The Importance of Fear in The River Warren

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The Importance of Fear in The River Warren

In Kent Meyers' The River Warren, the reader can detect many examples of symbolism. The basic theme throughout the novel focuses on the river. The River Warren, in its past and present state, means different things to each character in the novel. Many important scenes take place on the river and its banks emphasizing its importance. As the river winds through the land around Cloten in the story, its symbol winds through the lives of the characters and the lives of readers. Meyers stresses the river's significance to members of the community through each character's testimony and story. In the novel the river represents- symbolizes- is fear.

Everyone has some type of fear, and for each character in the novel this holds true. To Angel Finn, a dream of the river's past is admittedly exciting. On one specific night, Angel's fears are clearly presented on the river. He says, "I ain't been afraid on that river for a long time, spooked but never afraid...but I was surely afraid when I come around that bend...my heart kinda shriveled"(143). Angel has found his fear on the river. It is odd, though, that Angel usually goes to the river to escape from his fears. He says, "on the night river, everything seems far away, so far away it's come back around to being close, and a man can need nothing and want everything, and wonder what his life's all about at the same time that he knows"(3). Angel wonders about the meaning of life, but in reality, he knows what it's all about. Angel never mentions any family. All we really know about him is that he is a lonely hardware store owner who loves being on the river. Who is he really? A lonely old man finding escape from life and loneliness fishing on the river. While on the river Angel meets and befriends two young boys, Luke and Jeff. To him, they seem to understand how highly the river should be valued. The three men treat the river as if it has a personality and holds some kind of dignified or sacred value to them. Angel explains himself when he says, "I know I don't know myself on the river, but I swear that it knows me.

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