All That You Love Will Be Carried Away Literary Analysis

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Like each domino in a line of dominos, every life event builds on top of another. These events all contribute to a single pivotal event as they interweave and interact with one another, but the buildup can be seen from multiple perspectives. In literature, themes behave in a similar way. Like the first domino that triggers the chain reaction, the theme of duality is both encompassed in other themes and is a stand-alone theme. In “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away,” Stephen King portrays this overarching effect of the coherent theme of duality on the two additional themes of dignity and disconnect. As these three themes interweave, they all contribute to the Alfie, the protagonist’s, life challenges, namely, depression. Duality plays…show more content…
Even before the story commences, Alfie leads an undignified life. Instead of staying true to his passion, writing about graffiti, Alfie works in the sales industry, causing him a great deal of misery: “Only this was worse. Because he loved the stuff in the notebook. [Amassing] graffiti-thinking about graffiti-has been his real work these last years” (King 79). Had Alfie gone with his heart and done what was best for him, he would be in far better mental shape than he is now. This decision is like the first domino that sets the rest of them off. At the culmination of the story, as Alfie stands looking at the farmhouse in the midst of the blowing wind, he presents himself with two options to escape from the grip of his desolation; he can either discard the book and commit suicide, or live and publish his book. He seals his fate by putting his life in the hands of the blowing wind: “He would count to sixty. If the spark lights of the farmhouse reappeared at any time during that count, he would try to write the book … If they didn’t, he’d … shoot himself” (King 80). By allowing something petty such as the blowing wind to dictate his fate, Alfie portrays a blatant lack of dignity. Evidently, Alfie places as much value upon his life as he places a tattered book of graffiti based on his two options. If…show more content…
Alfie has no link to the real world, instead using the graffiti as his only path to reality. Throughout the past seven years, Alfie has no contact with other people; his closest parallel to a friend is his notebook, the only thing he lives for. He prefers to use the notebook as a source of solace rather than his family: “Alfie … called home. He didn’t expect to get Maura, and didn’t … He paused, and for the first time in about five years added, ‘I love you.’ … He hung up … He put the notebook, open to the last page, beside the telephone” (78) As Alfie approaches the last page of his notebook, his link to reality and almost only consistency in life, he becomes further disconnected from humanity. Only as he nears this end does he apprehend his disconnect. When he becomes aware that he will lose his last link after he uses up the notebook, he realizes that suicide may in fact be the best way to evade this problem without seeking alternatives. When weighing out the possible consequences following suicide, Alfie’s perception of his situation is far different than the unfortunate reality: "Alfie imagined some cop … reading those final entries … and decide that the dead guy had regained a little rationality in the end … Alfie didn't like the idea of people thinking he was crazy … He was not crazy, and … he was convinced of it" (78-79). As evidenced by his belief regarding his supposed sanity, Alfie

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