A Struggle For Identity In Shutter Island By Dennis Lehane

1009 words - 5 pages

In the beginning of Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane, Teddy Daniels believes he is a U.S. Marshal sent to Shutter Island with his partner, Chuck, to investigate the case of an escaped patient, Rachel Solando. Rachel Solando is said to be a very dangerous patient who murdered her three children. She had somehow escaped her cell in the mental ward and is somewhere on the island. As soon as Teddy and Chuck hop of the ferry and onto the desolate island, they’re greeted with aloofness and suspicion. None of the employees seem to give them any real evidence of the missing patient and their answers seem scripted. The guards, warden and doctors always seem to be keeping an eye out for them. When they meet with the head psychologist, Dr. Cawley, seems congenial but holds back most information he knows about Rachel Solando. Teddy believes that the information Dr. Cawley is holding back is crucial to the investigation. He speaks in psychobabble and allusively. All the patients they interview, seem to treat the marshals quite hostile and play around with them. One patient scribbles on Teddy’s notebook to run away from this mental hospital. While searching Rachel’s room they find a clue she left behind, the Law of Four. Teddy later learns that all the numbers in the Law of Four suggest that there are sixty-seven patients on Shutter Island, rather than the sixty-six everyone presumed there were. A quick camaraderie develops between Teddy and Chuck as they search around the island. Despite the monster hurricane bearing down on the island, Teddy remains determined and strong. His character is brave and he is quite clever. He is able to depict meanings of clues quickly. . Teddy finds cryptic clues in odd locations along the island. Teddy begins to question the credibility of the island. Teddy becomes suspicious about Ashecliffe and its purpose. The strange employees and patients lead him to believe that Shutter Island is a government mind-control conspiracy that works for the Soviets. Not only is Teddy here to find Rachel, he is here to find Andrew Laeddis, a man he believes is started the apartment fire that killed his beloved wife, Dolores Chanal.
Teddy has a conflict with himself throughout the whole novel. The conflict Teddy faces within himself under the pretense of having the conflict of the missing patient. During the exposition and rising action, the conflict is presumed to be that Teddy is trying to find Rachel, because it is told from Teddy’s point of view. Teddy genuinely believes he is on a case to find Rachel. However, the true conflict of the story is revealed during the climax, when Teddy heads to the lighthouse to prove that Ashecliffe is performing illegal experiments on patients. He finds it to be empty, only Dr. Cawley sitting there waiting for him. He learns that he is Andrew Laeddis, the sixty-seventh patient in the...

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