Self-Redemption In William Kennedy's Ironweed

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Doing horrible deeds is a normal thing that happens in a human’s life. It is actually abnormal to live a life devoid of sins or regrettable actions. Sinning is easy, but learning and redeeming yourself after is the tricky part. In William Kennedy’s Ironweed, we are introduced to a bum called Francis who embarks on a journey of self-redemption. But the road to expiation is not easy; and in this novel, this is proven when Francis’ bad habits and his fear of leaving his comfort zone makes him get in the way of his own growth. Not to mention his bad habit of running away from his responsibilities and the consequences of his decisions. In this novel, Kennedy did not patronize his protagonist. Francis is an unideal character who believes that running away is the only solution for doing bad deeds. This in turn makes him relatable because the reader can easily identify with Francis’ decision to redeem himself: it is never too late to go back and own up to your mistakes. In order for Francis to achieve self-redemption and go back…show more content…
And in the graveyard, we are also introduced to dead people he had known before he became a bum. The ghosts of his mother, father, and baby are not only there because they are dead, but because each one of them symbolizes pain he has felt or a regret he harbors—a ghost of his past. And the three of them are one of many people Francis associates with a mistake. And one of the mistakes Francis had made in his past is drop his 13 day-old son on his head while changing his diaper. After that incident, he feels guilty and abandons his family; This marks the birth of his bad habit of running away from his responsibilities. Francis has a conversation with his child, and the baby inspires Francis to embark the journey of expiation by telling him that he needs to let go of the guilt and live with his

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