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In many novels, characters experience first hand the challenges they must go through as the transition from who they portrayed to be in the beginning as opposed to how they change their personalities, actions, and life style in the end. In the novel, The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks, the author uses certain events from the novel to change the characters personalities and ways of life. This is demonstrated through the main characters Julie Barenson who changes from a nice, loving woman to an afraid and unstable woman because she finds out Richard is stalking her and Richard Franklin who changes from nice and an at times jealous person, to a crazy, possessive stalker because Julie doesn’t love him. By exploring these two characters, it is evident that change in characters through different events in the novel is depicted through how they change their lives, ways of action and personalities.
During the early years of Julie’s life, she has many problems and is not stable. Julie’s mother is an alcoholic and they live in a trailer. Her father moves away to Minnesota when she is two year old. She runs away when she is sixteen and lives on the street until she meets Jim, who takes her to Swansboro and marries her. At the beginning of the novel, the author portrays Julie as a woman who has been through a lot, but does
not let that stop her from being a nice, loving person. Julie also moves on after Jim’s death, because it was a hard time for her, with regards to her past: “Now when she
thought of Jim, she remembered him with a smile, thankful that he’d been part of her life.” (Sparks 1) She always helps other and does the best she can to be respectful and sincere to other characters.
Unfortunately, Julie does not stay so nice and caring throughout the whole novel. This transition from being nice to becoming a scared is demonstrated when she realizes that Richard is stalking her. Julie becomes very afraid after she is informed that Richard is stalking her and she starts to act paranoid: “So she did again and come up with the conclusion that Richard wasn’t lurking by. But is still didn’t help. She began to hyperventilate.” (442) Even though Richard deserves the insults he receives from Julie, the reader does not expect her to try and hurt him in such means ways: “‘I don’t want to talk to you.’ She said, hating her plaintive tone. ‘Why can’t you get that through your head?'”(448) Julie ,herself, does not like how she is sounding and the way she is acting but she feels that the only way to get Richard to leave her alone, she has to be rude to him. Julie transforms from her regular personality because of what Richard is doing.
Not only is Julie’s transformation in personality a big difference, but Richard’s transformation is even larger than expected. Richard, whose real name is Robert Bonham, is a man from Cleveland and is Julie’s boyfriend at the beginning of the novel. Richard, also, has been through a lot in his life just like Julie has. His father and mother were alcoholics, his mother is beat every night from his father and he hates his parents. Richard struggles because his parents die and he goes from house to house in search of a
family. In the beginning of the novel, the author portrays Richard as a caring and at times manipulative man, who has been through many struggles in his life, but unalike Julie,
Richard allows his past to resurface in his future. Richard’s mothers’ struggles get to him and he allows them to interfere with his concept of how he and Julie should live: “If Julie stayed, he knew she would grow weak, just as his mother had grown weak. And in time, there would be nothing to respect.” (175) Richard feels that if Julie stays in the country, she will end up like his mother and he despises his mother. As well Richards manipulations are demonstrated when he tries to get Julie to feel guilty because she did not wear his necklace: ” Manipulated, as though he’d wanted her to promise that she’d always start wearing the locket to work again and that she would feel guilty that she hadn’t.” (143)
Even though Richard personality is not perfect, he worsens near the end of the novel. Richard becomes obsessive and the reader finds out that he is a murderer. Richard kills his mom; dad, wife and the real man named Richard Franklin to steal his identity.
As well, the reader finds out the Richard is abusive because he hits his wife: “‘stop acting crazy’ ‘What did you say?’ ‘Ow…let me go…you’re hurting me…’ ‘WHAT DID YOU SAY?’ ‘Ow…please…Ow!'”(432) Richard hits his wife because he is a controlling person and wants her to do what he says. He also feels that he is the best thing for Julie even thought he is not and treats all women as if they are his mother, who is beaten by her father, and tries to control or change them to prevent them from his mother’s way of life: “Just like his mother. The victim. Always the victim.” (175) Richard becomes a stalker when Julie dumps him and starts to date Mike. Richard is goes crazy and
convinces himself that Julie’s hatred is love: “Yes, he knows she cared for him, for weren’t anger and love opposite sides of the same coin? Great anger wasn’t possible
without great love…and she’d been so angry” (433) Richard uses his mothers life as a bad example of how he wants to live not knowing that he is causing the women he loves to be like his mother: subject to abuse by a controlling man. Richard changes from how he was at the beginning of the book because Julie does not love him, farther demonstrating the change is characters through events in a novel.
Like in many novels, The Guardian uses events in the novel to demonstrate how each character changes their personalities, actions and ways of life. This is demonstrated through Julie’s transformation from a nice, loving, stable woman to an afraid, hate-filled, vulnerable woman because Richard is stalking her, and as well, through Richard’s transformation from a nice, controlling at times man to a sick, twisted, crazy and controlling man because Julie doesn’t love him. Characters in novels either change for better or for worst depending of the events that have taken place. In The Guardian’s case, one of the characters transform into a hate-filled ,scornful person, whereas the other transforms into a evil criminal because the events were not positive ,but were negative.