Ironweed William Kennedy Theme After reading Ironweed by William Kennedy, I have determined the theme of this book to be about the importance of a close and trustworthy friendship. I believe the theme to be this because of the shared dependence on the interaction between Francis and Helen. As Francis and Helen were struggling together, Francis would often provide Helen with a place to sleep for a night or two. Although Helen could have found her own means of survival from time to time, the help she gained from Francis was ideal to surviving the cold nights. The connections that Francis has gained over the years with Inn owners, bartenders, mission leaders, ect., allows them many options for help to find means of survival from day to day. Francis is also dependant on the friends that he has gained. Although he would never allow himself to admit it, he enjoyed the company of others and the distraction they provided from reality. Francis was often haunted by “ghosts” from his past, including those that he had killed and lost years ago. The company of others provided him with something else to occupy his time besides the thoughts and visions of those ghosts. This book stresses the importance of friendship in a before-and-after type of example. Before Francis met Helen, his life was very undetermined; he had nothing. However, after meeting Helen, his life, in turn, gains more structure and purpose. He is not simply wandering through his days; but trying to prosper for the sake of their survival. He cared for Helen; this gave him motivation to get work to earn money to provide for the two of them. He had found a true friend; not one that he gained in hopes of receiving something back, a true friend, and his life became better. Ironweed was written around the theme that a close and trustworthy friendship is very important in having a happy, purposeful life. …
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