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Richard Russo's Empire Falls, Two Character Analysis

I'm not sure how to start with my paper topic. Anyone who read Richard Russo's novel "Empire Falls," help me out here. this is my assignment.

"It isn't true that there's a community of light, a bonfire of the world. Everyone carries his own, his lonely own." -- from John Steinbeck's The Winter of Our Discontent

"'Lives are rivers. We imagine we can direct their paths, though in the end there's just one destination, and we end up being true to ourselves only because we have no choice.'" -- Mrs. Whiting, Empire Falls

Empire Falls is a novel that expounds upon many various truths. The word truth, in fact, rises to the surface on many pages of the text. Using the quote from Mrs. Whiting above, choose two characters from Richard Russo's novel whose lives make this philosophical claim true. You will argue, specifically, how these lives correspond to, or prove the quote. You will also focus your argument a bit more tightly to conclude that ONE of the TWO characters comes closest to the TRUTH in her statement. Consider the MAJOR events in the lives we see in the book. How do they (the events in the lives) contribute to the truth in her quote? How do these choices affect the other characters in the text? Once again, the minimum word count (there is no maximum) is 1,000 words. You MUST use quotes to provide the evidence for your argument(s).

I have no idea how to start, and which two characters to choose and argue. Someone please help me!!

Solution Preview

You can start by referring to the philosophical background of the statements of both Russo and Steinbeck, and thereafter go and select two major characters. Indicatively, you could adopt the following approach.
<br>Jesting Pilate would ask "What is truth?" and would not stay for an answer. While Steinbeck in his book The Winter of Our Discontent talks of each person carrying his own in line with John Donne's saying each man is 'isle to himself", Richard Russo moves in the direction of Descartes and the problem of choices. While for Steinbeck truth is not something immutable but something that would change according to the individual's perceptions, for Russo choices are limited ...