A memory of sadness and pain always remains in ones mind longer than one of happiness. These negative memories will resurface each time people are reminded of them, and will cause them to act differently in situations then they would have if these past, negative experiences had not taken place. In the novel, Along Came a Spider by James Patterson, the negative experiences that the characters have been put through affect their emotions, feelings, and decisions throughout the rest of their lives. The result of these depressing memories is shown through the actions of Jezzie Flannagan, Alex Cross and Gary Soneji.
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Firstly, the FBI agent Jezzie Flannagan is a character whose traumatizing childhood with her estranged parents, as well as sexism when entering the police field workforce has affected her strive for success in life. Jezzies childhood was not one of positive memories, but instead one of sadness and confusion at the fact that her parents were so intelligent and yet had no prospects in life: Both my parents were alcoholicsNobody outside knew how bad it was. They would have screaming fights constantlyMy mother would stay awake half the night at the dining room table.
Shed say Get me my Jamesons little Jezzie. I was their cocktail waitressI loved my parents in a strange wayI didnt want to be a smart failure like my parents. (Patterson, 281) Jezzie knew that she did not want the life that her parents lead. She saw such potential in her parents abilities and made a promise to herself that she would not waste the intelligence that she knew she had inherited from them. As a result of her parents alcoholism, Jezzie decided that she would strive for success to assure that the promise was kept: I worked long nights and weekends when I got into the Service.
I set impossible goals for myself supervisor at twenty-eight and I beat every goal. (Patterson, 282). Jezzies destructive childhood affected her in her future by giving her a strive to be the best and the most successful in any chosen endeavors. This need to be the best is also shown with Jezzies struggle in a sexist law enforcement career. Furthermore, Jezzie struggled with sexism in a predominantly male workplace as she became a woman police officer. When Jezzie became a police officer, it was still considered a mans job and she faces harassment because of this: Imagine going to see your boss.
Important report youve been working on for months. The first thing he says is, You look terrific in a dress, babe. You just want to say, Fuck you, asshole. (Patterson, 280). Jezzie resents the fact that men treat her as an item even though she is just as dedicated and skillful at the job as they are. Jezzies personality is one of hard work and determination and this means that in the workplace, Jezzie feels the need to prove her abilities and worth to all that are willing to compare: Shed worked eighty to one-hundred-hour weeks from the beginning, right up to the present.
Shed been a shooting star for one reason; she was smarter and tougher than any of the men that she worked with, or the ones she worked for. She was more driven. (Patterson, 174). Instead of being offended and giving up when she is harassed, Jezzie takes it as a dare to prove what she can do. Jess Flannagans unfit childhood and predjudism when joining the police force have both been negative experiences in her past that have improved her strive for success in life. When Jezzie is faced with a grave situation, she redirects any negativity she has into motivation to do better. Secondly, detective Alex Cross is no stranger to past tragedy.
Through the death of his wife Maria and the suffering and pain he sees on the job every day, Alex Cross is affected in his emotions through these damaging experiences of the past. One example of this is the effect that his wifes death had on him. After three and a half years mourning the death of his wife, Alex still thinks about her on a daily basis: I started off the morning feeling a touch sorry for myselfI was missing Maria like the plague for one thing, remembering how fine it had been when the two of us slept in late on Sunday morning Maria pulled me back to some kind of sanity.
Patterson, 166). In this instance, Alex is reflecting on past memories and actually ends up staying in bed feeling sorry for himself because of them. Alex Cross is dwelling on a tragic event that happened years ago and cannot be changed. However, he is choosing to remain miserable because of this event. Marias death is still interfering with Alexs life more than three years later. Death is something that affects Alex, not just with Maria but on the job as well. Hence, this is shown after he comes back from an enjoyable vacation and returns to work.
Working as a homicide detective, Alex sees a lot of gruesome death on the job and this affects him emotionally. About a year after Alex discovers the bodies a fourteen-year old girl and three-year-old boy, he is disturbed at the fact that nobody has taken any interest or action with the case and he is reminded of it: Selective scenes from the past had been flushing through my head for several minutes; none of them pleasant. I remembered the face of the fourteen-year-old girl. And three-year-old Mustaf. I remembered what beautiful children they had been. I remembered how nobody had cared when they died in Southeast. (Patterson, 285).
Alex Cross just came back from an enjoyable vacation and yet random, gruesome images are showing up in his head. These mental pictures from almost a year ago have obviously traumatized him and are ruining what would be an enjoyable moment otherwise. Once again, Alexs mood is suddenly changed because of the situations he has been put through in life. Throughout the novel, Alex Cross emotions are changed due to traumatizing, past events and this affects the level of happiness he is able to enjoy. Lastly, the serial killer Gary Soneji endured an abusive childhood that lead to his feeling and behavior of isolation as well as his cynical attitude.
Insert fact about isolation as result of abuse. ) Gary Soneji is an exact match to this behavior. Gary endured both physical and sexual abuse when he was young: Gary went on to sketch a terrifying childhood, which included physical abuse from his stepmother as a small child; sexual abuse from his father as he got older. Over and over he described how he was forced to split himself off at the anxiety and conflict that surrounded him They punished me My stepmother mostlyA dark roomIt was our cellar and she put me down there almost every dayI was punished all the time.
Left by myself It was for a long, long time. So I wouldnt forget anymoreSo Id be a good boy. Not the Bad Boy. (Patterson, 250). Garys abuse caused him to feel isolated emotionally, similar to his literal isolation in the cellar. He began to think of himself as the Bad Boy and this continued throughout his life adapting to become his title, thus his past affecting him. Also, due to the fact that Soneji was always left alone, he found no need for a partner when he started his killing spree and thought of himself as different than other people, including other serial killers.
Soneji did not have the human contact with other peers that most people did and this resulted in him being unable to relate to his peers as he grew older. As well as not having peer interaction, Gary had little or no family life as a child. The fact that Gary Soneji had only bitter memories of family life growing up resulted in a cynical view of his own intimate family life as an adult. When Garys father remarried early in his life, the new family did not include Gary and his childhood was filled with isolation from an abusive family relationship.
Because of this, Gary had no role model to follow when creating his own family and did not know what a real family was. This factor contributed to Garys cynical nature: He was becoming nicely obsessed with murdering Missy and Roni, but he thought he wouldnt do it just yet. Still, the fantasy was rich. To murder your own family had a certain homespun style to it. It wasnt very imaginative, but the effect would be neat; the icy chill racing through the serene dippity-do suburban communityMaybe hes torch the perfect little house on Central Avenue (Patterson, 178).
Soneji demonstrates that he hates the perfect little house and the dippity-do suburban community. This is due to the fact that Gary had no one to rely on as a child to protect him, including his neighbours. Gary was resentful as a child towards his community and redirects this anger at his current, adult, perfect community. Gary Sonejis childhood abuse caused him to be the Bad Boy as an adult. Gary Sonejis lack of human contact in childhood caused him to be an isolated loner who can not interact with people.
Gary Sonejis lack of family contact in childhood caused him to be uneducated on the values of family and thus believing his wife and daughter to be just as evil as his father and stepmother. As an adult, Gary Sonejis isolation as well as cynical tendencies can be much attributed to his experiences as a child. Garys abusive childhood created characteristics that stayed with him into his adult life such as isolation and resentment. Future emotions, feelings and decisions are affected by negative memories from ones past as shown through Jezzie Flannagan, Alex Cross, and Gary Soneji.
Through the alcoholism of her parents and the sexism that was against her on the job, Jezzie Flannagans past is full of negative experiences that have affected her by increasing her strive to be successful and need to be the best. Thus, these negative experiences have affected her in a positive way. This is not the case with Alex Cross. The death of his wife Maria and the death he sees everyday in innocent victims, affects Alex Cross by causing him to feel unhappy and helpless. Gary Sonejis past also creates a negative effect in his adult life.
The isolation from human contact and family lifestyle that his family put him through, results in his disturbing, and cynical behavior as a serial killer. These characters are all affected by their past. As one goes through their childhood lives and journey to become an independent person, they encounter many obstacles along the way. Some of these obstacles serve as a learning experience or motivation for success while others haunt people as they are trapped in their minds. Either way, these negative memories are never forgotten and affect the persons future, despite their preference.