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Ethical Theories Lying Within In The Wake By Per Petterson

798 words - 4 pages

The main character of the novel In the Wake is named Arvid Jansen, and you are able to see the entire story told from within the character’s head. As you begin the story it is in a rather disoriented and confused state where you slowly are able to tell Arvid has lost his sense of time. He is found banging desperately upon the door or a job he has long since left. As the story continues you find yourself within flashbacks in his mind giving you little bits of new information each time, but still keeping the reader in the dark to the bigger issues. One of the biggest battles Arvid is dealing with the loss of both his family as well as learning how to cope with the divorce and distance from his wife and children. He is not alone, for his brother is mourning the loss as well and distancing from his own family as well. The brother, taking things more harshly than Arvid himself, attempts suicide and fails. Arvid is unsure how to handle this having already lost a lot, he is reluctant to go visit his brother in the hospital.At the end of the novel you see the two brothers come to the conclusion that they have both hit the end of their ropes. They toast and look forward to a place where they can only go up now that rock bottom has been met.
Ethical relativism can be found within the relationship between Arvid and the neighbor he has, Naim Hajo, because this man comes from a northern section of Iraq. The two come out of very different cultures and are respectful of that sort of thing. For example, Hajo brings Arvid a gift for letting his family in when it was late and cold and they had lost their key. This is something the man did not expect to happen, because many of his culture would not do such a thing. Another example during an encounter between the two consists of the time when Arvid has him down for a drink and sets out a nice display because he realizes that while it’s not true to him, in Hajo’s culture that is an event of nicer occasion than a simple casual time. For inviting him over the neighbor brings Arvid yet another unexpected gift.
Existentialism is vastly shown throughout...

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