What, if anything, does Cory learn?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the most profound lessons that Cory learns at the end of the drama is to not be like his father.  The father/ son relationship is a powerful one in that its negative elements and its toxicity helps to provide a sense of change in Cory.  The son understands what not to be after seeing his father.  Though initially reticent in attending his funeral, Cory does come around and attend his father's funeral.  He recognizes that there has to be a sense of forgiveness towards his father, in order for him to be fully advanced and fully learn from his father.  If he holds on to the anger, then he would be no different from his father, holding on to the anger and in the process creating fences between he and his world and the people who love him.  In forgiving his father and singing with Raynell in the last scene at the funeral, Cory recognizes the need to live a life without fences, without emotional alienation.  In this, Cory learns to be radically different from his father in acknowledging that life has to be one where there is complete immersion in life and being in the world is not one where division and "emotional fences" can exist.

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