Essay on Fear Eating Away at Gilbert Grape

1616 Words7 Pages
Fear influences the way humans react and the actions that transpire. Some embrace the feeling of fear; others try to overcome obstacles that fear creates. Sometimes, fear stimulates a strong response of self-isolation to shield one’s mind from accepting emotion. The response, however, can manifest into an extreme nature, creating the personality that Gilbert Grape exhibits. Peter Hedges clearly communicates the fact that Gilbert underwent a transformation and his personality reflects the change. The transformation not only causes Gilbert to become conflicted with expressing feelings, but he fears the guilt of doing so as well. Gilbert struggles with the family controlling the opinions, emotions and actions he makes. Peter Hedges…show more content…
Gilbert cuts off the idea of protest immediately when the fear of judgment arises. He would rather suffer in silence, than run the risk of rejection from his family. As What’s Eating Gilbert Grape progresses, readers see the drastic turn of Gilbert’s fear into an extreme nature. With added frustration and suppressed emotions prompted by his family, fear cripples Gilbert to an extreme point. As previously mentioned, Gilbert is troubled with questioning his family and himself. However, the fear has escalated into a dangerous state, where even the smallest questions trigger his fear of judgment. Hedges writes, “‘He doesn’t want to answer your question, Amy.’ ‘Oh, I do. Very Much I do, but…’ I fall silent” (Hedges, 121). Gilbert becomes so afraid of judgment that he cannot even answer a simple question about his sister’s ideas. Evidence proves that Gilbert progressed into that state due to the crippling nature of fears. Again, Peter Gray writes, “But in tasks that require creativity, new insights, or learning, we do better when we are not being evaluated, so are not afraid of failure” (Gray, 81). Gray explains that people are able to inquire on ideas without being judged and when failure is eliminated. Gilbert emulates Gray’s analysis as he will only speak to himself, alone. Therefore, the family prompts the fear and Gilbert reacts to it with an
Open Document