Influences of Fear in What's Eating Away At Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges

Decent Essays
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. This 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 his feelings, but he fears the guilt of doing so as well. Gilbert struggles with his family controlling his opinions, emotions and actions. Peter Hedges illustrates the crippling nature of fear in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Gilbert becomes emotionally isolated due to his fear of judgment. The relationship between Gilbert and his family strained by the fear to act and the reality of his life creates the alienated personality readers see. Throughout What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, examples of his fear of judgment crippling him begin to surface. Gilbert says, “Something is not right about all this food going to my house. Something is wrong inside me, I start to think, but I change the subject” (112). Gilbert desperately wants to express on how food negatively affects his whole family, especially himself. However, readers see that Gilbert cannot even argue with himself, demonstrating how fear really plays
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