The Bridge Of San Luis Rey Essay

The Bridge Of San Luis Rey Essay

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Brother Juniper, a young missionary in eighteenth century Peru, is the main narrator in Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Juniper was responsible for the conversion of the immense Native American populations of South America into Christianity. While enjoying this success, he made his way to the Bridge of San Luis Rey in order to finish his missionary trip. As he walked toward the bridge, it collapsed. He witnessed five individuals fall to their death. Being a strong believer in divine intervention, he sought explanations in why these five victims suffered the ultimate punishment. He asked questions about each victim’s lives to all of their relatives and eventually formulated conclusions for each and every tragic death. Juniper found many struggles and subsequent pure renewals in each of the five victims. One specific victim was Don María, or better known as the Marquesa. Juniper learned that the Marquesa suffered from an unloving childhood and adulthood, but in spite of this, eventually married. She raised a daughter in order to secure love. The Marquesa transformed from a life of passionate possessiveness to a life that included love and kindness as a result of a letter.
The Marquesa was the loving mother of Doña Clara and as her daughter grew up, the Marquesa developed a strict possessiveness for Doña Clara. As a child, the Marquesa was the daughter of a cloth merchant, and was ridiculed and made fun of. She never received love, thus she was emotionally incapable to love. However, she attempted to create an artificial love by marrying and bearing a daughter. Even though the Marquesa thought this manufactured love was real, Doña Clara was unable to live an independent life because of her mother. I...


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...rom this letter that Pepita had written a compassionate letter to her former caretaker. At first, the Marquesa was envious of this woman, but she soon realized how horrible she had been treating Pepita. Then, “she cleared away the table and sitting down wrote what she called her first letter” of courage (p. 37). She finalized her new resolution by adoring the night sky and taking a candle into Pepita’s room to whisper, “Let me live now.” (p. 38). This statement alters the course of the Marquesa from the passionate love she had of her daughter and Pepita into a selfless compassionate love of everyone.
In conclusion, the Marquesa unknowingly suffered from loving her daughter and Pepita with a selfish love, but eventually experiences courageous love through Pepita’s letter. This letter allowed the Marquesa to transition herself from loving selfishly to selflessly.

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