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Good and Evil Actions in Peace Like a River by Leif Enger Essay

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Good and Evil Actions in Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

The battle of good versus evil is present in all aspects of life. Actions taken by people can determine how others view them. Some choose to do what is right and good, while others choose what is wrong and evil. Many characters are forced to choose between the two, and some do not foresee the consequences of their actions. In the book Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, actions committed by the Davy, Jeremiah, and Jeremiah’s friends, both good and evil, always have consequences.
Davy’s decisions throughout the book change how the novel progresses. Davy helps Reuben mature by helping him shoot his first goose. “I’d actually started feeling sorry for the doomed bird when Davy grabbed my shoulder and spun me so I lay on my back. He jammed the Winchester into my hands” (Enger 7). Killing a goose was a sign of manhood in Reuben’s eyes. This goodness committed by Davy gives Reuben a new sense of pride. While some of Davy’s actions have positive affects, some do not. Davy taunts Israel and Tommy and gives them an invitation to retaliate against him. “ ‘Well, he had something in his hand. A tire iron, I guess, or pry bar. Hard to tell in that rain. Anyway, he whacked every window out of the Finch boy’s car.’ “ (84). The night of Davy’s shootings, he went to Israel’s car and smashed out all of the windows. Davy wanted the issue with the boys to be over with, and gave them an invitation to come into his home. Although Davy may have thought his evil intentions would lead to a positive outcome, the murder of the two boys spark a chain of events that lead Davy into a cross-country escape from the law.
The goodness of God is shown through the actions of Jeremiah. At the beginning of...


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...the Studebaker had been more than faithful to him and needed a change of mission, also of oil” (151). August figures that the Studebaker will be put to better use with Davy. This new car rejuvenates Davy’s escape, and ultimately causes him to meet Jape Waltzer, an evil man. Thoughtful actions committed by Jeremiah’s friends are helpful to the progression of the novel.
Good and evil actions define our lives. When faced with an issue, we have the opportunity to choose what’s right or what’s wrong. How we make this decision affects the consequences that follow. While Jeremiah and his trustworthy friends use goodness in their decision making, characters such as Davy sometimes resort to evil ways in order to do what they think is best. Either way, no matter what choice is made; one thing that is guaranteed is that there will always be a consequence for your actions.




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