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Mystic River Essay

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"'You ever think,' Jimmy said, 'how the most minor decision can change the entire direction of your life?'" -Denis Lehane, Mystic River pg 216

Nobody is perfect. As humans we are always striving to reach perfection even though we know it cannot be achieved. We do things that set ourselves back in the attempt to be the best, but we always come back and try to redeem ourselves. In Dennis Lehane's Novel Mystic River, each character at one point or another tries to redeem themselves. All of Lehane's characters in the novel are flawed and each of them attempt to mend their imperfections. Celeste Boyle is a victim of such acts of redemption. It is interesting to see how Celeste's character evolves throughout the story. However, the decisions Celeste makes in order to try and better herself only backfires on both her and her husband. In the beginning she is loyal to her husband but as the novel goes on she become more and more weary of her husbands past decisions. In the end, she betrays her husband and only further damages herself.

In the beginning of the novel Celeste Boyle is a loyal wife. Her husband, Dave, comes home covered in blood after a night out. And being the loving wife she is, Celeste Boyle washes the blood off of Dave's clothes and helps him get rid of the possible tracks Dave had attached to the crime he just committed (as seen in the picture to the right). As Dave worries that he may have just killed a man, Celeste is calm and tries to comfort her husband; "She wanted to go to him and touch him... She wanted to caress his neck, tell him it would be okay." (81). She was following the feminine code of sticking by your man and nurturing him. Although yes Celeste was doing something legally wrong, she was not doing anything morally wrong by having her husbands back. However, knowing she helped Dave commit a crime, just being there for her husband was not comforting enough for Celeste to keep herself from feeling guilty.

Once it had become clear to Celeste that Dave came home covered in blood the same night Katie was murdered started to make her worry. She started doubting her husband and thinking he could be responsible for the death of Katie Marcus. The guilt then started to creep in on Celeste more rapidly. She thinking that she could have helped her husband kill Katie Marcus. Celeste then tries to fix everything. She tries to redeem herself. Celeste decides to leave her husband, taking their son with her. She can no longer trust her husband so she decides to up and leave him. She assumes they story he told her was She even thought, "She could spare a hundred if it got her out of here right now, far enough away to think things through..." (chap 21, pg 410). She became so afraid of her husband and what she thought he had done that she left him. She even claimed, "'I may have left Dave for good.'" However, that



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