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Word Count: 1,308
The American Heritage Dictionary defines denial as an unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities thoughts or feelings All three of the main phrases of this definition of denial are constantly seen throughout the novel In the Lake of the Woods Painful realities thoughts or feelings refusal to acknowledge and defense mechanism all pertain directly to the main character of the novel as well as the way the book is written For this reason I feel that this definition of denial and the word denial itself perfectly illustrate the theme of Tim OBriens novel In the Lake of the Woods The main action takes place near the town of Angle Inlet on the shores of The Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota John Wade and his wife Kathy move to a cabin on the lake shortly after he is handed a landslide loss in a senatorial primary race In the race the main character John Wade was revealed to have participated in a massacre at the village of My Lai during the Vietnam War It was also revealed that Wade later altered his military documents to show that he was never involved in the incident this is the reason behind the landslide loss After a week at the remote cabin Wades wife Kathy and the only boat at the cabin mysteriously disappear Despite a massive search no trace of Kathy or the boat is never found More than a month later John Wade heads out in a small boat to search for his lost wife and he too is never seen again Now that we have the main storyline we can go deeper into the theme of the novel denial Painful realities thoughts or feelings This phrase is directly related to John Wades experiences from his childhood and The Vietnam War In his childhood years John Wade definitely had some painful realities to deal with In my opinion the original source
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