreciate life
-every good chef knows that the best way to make a dish sweeter is by adding a pinch of salt. I wanted to share with you two character deaths that are the most meaningful or impactful to me. *Beware of spoilers!*
Beth in Little Women
I love, love, love Little Women so much, because it is a perfectly honest and raw story of four sisters and how they grow up. Although the book was written in the late 1800s, all of the female characters are strong, independent, and very real. I read this book for the first time in 5th grade, and Beth dying was the first intimate death I had ever read. What struck me was the stillness and tranquility that surrounded the whole event. Louisa May Alcott chose to expand on how Beth’s death affected others. The adieu was even more difficult, because throughout the book, Beth is the character that loves life and appreciates every little thing.
Beth finds peace at the end but leaves her family, and ultimately the readers, to reexamine our lives.
Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
This one is an obvious one- I mean, come on! I am a huge Harry Potter fan, and I grew up reading and becoming very much attached to the character of Dumbledore. Dumbledore is the kind of person you can’t help but liking- he’s wise, kind, and always has everyone’s best interests at heart. Plus, he is an important paternal figure in Harry Potter’s life. Even today, people look up J.K. Rowling’s character for guidance and advice. His quotes are plastered over walls, in picture frames, and t-shirts everywhere. I think Harry Potter is a great example of something that just grows on you.
Dumbledore has come to become a part of all of us, and it was painful watching him go.
There are, of course, so many, many more than just these two: Lennie in Of Mice and Men, Neil in The Dead Poet’s Society, not to mention the endings of The Book Thief and the Divergent series… The point is, it’s always hard to say goodbye to a literary character. But, the story of their lives should inspire us to live a little, go on crazy adventures, and make the best use of the time we have.
What character deaths have made lasting impacts on you? How have characters inspired your life? Tell us below!
Soumya is a high schooler from the Midwest. In addition to writing, she loves chess, reading good books, chocolate, tea, new cities, and Harry Potter. She hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams as she embarks on her own journeys. Find her at her personal blog, ifturquoisecouldtalk.blogspot.com or tweet her @soumkulkarni.
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