A Little Life

FAQ About A Little Life

What is the role of music and literature in the characters' lives in A Little Life
9 months ago | gizem

What is the role of music and literature in the characters' lives in "A Little Life"?

In "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara, music and literature play significant roles in the characters' lives, serving as sources of comfort, connection, and reflection. These art forms help the characters navigate their complex emotions and provide a means of self-expression and communication. Here's how music and literature are portrayed in the novel:


  • Willem's Musical Career: Willem pursues a career in music, and his passion for it is a central aspect of his character. His dedication to his craft reflects his desire for self-expression and his commitment to following his dreams.
  • Musical Connections: Music serves as a medium through which the characters connect with one another. The novel depicts moments where characters share music, attend concerts together, or simply listen to music in each other's presence, reinforcing their bonds.
  • Emotional Resonance: Music is often used to convey emotions that are difficult to express through words. Characters turn to music as a way to process their feelings, find solace, or communicate their inner turmoil.
  • Healing and Catharsis: For some characters, music provides a form of healing and catharsis. It allows them to release pent-up emotions and find moments of peace and clarity in the midst of their struggles.
  • Cultural Significance: Music carries cultural significance for some characters, reflecting their heritage and personal histories. It becomes a way for them to stay connected to their roots and traditions.


  • Jude's Love for Reading: Jude is portrayed as an avid reader, and his love for literature is a key aspect of his character. He finds solace in books and often turns to them as a means of escape and exploration.
  • Literature as a Form of Empathy: Literature is depicted as a means of cultivating empathy and understanding. Characters read to gain insight into the experiences of others and to broaden their perspectives.
  • Literature as a Form of Therapy: For Jude, in particular, literature becomes a form of therapy. His therapist, Dr. Traylor, assigns him books to read and discusses them with him as a way to explore his emotions and memories.
  • Reflecting on Life's Themes: Characters often turn to literature to reflect on themes related to their own lives. They find resonance in the stories and characters they encounter in books, which helps them process their own experiences.
  • Literary References: The novel is filled with literary references, from classic literature to contemporary works. These references add depth to the narrative and provide insight into the characters' intellectual interests.