Commentary on the Novel Peace like a River by Leif Enger Essay

Commentary on the Novel Peace like a River by Leif Enger Essay

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Negative Peace?
Can something as positive as peace, sadly, turn negative? Throughout the book Peace like a River by Leif Enger, a negative mood, surprisingly, is established. When the story itself does maintain a positive influence, it’s almost as if the negativity takes a higher dominance. In this novel, narrated by the middle child, Reuben, who has severe asthma, the reader is introduced to the very unique Land family. Jeremiah, the father and main provider of this family has three children, two boys and a girl; Reuben and Davy are both older than their sister Swede. However, Helen, the wife of Jeremiah and the mother of the three kids, left the family when Jeremiah turned his career path around to become a school janitor. The Land family, however, is plagued by trouble, inducing the negativity of the novel. It all started when Jeremiah was cleaning the boys locker-room after a football game; later, he heard screaming coming from the girls locker-room. When Jeremiah arrived at the scene, he witnessed a brutal sight; Davy's girlfriend Dolly was being abused by Israel Finch and Tommy Basca, two of the town bullies. In an act of resolution, Jeremiah beat the boys up, but the high school dropouts swore revenge. To get away from the brutal scene, the Land family then takes a trip to where Jeremiah grew up, North Dakota. Jeremiah's good friend August Schultz rented the family a farmhouse for a couple of days, helping the Lands in a time of need. Nonetheless, upon arrival back to their house, the Lands found their front door tarred, unquestionably the work of Finch and Basca. More sadness induces when the two bullies kidnap Swede on her birthday, although she was returned, Swede is later seen with bruises and doesn't seem quite the...


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...elpless, financially and emotionally.
Finally, throughout this novel, a negative mood tends to plague the storyline. Once, something positive tries to make its way through the darkness, it is almost immediately shot down by a negative turning point. Right from the start of this novel, a negative perspective is induced when it seems as if Reuben won’t live as a result of his puny defective lungs. Furthermore, the continuous tormenting of the land family through the actions of Israel Finch and Tommy Basca resulted in even more palpable negativity. Lastly, economic depression also tortured the Land family as they continued to strive to make ends meet throughout their daily lives. As a result of the lack of positivity in Peace like a River, it is safe to say that the novel possesses an extremely negative mood; yet, this fact might soon change within the storyline.

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