How does John learn about love, lust, death, and tragedy?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This is quite an in-depth question because it asks for a description of four strong themes. John's interaction with each of these themes is quite tragic itself because he never had a good example of how to deal with any of them. He grew up watching his mother in non-committal relationships, for which she was ostracized by other ladies on the reservation. But he did learn about love while reading the Bible and the works of Shakespeare; from these sources, as well as the reservation community, he developed his own perception of how love should be approached. In the process, he learned that lust was a bad thing because the Bible said so and through the horrible lessons learned by tragic figures in the works of Shakespeare (i.e., Othello). So, when he is confronted with love for Lenina, he attempts to show her in a "correct" way, but she doesn't understand that way. He meets lust at that moment (231) and overreacts.  Later, he learns about death first-hand when his mother, Linda, dies (247). The children around him aren't phased by the incident because they were taught how to handle it, but he was never taught. He ends up living a self-sacrificial life of sadness because he knows nothing else and has no one to help or to show him otherwise. That is a tragedy.


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