Essay PreviewMore ↓
The Character of Elizabeth Gruber in The River Warren
After reading The River Warren by Kent Myers, I felt a kinship with Elizabeth Gruber. Her loss had been an enormous one. Her return to reality and the world around her took great inner strength. The numbness and the void she was experiencing is very real and can be all consuming if not put in check, not just for women but all humans. We as humans are all different and the grief process is different for all of us. Elizabeth, upon being aroused from her pit of grief, realizes that her strength and connection with her husband, Leo, is the only thing that is going to bring him back form his deep, dark, prison of regret, grief, and guilt. I felt her pain in both the loss of her child and the painful silence that her marriage had become. As Elizabeth drives to the field and assaults the tractor with a rock, I remember times when I would have loved to do the same thing. Only I was not brave enough to attack the iron mistress that takes away the farmer's spare time.
Many farmers I know respond to grief, stress and anxiety the same way Leo Gruber does. They bury themselves in their work. There they can think, and they have control. Many times, with all of us, the intense feelings of guilt and sorrow make us feel as if we have lost control of our world. So we retreat to a place where we can have control. For Leo it was his work, and his tractor. Liz Beth brought him back to the real world. Cowboys, farmers and men of the west learned to shut themselves off, and they weren't allowed to feel or show emotion. To these men showing real feeling and emotion was a sign of weakness, and the weak don't survive in the west, at least that is the way they were trained to think for many generations.
My father is a fourth generation South Dakotan. For many years as I was growing up I wandered if he had ice in his veins, just as Jeff had wondered about his father.
How to Cite this Page
"The Character of Elizabeth Gruber in The River Warren." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Nov 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In stories of any genre, characters may change dramatically. This holds true for many characters in Children of the River, a story that tells the true nature of change. The most prominent change is evident in the character of Soka. Her character begins as very stubborn and strict and changes to that of a caring person. This essay will explore the true nature of Soka’s behavior. At the beginning of Children of the River, the story unfolds in Cambodia. Soka has given birth to a baby (who dies later on).... [tags: Children of the River]
511 words (1.5 pages)
- Loss and Healing in The River Warren Each of us, in time, will experience a heart-stopping reality - the death or loss of someone or something we love. Maybe it will be of a family member or just a pet we dearly cherished, but the feelings we have are all too real and all too painful. This loss is probably by far the greatest and most severe emotional trauma we can encounter, and the sense of loss and grief that follows is a healthy, natural, and important part of healing ("Death").... [tags: River]
1974 words (5.6 pages)
- Jane Austen, in her book Pride and Prejudice, constantly explores and analyzes the qualities and characteristics that constitute a “good” marriage in early 19th century England. Many in this time period marry for pragmatic or social motivations, and many vulnerable young girls fall prey to the prospects that a rich man with an estate would offer to her and her family. Although many other girls sacrifice their personal happiness by marrying wealthy men, Elizabeth Bennet is not one of them. Elizabeth Bennet does not get “seduced” by Mr.... [tags: character analysis]
1082 words (3.1 pages)
- The Character of Pop Bottle Pete in The River Warren In the novel, The River Warren, Pop Bottle Pete is a character whom not all readers have an easy time understanding or relating to. The most obvious reason for this is that he is a grown man with a mental disability. The reader understands this through the words that he uses, the way he uses them, and also through his relationships, which are affected by his disability. Having a clearer knowledge of this disability, by looking at his language and social skills, the reader will gain a better understanding of these relationships.... [tags: River Warren Essays]
2810 words (8 pages)
- The Character of Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen, like her most beloved heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, is a keen observer of the nature of man in society. To simplify her studies, and to give her readers a better understanding of the concept of Pride and Prejudice, Austen does not focus our attention on the larger social structure as a whole, but skilfully directs our consideration only to a small, isolated segment of the society. In Pride and Prejudice, Austen scrutinizes a microcosm, people dwelling within similar cultural and social backgrounds, but representatives of the larger human community.... [tags: Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Elizabeth Essays]
1866 words (5.3 pages)
- The Elizabeth River Tunnel, downtown, and midtown tunnel tolls are completely unfair for anyone who lives or works in Portsmouth; people shouldn’t have to pay to drive to work, or even simply drive in their state. The tunnel tolls have forced people to rearrange their whole life because of one simple tax. There happen to be upsides to this new tax, which is that over the course of 58 years the infrastructure of the tunnel will be a lot stronger since the population in Virginia has increased. Keywords: Elizabeth, midtown, tunnel, tolls, tax, people, unfair, upsides, downsides I.... [tags: midtown tunnel tolls, unfairness]
1456 words (4.2 pages)
- Initially, Elisabeth is the matriarch of the four generations of women talked about in the story. Elisabeth works in the house, but she’s married to a field slave and has three daughters. Not much insight is given on Elisabeth and her feelings, yet through the narration it is as if she lived vicariously through her youngest daughter, Suzette: “It was as if her mother were the one who had just had her first communion not Suzette” (20) Even though Elisabeth too worked in the house, Suzette had more privileges than her mother and the other slaves.... [tags: elizabeth, suzette]
1243 words (3.6 pages)
- In the book The River Between, written by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, the main characters Chege, Waiyaki, Joshua each played an important role during the time when the new religious started to take over the ridges of Makuyu and Kameno. In the beginning of the book, it depicts Waiyaki at a young age with his two friends, Kamau and Kinuthia. At this point, Waiyaki was shown as a leader or was seen as someone who would become a great leader when he became a man. Waiyaki can be described as brave and shows strong leadership.... [tags: Ngugi wa Thiong'o book review]
605 words (1.7 pages)
- 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.... [tags: River Warren Essays]
1796 words (5.1 pages)
- A Character Analysis of Elizabeth Bennet Throughout Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice , there are many references to the unusual character of Elizabeth Bennet ; she is seen to be an atypical female during those times. Wit , bravery , independence , and feminist views all describe a most extraordinary model for women. Pride and Prejudice is a humorous novel about the trials of marrying well in the early eighteenth century. It focuses mainly on the actions of two couples – Elizabeth Bennet and Mr.... [tags: essays papers]
1589 words (4.5 pages)
- Playing God in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Man and God in Frankenstein and Jurassic Park
- A False Reality in Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find
- Role of Women in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene
- Ted Hughes' Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow
- The Corrupt Practice of Physician-Assisted Suicide
Elizabeth Gruber understands this strength and also knows when things have to change. She isn't afraid to change them. When Liz Beth (this is Leo's name for her) finally reaches through the silent wall that Leo has built, there is laughter and tears. Contact has been made. Now they can start healing.
My only problem with Myers is his portrayal of Elizabeth Gruber in this scene. The farm women I know are tough. I get the impression that as Leo is wadding through a truckload of dead cattle that Liz Beth goes home and waits. Farm wives that just sit in the house and wait for their men to come home are very rare. There is no mention of what Liz Beth did while she waited for Leo to return. I feel that by not giving Elizabeth some nervous activity Myers is giving the impression that she had none. This is selling her short and almost gives her an ornamental status. There is only one short line that mentions Liz Beth on a tractor, or doing something besides housework. "Yet I think of him all the time now-Simon Lane Crandell and what he did. Weeding my garden, driving tractor- he's on my mind". More information about Liz Beth could have been beneficial to readers like myself. I wonder how many readers thought, she must be driving a garden tractor, women don't drive the big ones. Many times the role women play on the successful farm is undercut. That is to say that they work very hard and receive very little credit for their labors.
After reading Meyer's novel, I started looking for writings about farm and ranch wives. There are a few monthly publications including, CountryWoman, and Farm Journal that have writings for and about countrywomen. Then I read a book that Dr. Fuqua recommended, Leaning Into The Wind, edited by Linda Hasselstrom, Gaydell Collier and Nancy Curtis. It is a wonderful collection of poems, thoughts, and reflections from over 200 countrywomen. And it is the most realistic and truthful account of what life is like for women in the west that I have ever read. Reading this book was like reading my grandmother's or my mother's diary. It tells of calving out cows, breaking ice on frozen rivers, training horses and many other day to day activities of these wonderful women.
This collection tells stories of what life is really like for the farm and ranch wife. The yearly joy of birth, the pain of death to a predator, and the feeling of being part of the land. Here, it is the women who are getting up at 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning, walking through frozen corrals looking for newborn calves, lambs, and foals, herding them into the protection of the barn before they freeze, and keeping a watchful eye out for the mothers approaching their delivery times. One of my favorite stories is of a 20-year Old Norwegian girl who moves to Harding County South Dakota in the 1920's. She homesteads her own land and starts her own ranch. Then she decides to marry. Even after she is married she plows her own fields, and plants her own crops. This may not seem to be that unusual, except she plows with horses and plants the seeds by hand, not just an acre or two but 37 1/2 acres.(Hasskestrom 332) If you don't feel that this is a feat then I invite any of you to try it now. You can bet that even after a long day in the field she still was responsible for the care and maintenance of the family and home.
These are the women I wanted to read about. They didn't just sit in the house and bake. They were out right next to their men, or doing the work that the men could no longer do. These are women like my mother. My mom, Leona McFarland, is 66 years old but doesn't look her age. At five foot nothing, she can take any man around and work him into the ground barely even breaking a sweat. My mom has always been the driving force behind the ranch. She taught all of us the importance of being true to the land and being a good caretaker of the animals. My mom and "us kids" (there were five of us), spent our days working side by side with Dad. It was truly a family operation. At the end of the day we all went back to the house. Only we, the girls, kept on working while the men put their feet up and relaxed. The female members of the family would make the meals, clean the house, do laundry, and keep on working no matter how hard we had already worked out side. That is just the way it was. My mother has done this all of her life. Even now at her age, she still runs the families ranch that is made up of over 15,000 acres. She runs cattle for three different ranchers, owns and operates the only gas stop and grocery store for over 35 miles in any direction, and takes care of my father who has been an invalid for over 10 years.
Women like my mom are not rare. They settled this country and they keep the family farm going. They just stay home and work. They work so hard that they disappear and get lost in the land. They deserve to be recognized. Elizabeth Gruber is a farm wife and I feel that she has all the toughness that these other women have. You have to be tough to lose a child and keep on going. You have to be tough to put your whole future into the land and gamble with the elements. Why you say? Why work so hard when you can live in town? Living in town would be a death sentence to these women. They want to be on the ranch or farm for all long as the good Lord allows. They yearn to always feel the sun on their faces and the wind to their backs, to see the glory of a sunrise and hear the birds sing from a fence post.
Leaning Into The Wind goes into the heart of the western woman, and it explains the feelings of the farmer and the rancher with their unconditional love for the land. It takes a certain type of person to do what these women do, tough yet able to bend. These women drive tractors, rebuild motors, haul rocks, break horses, herd cattle, feed chickens, butcher, can produce, feed their families, clean house and keep their families together. They don't complain, it's just the way things are. Simple, honest and caring.
Meyers, Kent. The River Warren. St Paul: Hungry Mind Press, 1998.
Hasselstrom, Linda, Gaydell Collier and Nancy Curtis. Leaning into the Wind. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.