Decisions and Consequences in Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

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Life presents many forks in the road in which people are forced to make a decision and then live with the consequences of those decisions. In Peace Like a River each character is presented with choices and their decisions are characterized by their level of faith and the resulting consequences. The reader is given the opportunity to recognize the contrasting results of decisions that are made from three different perspectives; making decisions without a foundation in faith as seen in Davey’s character, a lukewarm faith that frequently realizes Biblical truth as it relates to decisions hindsight, as seen in Reuben’s character, and the fantasy based faith of Swede that identifies with decisions and consequences through her writings. Each of the three main characters represents a different maturity level in their faith which can be identified by their decision making process and the outcomes of those decisions. Throughout the story Enger develops their characters toward maturity and adulthood through the theme of decision-making in relation to Biblical faith and wisdom. The character Davey is the oldest son of Jeremiah Land and the oldest of three children. Davey consistently doubts the presence of miracles or God and seems to be distracted throughout the story. He is an atheist not an agnostic, in that he doesn’t directly deny the existence of God, but rather he is skeptical or doubtful of the validity and existence of God. Reuben went so far as to say that, “Davy wanted life to be something you did on your own; the whole idea of a protective fatherly God annoyed him” (Enger, 2001, p. 56). While Davey is loyal to and fiercely protective of his family those admirable characteristics are over-shadowed by the fact that he is ... ... middle of paper ... ...his antagonist proves to be their own inner character which determines the trajectory of their decisions. As they all become aware, the consequences of their decisions prove to have an extensive impact on themselves and those around them. Works Cited Bloxham, L., Stortz, M., & LaHurd, C. (2003). Book Reviews. Dialog: A Journal of Theology, 42(3), 320-323. doi:10.1111/1540-6385.00170. Crosby, C. (2002). bookmarks. Christianity Today, 46(13), 62. Dieckmann, K. (2001, September 9). Miracle worker: A father trying to keep his family together in Minnesota needs some help from an angel. The New York Times Book Review, 106(36), 19. Retrieved from Enger, L. (2001). Peace Like a River. New York, NY:Grove Press.

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