The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder
"The Eighth Day" by Thornton Wilder is a literary analysis that delves into the human condition through the story of a murder and the resulting trial. The novel is divided into four parts that follow a group of characters whose lives intersect in unexpected ways, ultimately revealing the interconnectedness of all things.
In the first part of the novel, we are introduced to the main characters - John Ashley and Breckenridge Lansing. Although John is a successful businessman, he is haunted by the memory of his dead wife, and Breckenridge is a struggling artist searching for meaning in his life. The two men form a friendship but their bond is tested when John is accused of murdering Breckenridge's wife. The first part of the novel serves as an introduction to the characters and sets the stage for the events that follow.
The second part of the novel is the trial of John Ashley, which is presided over by a judge who is more concerned with his own reputation than with justice. The trial is a spectacle, with the media and public opinion playing a large role in determining the outcome. Throughout the trial, Wilder explores themes of truth, justice, and the nature of guilt. The second part is where the novel picks up pace, and the reader is taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions as the trial unfolds.
After John's acquittal, the third part of the novel focuses on the aftermath of the trial. Breckenridge, who has become disillusioned with the art world, decides to start a new life in California, where he meets a group of people who are living off the grid. John, meanwhile, is forced to confront the reality of his life without his wife, and begins to question the choices he has made. This part of the novel is when the characters begin to reflect on their lives and make choices that will impact their future.
The final part of the novel brings all of the characters together in a surprising and unexpected way. The themes of interconnectedness and the cyclical nature of time are explored as the characters come to realize that their lives are all connected in ways they never could have imagined. The ending of the novel is both satisfying and thought-provoking, leaving the reader with much to ponder.
Throughout the novel, Wilder uses a range of literary devices to explore the themes of the novel. The use of multiple narrators, flashbacks, and foreshadowing all serve to create a sense of complexity and depth that draws the reader in. The novel is a perfect example of how literary devices can be used to enhance a story and create a more engaging reading experience.
In conclusion, "The Eighth Day" by Thornton Wilder is a thought-provoking novel that explores the nature of human existence and the interconnectedness of all things. Through the story of a murder and the resulting trial, Wilder creates a complex and compelling narrative that will stay with the reader long after the book is finished. The novel is a must-read for anyone who enjoys literary fiction and wants to explore the human condition in a deeper and more meaningful way.