98 pages 3 hours read

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2012

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The Power of Art and Literature

Art and literature serve as a thread connecting the characters emotionally. Through paintings, books, and poems, Dante and Ari express their feelings for one another. Dante frequently reads out loud to Aristotle and gives him books to read. This is one of the activities that they build a friendship through. When Dante introduces Aristotle to poetry, Ari realizes “it was interesting, not stupid or silly or sappy or overly intellectual—not any of those things that I thought poetry was” (29). After Dante loans Ari Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Ari lies to Dante that he didn’t like it when he actually thought “it was the most beautiful thing [he’d] ever read” (20). After Dante reads a chapter of The Sun Also Rises each day to Ari, he decides he wants to read everything by Ernest Hemingway.

Dante’s love for visual art is a prominent personality trait. He gives Ari a drawing of his “sad […] and lonely” chair, revealing Dante’s sharp perception that Ari is a sad and lonely person. Through his art, Dante explores his feelings and perspectives. Despite his open and gregarious nature, he is hesitant to let Ari see the sketches he drew of him until after Ari saves his life.