Essay on Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River

Essay on Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River

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Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River


Life can be viewed as a battle field, a constant fight between good and evil. In Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River, this scenario was well depicted. In the novel, there was a constant fight taking place between the good and evil characters, and though based around family, love, and brotherhood, the novel mainly focused on the conflict between these characters.

This student felt that it was fair to classify the Lands along with Roxanna Cowley, The Shultzs and Dr. Nokes as the good characters. This was a fair classification as these characters maintained their positive personas throughout the novel. On the other hand, Superintendent Holgren, Israel Finch, Tommy Busca, and Jape Waltzer can be classified as the bad characters.

     The main conflict that took place throughout the novel was between Israel Finch and Tommy Busca with Davy Land. In the beginning of the novel there was a lot of conflict taking place between Davy and the two juveniles as they were always out raising problems. Davy showed disgust towards the boys after they attempted to hurt his girlfriend. His father, having stepped in, prevented any further altercations between Israel, Tommy and Davy’s girlfriend. The event that possibly hit home the most for Davy was when Israel and Tommy kidnapped Swede from their home. Davy remained quiet about the situation until he could no longer take it.

     “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it” (Albert Einstein).
This student felt that this quote was possibly how Davy felt, when the law decided not to handle the situation but instead decided to make excuses for Tommy and Israel’s actions. The student felt that Davy was simply tired of sitting back and that it was time for him to take matters into his own hands. Davy retaliated in the most shocking manner possible, killing both Israel and Tommy.

     This student felt as though Davy’s actions were good because his intentions were to take care of his family. On the other hand, if he had simply been a cold blooded killer as readers later found Jape Waltzer to be, Davy’s action may have been seen in a different light. Davy felt that once he destroyed evil, everything would be settled and that his family could go on like normal, but Davy had turned into a wanted i...


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...od to spare Reuben’s life in exchange for his own, as it is said that Reuben and not Jeremiah should have died that day.
The story ended sadly, with the death of Jeremiah. So did good triumph over evil that day? This student felt that good triumphed over evil and won the battle because although the battle resulted in a few casualties, Jeremiah Land still won the ultimate prize, a place in heaven. As for his children, they went on to be good individuals. Davy, although still running from the law, had turned into a stronger individual. As for the family friends that were always there for Jeremiah and his children, they were still around even after Jeremiah’s death. This reader felt that this proved once again that good could surpass all evil.

     Peace Like a River was a novel that encouraged persons to resort positively to all the negativity along the way. This novel was filled with historical and literary allusions, but the most important of all were the biblical allusions, that show that no matter how great the struggle was God would help them along the way, because of miracles. It was these miracles and most importantly God that helped the Lands survive so many set backs.

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