Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe


             Everything about this book is fantastic, and I decided to reflect on it and write about what I learned. Teens experience physical and cognitive development. In most cases, these changes are influenced by the environment they live in or how they relate with family and friends. From the reading, I have realized that family relationship and friendship during adolescence play a significant role in shaping the life of teens. Note that during adolescents, teens need social interactions from friends and families. This is the period at which they realize one's self, personality, and self-esteem. Aristotle feels lonely since his older brother is in prison, and his father has PTSD.  However, he meets a friend known as Dante, whom they interact and creates an intense friendship. However, they differ in that his friend Dante is knowledgeable or he knows much about the world, whereas Ari does not know how the world looks like since he stays with unloving parents, especially his father. On the other hand, Dante enjoys parental love.  I want to reflect on the reading focusing on Ari's point of view and say that through Dante, Ari discovers the secrets of the universe. The reason as to why I use Ari as the main character is because, in the beginning, he feels isolated and lonely. His life is characterized by isolating experience not only in his family but also outside the world.  Note that family dynamic plays an important role in a teen's life, but from Ari's perspective, his family is dysfunctional simply because his father is in denial. However, their interaction between Ari and Dante brings differences in that they realize their manhood and self-worth. Through sharing thoughts and actions, they discover the truths about themselves. The script has concluded that the novel centers on family relationship, friendship and love, and self-discovery. 

Friendship and love, and self-discovery are three important things in the life of teens. We all know that friendship plays an important role in adolescences as it helps them develop a sense of belonging and increase self-esteem (Saenz, 13).  Ari and Dante story reveals that teenage relationship reduces anxiety and depression, contributes to emotional regulation, and improves cognitive function. There is evidence in the novel that teenage relationship has helped Ari gain mental health in that since childhood, he has been in a chaotic setting, or he was raised in an unstable family where he lacked parental and sibling's love (Saenz, 13). Thus, he was traumatized but later, he met Dante who helped him gain self-worth. I have learned that close friendships help teens gain positive social development. The latter is enhanced by unconditional support and caring. Dante made a difference in Ari's life in that he helped him cope with the stress that he experienced in his family background.  For example, Ari says that “I started feeling sorry for myself” (Saenz, 13). Note that Ari could not interact with other teenagers and he only watched them passing on their bikes until he went to the swimming and met Dante. It is worth saying that Ari’s life changed at this point in that both were empathetic and compelling characters who shared their memories and learned more about the universe

The text is beautifully written, and I can tell everyone to read it. While reading, the character reminds me of the role of friendship not only in shaping an individual's life but also in changing society. Note that the main character is in a depressive state, but as he meets Dante, they create a special bond (Saenz, 13). Ari states that he could not interacts with his twin sisters, his brother, his mom, and his dad.  However, one day he went to swimming and met Dante who they swam and read books together.  Ari is happy that Dante teaches him swimming lessons. In addition, Dante says that '… This from a guy who loves Conrad's Heart of Darkness'. (Saenz, 13).  This indicates that Dante is intellectual, and the intellectualism strength has a relationship. Note that through the connection, Ari enjoys reading and writing and more importantly, he can discover the secrets of the universe. Initially, Ari enjoyed reading, but as he meets Dante, he gains physical and emotional strength. This means that he does not become physically and emotionally active, but he also discovers the worlds by discussing philosophical questions. The important thing to note is that Ari and Dante defy all odds and develops a special relationship that not only helps them know each other, but it helps them discover the truth of their lives.  The reading depicts the power of friendship that helps them discover the secrets of the universe.

At the end of the summer, the two boys not only discover the universe, but they discover their identity. Initially, they did not understand what it means to be a man, but through interaction and sharing, they discover the Mexican identity.  Another thing that helps the two boys discover the world is their family relationship. For example, Ari's family is silent and ignorant. On the other hand, Dante's family is communicative and supportive. This means that Ari experienced trauma during childhood, but when he meets Dante, he learns that communication plays an important role in life as it helps him heal from the trauma (Saenz, 13). Note that Ari copes with trauma through silence or in other words, there is no open communication. For example, Ari's older brother is in prison, but Aris says that his parent was indifferent or they did not show a family's concern. They behaved like their son does not exist and this reveals the sense of secrecy. Note that Ari's father participated in the Vietnam War and after the war, he could not speak anything to Ari, and this made Ari feel that he is alone in the universe (Saenz, 13). Ari's mother says that his father stays silence because of the trauma he experienced during   the war.  However, this affects Ari in that he also suffers indirectly because his father is not available to teach him about life lesson and more importantly about adulthood.

On the other hand, Dante enjoys family interaction, and in case of any problem, his family is always available to offer affection and support (Saenz, 41). Remarkably, as Ari socialized with Dante, he communicates openly and more importantly, Dante interacts with Ari's family. Eventually, Ari's dad talks open about everything, including his involvement Vietnam way, his brother who in prison, and his aunt, who was a lesbian. This remarkably shapes Ari's life in that he releases the anger and recovers from trauma. One night, Dante's parents move together with Dante and Ari to the desert. Ari liked the way Dante had a strong with his family. He says that "I wondered what my father would do if I ever went to him and kissed… (Saenz, 42). This indicates that since childhood, Ari desired to have open communication with his father. Unfortunately, he grew to find that his father is silent.  However, the coming of age or the transition from childhood to adulthood helps Ari discover the reality concerning his entire family. Note that at the beginning, Ari is lonely and to make the matter worse, he does not know anything about his family (Saenz, 42). However, his relationship with Dante helps him understand his family function. Another important thing that I have learned is that friendship does not help him come in good terms with his family, but he changes his thoughts and actions. It is important to note that the relationship has a strong effect on the life of people. Therefore, it is important to make wise choices of friends and most importantly, be true to yourself.  I have learned that Ari meets many teens, but he evaluates them and makes friends with the best person who helps him realizes self-worth. They share values; they read books together, they swim together, among other activities (Saenz, 42). Ari gained emotional and social growth that changes his life completely. Therefore, social interaction between peer groups changes behavior either positively and negatively, but the most important thing is true friendship. I have also learned that parents play a significant role during the development of a child, and therefore, it is important for parents to ensure parental love for their teens. They should maintain attachment through effective communication so that the teens can feel secured and develop self-worth.



 Aristotle and Dante's story is a sweet story that reveals much about friendship.  Ari is the main character whose voice is deep but who is controlled by anger.  Ari is not conformable with his adulthood since his father, who could teach him about masculinity, remained silent after participating in the Vietnam War. However, he struggles to change everything. Including his family culture and his identity. Up to this point, it is important to note that adolescents struggle with self-esteem. Parents need to be a role of the model to their children by showing them love. Note that adolescents look for sustainable adult love, and parents should honor their desires and strengthen the attachments. Parents need to form an enduring relationship with their teens to help them gain mental health. Rather than become silent and irritable, parents should strengthen the social bond and maintain a constructive partnership. It is worth saying the power of friendship helped Ari develop self-worth and expand the horizon. More importantly, the reading has revealed that friendship shape the lives of teens in that the love makes them feel more understood and accepted. Close friendship is important since it allows youths to share values and attitudes and to move out of their comfort zone to explore the worlds. In the beginning, I did not understand the two characters but later, I came to learn that the attraction and affection between them. I enjoyed reading this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling with self-discovery and self-worth.




Work cited

  Saenz A. Benjamin. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.  Simon and Schuster, 2012

1683 Words  6 Pages

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