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Shutter Island Essay

2146 words - 9 pages

In the beginning of Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane, Teddy Daniels is intelligent, full of grit, clever and determined. Teddy believes he is a United States Marshal sent to Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane on Shutter Island with his partner Chuck, to investigate the case of an escaped patient, Rachel Solando. Rachel is said to be a very dangerous patient who murdered her three children. She somehow escapes her cell in the mental ward and is somewhere on the island. As soon as Teddy and Chuck hop off the ferry and onto the desolate island, they are greeted with aloofness and suspicion. None of the employees give them any real evidence of the missing patient and their answers seem ...view middle of the document...

For instance, he quickly deciphers the arduous clue left in Rachel’s room, the Law of Four, which suggests there is a sixty-seventh patient on the mental institution that nobody knows about. Dr. Cawley even describes his gift with deciphering codes, “You’re gifted with code, even flirted with becoming a code breaker in the war” (329). Cleary, Teddy can easily analyze puzzling codes. Teddy also finds cryptic clues hidden in odd locations along the island. Such as the boulders equidistant to each other that depict a secret message. Teddy also has incredible insights, as he questions the credibility of the island. Becoming suspicious about Ashecliffe and its true purpose, he looks for signs across the island that would suggest illegal activity. The strange employees and patients lead him to believe that Shutter Island is a government mind-control conspiracy that works for the Soviets. Later in the story, it is revealed that Teddy is not only here to find Rachel, he is here to find Andrew Laeddis, a man he believes started the apartment fire that killed his beloved wife, Dolores Chanal. He wants to find Andrew Laeddis and make him pay for what he has done. “Going to find you today, Andrew. If I don’t owe Dolores my life, I owe her that much, at least. Going to find you. Going to kill you dead” (205). Evidently, Teddy despises Andrew and has bitter hatred for him. He desperately seeks vengeance and will not be satisfied until it is served. In summary, Teddy Daniels is a bold, driven, intelligent and dogged man. Nothing can stand in his way, and he is determined to do everything he can to succeed.
Teddy has a conflict within himself throughout the entirety of the novel that creates an ongoing battle between the real and fake events that happened in his life. The conflict Teddy faces within himself is under the pretense that he is here to find a 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 attempt 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 hospital and he murdered his own wife. The conflict objectively is that Andrew is so deep in denial that he created an entirely different conflict inside his mind. Rather than the conflict being man versus man, Teddy versus the doctors that he believes are keeping them there to lobotomize him, it is really man versus himself. It is an internal struggle that Teddy faces to find his real identity. For example, Teddy is constantly haunted by memories of his late wife, Dolores. He is constantly repressing around her memory, and claims she deceased during an...

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