Second Nature: Character Chang Essay, Research Paper
Second Nature, which is one of Alice Hoffman s best novels, is the continuation to Stephen s adult life. In this novel, Stephen is exposed to the real world . At the age of three and a half, he was the only survivor in an airplane crash in the wilds of northern Michigan. A family of wolves raised him entirely apart from people. Later in his adulthood, he was caught by trappers and sent to a medical centre in New York City for rehabilitation. He was introduced to the world as patient 3119 or, more familiarly, as the Wolf Man. He refuses to talk, listen to anyone. He wouldn t even make eye contact with his therapists. Eventually he was shipped off to a locked ward of an upstate psychiatric hospital, where he would be kept as a forgotten secrete sealed and removed from society. But something happened on the day he was suppose to be shipped off, a woman named Robin who was effected by the way this poor man was handcuffed like a criminal. She managed to help Stephen escape and took him to her home. The story continues with Stephen s way of discovering what he had not seen in many years and those that he has not seen at all. As a reader, you also get to share those special moments where Stephen steps back into when he was young, and compares these two lifestyles that he has encountered. It is thrilling to see what Stephen experience laughter and joy for the first time.
The story goes on with how Stephen learns to interact with different people and the society itself. It was really interesting to see Stephen catch up and adapt to the real world. He met many people and made many friends. He met this one man named Old Dick who was also close with Robin. Stephen shared his past and new experiences with Old Dick. They had a lot to learn from each other. Old Dick taught him a lot about technology, society, religion and people. He also taught Stephen about trust, faith, love and friendship. Stephen was acquainted to those who showed affection and love of some sort. Along with the wonderful things that life has to offer, Stephen had to face loss as well. Old Dick died of an old age. It took a long time for Stephen to coup with reality and his loss. He couldn t quite understand how you can loose someone, and how the rest of the world just kind of continues. Lydia, Connor s girlfriend had lost her sister due to a murder. Even though her death was unexplained, Lydia went and told the police that she suspects Stephen to be the killer of her sister. Until that point, Stephen s identity as the Wolf Man was kept a secrete. Things fell apart for Connor, Robin s son and Lydia. Stephen was taken to the police station for questioning. There was a whole crowd waiting to catch a glimpse of the Wolf Man.
Stephen answered the questions kindly and properly. At the station he ran into Robin s ex-boyfriend and another friend. Within time Robin arrived at the station and took Stephen home. Stephen knew that he was not safe, especially since the world views him differently from the rest of the world. He stood outside staring at the stars while another one of his distant friends, Matthew showed up. Mathew helped Stephen realize that he should leave now before things got worse. Mathew offered to get a map on where he should travel. Stephen ended killing Mathew because he knew that Mathew was guilt of killing Lydia s sister. Stephen went back home and explained his story to Robin who then helped him escape. The story ended when Connor explained how life had changed, as he grew older. He was now a doctor and how all the other characters resumed their lives. As for Stephen, he hadn t heard from him. But he asked about him to any possible person he thought that might have seen Stephen. The only replied he got was even if I had seen him, do you think I would tell you?
I felt that Alice has done a remarkable job. I love this story and enjoyed reading it because every moment kept me holding on to this book. As a reader, it is really interesting to see Stephen learn to adapt to the real world. Alice made the reader seem as if they were in Stephen s shoes and any other characters. The reader can very well get emotionally attached with Stephen and Robin s relationship.
At first I questioned Stephen and Robin s relationship. It seemed like their relationship was more on the friendship level. But as I read on I realized that their relationship was not only friendship, but was also at the intimate level. Robin s love is what opened up Stephen. Stephen grew more in love with Robin and changed himself to be able to provide better for Robin. They shared many precious moments together. Robin helped Stephen learn to read and write. She helped him open up to the world and also helped him face all the challenges he found. Never for a second, did Robin make it seem like she gave up on Stephen. It was really touching to see how much Robin s love helped Stephen change.
Friendship played a major role in all the relationship surrounding Stephen. Old Dick had taught a lot to Stephen about life in general. He taught him ways to coup with certain situations and was always there to listen to what Stephen had to say. Stephen shared his past with Old Dick and always admired the fact that he could talk to Old Dick about anything. You can really see the maturity building up within Stephen s character as he learned to coup with loss.
Alice Hoffman s way of writing makes it very enjoyable for the reader. She used an easy-on-going-casual tone throughout the novel. She used a lot of imagery like the significance of wolves . She combined recent society issues with her character development of the character Stephen. Stephen was portrayed as the society outcast, because a family of wolves brought him up. He was considered an outcast because he didn t quite understand the way the world worked. Since the world failed to communicate with him, he didn t communicate back. All he needed was attention, understanding and love. He needed to feel as if was wanted. As For Robin, she was a well-experienced woman. She had lived and learned a lot from her experiences. Her loving and caring is what helped Stephen understand the world a little bit more.
I believe that the way society sees a certain perspective plays a major role in many of our decisions. When society puts people down and fails to understand them, the people, known as outcasts fail to understand the society. When there is no communication, there always is a misunderstanding.
Alice Hoffman combined a wide range of imagery and symbolism in her novel. She is very well known for using these tools throughout all of her novels. All her titles to the novels symbolize the main idea or the point of the novel. I liked how she combined her idea of what she believed Second Nature to be with wolves. She used Wolves to symbolize misunderstood creatures. Stephen was misunderstood by the society and the world around him.