Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Humbling - Mini Literary Analysis

Humbling. I would describe the novel Peace like a River as humbling. While reading the novel, I was humbled due to the fact that I was continually reminded of God’s love for me. Even though Enger was not a Christian, one can note many times throughout the text that he makes references of Christianity.
Throughout the entire novel of Peace like a River, one can only be humbled by the love that Jeremiah has for his children. Jeremiah continuously sacrifices so much so that his children could live. He gives and gives, never expecting anything in return. Does that remind you of anyone?
If you guessed God, then you get a high-five! Yes, our God is so giving! He is the creator of the heavens and the earth, the author of all eternity. Yet he gave his son so that you and I may have everlasting life. Isn’t that amazing? So humbling.
The word gift is defined assomething that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.” ( When Jeremiah Land gave up his life for Reuben that was a gift greater than most other gifts. Jeremiah saves his son’s life by giving him new lungs and freeing him from the restrictions that his asthma brought upon his life.  This kind of love seems incomprehensible. Through the death of Jeremiah, his son was renewed. Through the death of Jesus Christ, we can also be renewed.
As Jeremiah represented a Christ-figure within the novel, I was overwhelmed with the similarities between Jeremiah and Jesus. Enger reveals to the reader that unconditional love is in fact possible.  A famous quote that I once read is:
“How deep the Father's love for us,

How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.”

           Inspired by John 3:16, which says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” the author of this quote was indeed humbled. This overwhelming love of God should break us of our prideful ways. We should be forever changed. But are we? Are we truly broken by God’s unconditional love? Reuben was forever changed because of his fathers love. The question is: ARE YOU?

gift. “Define Gift at” | Free Online Dictionary for English Definitions. Web. 27 Apr. 2011. <>.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Scared of death?

Many people, including Christians, are afraid of death or afraid of dying. In fact, many people are consumed by the fear of death and dying. Is this what God wants us to worry about?

In the novel The Road, McCarthy writes about death and how “Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.” This fear is probably one of the most common fears in the world. As Christians, we are told not to worry about fears such as this, but most times our mind takes over. The father asks the old man “Do you wish you would die?” and he replies “No. But I wish I had died.” He goes on to say “when you’re alive you’ve always got that ahead of you”. This section on page 169 made me think about the common fear of dying and what I would do if I were the last person on earth.

            The bible tells us not to worry about or fear dying. God does not want anyone to be afraid of death or afraid of dying. “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" - 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.

We are told to trust God with everything. So why don’t we trust God with our fears? God knows our hearts and knows every piece of our minds. The bible also tells us that “If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” - Romans 10:9-10.

Over my last few blog posts I have been challenged with the thought of grief and death, which has been a fear I have struggled with.  As I have covered these topics, I have found that writing about them clarifies the idea and strengths my own heart and trust in the Lord. I hope it does the same for you. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


In class on Tuesday we discussed different objects mentioned within the novel and what they symbolized.  I thought it was interesting that such an insignificant, small, everyday item like a Coca-cola can could be of so much value.  As I reflected on the thoughts gathered in class, I expanded on and came across more reasons for the symbolism of the cola-cola.
            Okay, so here’s the scene, within the first section of the reading, the father pries a coca-cola free from a drink machine.  (This could possibly be the LAST can of coke in the world!) They sat looking at the can and the boy hadn’t a clue of what it was. The father told his son “It’s a treat. For you”.  As the young boy took the can and began drinking it, he thought it was unlike anything he had ever tasted. Could you imagine never having a coke before today? Imagine how sweet that would be?  The son then offers the coca-cola back to his father to enjoy also, but he tells his son “I want you to drink it.” This is evidence of the father’s self-sacrificing love for his son. This symbolizes God’s love for us as he gave everything for us!
When analyzing the coca-cola can within the text it was noted that the can could be a treasure. It is a token of value in their world and could quiet possibly be used as currency if necessary.  To expand on that idea, one can note that the can of Coke could also be like an artifact from a former civilization. This is evident when McCarthy writes,  On the outskirts of the city they came to a supermarket… He sat and ran his hand around the works of the gutted machines and in the second one it closed over a cold metal cylinder. He withdrew it slowly and sat looking at a Coca-Cola.”(p.23) This section of writing in the novel heightens the importance of the coca-cola to the characters.
Furthermore, McCarthy may have used the coca-cola item to represent the deprivation of his characters. The father and son have gone years with nothing. McCarthy writes many times throughout the novel “There was nothing”. What a depressing state to live in. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Love of a Father

If there is one thing we are guaranteed in life, it is that at some point we will all experience death. Death is inescapable.  Yet the loss of a close friend or family member always showers us with an overwhelming amount of emotions.  In my college group at church this past Sunday we discussed the ways of grieving which, coincidentally, connects with my previous blog. There are three ways to grieve over a loss: (1) Intellectually, (2) Emotionally, and (3) Supernaturally (Spiritually). Whether a person grieves intellectually, emotionally, supernaturally or a combination of the three, it is important that we grieve. Grieving for a loved one helps us cope and heal. The intense, heart-breaking anguish indicates that a deep connection has been severed. Without a doubt, grieving is painful, but it is also necessary.
In the last chapters of the novel “Peace Like a River” I was confused and saddened by the death of Jeremiah Land. When Dr. Nickles says, “Your father should not have died, Reuben, Did you know that?” I began thinking back on the foreshadowing of this event.  On page 261 Jeremiah tells Rueben “I would take your place, son” as Rueben is suffering with asthma. I am in awe of the love Jeremiah has for his son. Jeremiah is seen as a Christ-like figure in this novel. This led me reflect and question: What kind of love is it that a father would lay down his life for his son?
This event is symbolic of the fact that God loves each one of us so much that he gave his son Jesus Christ so that we may have eternal life.  After all, God is Love. Do we as Christians show that same love towards others?
As I began reflecting more on Reuben, I noted that on page 299 it says that as he  “shut [his] eyes, the old morte settled its grip..”. The word morte means death in Portuguese. In the chapter “Be Jubilant, My Feet” Dad and Reuben found themselves looking at heaven from a distance. Jeremiah gave up his life for Reuben and as “the current got him” he drifted off with laugher and in song.  What a joyous moment that must have been!
Often times it is hard to deal with death without being angry or bitter at God and asking “Why God?”. I feel that this experience of viewing heaven from afar helped Rueben with acceptance and brought him joy to see that his dad was happy and with the Lord.  We may not be able to ‘view’ heaven, but I feel that prayer and God’s word can give us that same sense of peace by knowing our loved one is in a better place. This release can also help one move on within ones own life. Going forward doesn’t mean forgetting about the loved one who died. Enjoying life again doesn’t imply that the person is no longer missed. It simply means that your grief has run its course.
God’s word provides some uplifting words of encouragement for those whose loved ones passed away. The bible shows us that God’s view of death is much different than ours is. As Christians we should challenge ourselves to be up lifters also and to provide encouragement and comfort to others suffering with the loss of a loved one. Ask yourself: When you experience the loss of a loved one, do you rejoice and praise God for that person’s life? Or do you get angry and lose hope? Like I mentioned previously, grieving is good, it is a part of life, but what you reflect on and think about should be positive not condescending towards God. This is a challenge for me; I hope it helps you to reflect on your own actions as well. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


           The novel “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger is a story of a young boy coming of age and the events and decisions he makes along the way that form his character. A part that stood out to me in the reading this week was when Swede and Rueben saw Mr. Finch by the Post Office. In this scene Enger uses many descriptive words and rhetorical questions to bring about emotion for the characters and the reader.
            The word “grief” is defined as a “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss”. (Dictionary, 2011) Reuben describes Mr. Finch, Israel Finch’s father, and says, “He looked dead, is what I am telling you”  He goes on to describe him as “skinny” and frail. Mr. Finch was suffering from grief of a lost loved one, his son.
This is a shocking moment for Rueben and Swede in the book, which is used to bring the reader back to reality. Enger uses this moment to note that someone loved Israel, no matter what he had done.  The fact was that his father’s life was forever changed because of what Davy did.  Mr. Finch was experiencing great grief due to his sons death and months later Rueben and Swede noticed the difference of Mr. Finch.  The part that nipped at my heart was when Rueben questions “ Was it possible that real loss had occurred at the death of Isreal Finch? That real grief has been felt?”.  It was as though Reuben thought that Mr. Finch was heartless and did not care about his son (who also seemed heartless after trying to molest Davy’s girl and his sister). When I read this part, after the description of Mr. Finch, a sudden sadness overwhelms me. The fact that while reading the previous chapters the writing and the reader focuses on the bad that Isreal had done and how he is killed, but as the reader, we forget to think about the aftereffects of this situation. Until this part it had seemed as though everyone had forgotten about the boys. But not Mr. Finch. Neither Rueben.
This part of the story adds depth and reality to the chapter. It is an important piece in the book and i feel that Enger did a fantastic job of incorporating it and expanding on this idea of grief of a lost loved one. Define Greif at, 2011. March 30th 2011.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Face by Alice Walker - Reflective Post

What is love? Love, for me, is the most wonderful word that has ever been “created”. So often it is thrown around and the true meaning is somehow lost along the way.  It is often twisted and deformed from a word with such passion and care to the storge meaning, which has little value. Most would agree that loving someone and being loved is one of the best feelings, but it can also be the worst when love is lost. When that happens, we feel as though we’re the loneliest person in the world with no one to turn to. Not even our family or best friends can help us deal with the pain of a break up. When going through hard times such as these, though absurd as it may seem, quotes and poems help me through.  I have come to realize that poems and quotes help us to understand that we are not alone and that there are other people out there experiencing the same pain of a broken heart. Knowing that others have gone through the same fate and survived gives us solace and strength to keep it together. Also in the same light, Poems and quotes are encouraging even when we are experiencing love.
Letting go is sometimes hard, but I’ve come to realize that “sometimes things just don’t work out with someone because there is some other person out there who is destined to be with us; who will love us just the way we want to.” It’s hard to believe, but God has someone for each one of us out there. There is someone just for me! Who will love all of my quirks and my silly ways. Who will treat me like a princess (I mean, come on? What girl doesn’t want to be Cinderella?) And who will love me for me!
The poem “New Face” by Alice Walker is now one of my new favorite poems. Its simple, yet deep concept gives the reader hope for love. The poem starts by saying, “I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor it’s coming”. This reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:4 which says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” This verse shows the Christian style of love. God teaches us to appreciate love, but not to be controlled by it.
The person in the poem goes on to examine “the dark mysteries of the blood” which is a simile within the poem. Blood is red and the color red symbolizes passion. Therefore the poet is expressing that passionate love is mysterious. The poet also uses words such as “spring” to add a sense of continuity of water which continues into a motif that love is “flowing” like a spring. Ergo, God is our inexhaustible source of love and life.  One can note the fulcrum of the entire poem in the lines “the new face I turn up/ to you/ no one else on earth/ has ever/ seen”. When you’re in love, you will show that person a side (face) of you that no one else has ever seen. This is where everything is forever changed.
To conclude, The verse Song of Solomon 8:4 says “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” This verse is a challege for me. God is telling us to listen and follow where He leads, to walk in his footsteps, not our own.  If we seek God, the rest will follow. When we seek and draw near to God, He works in us according to His good will and pleasure.  He is to be our first love and then all others follow.  “A woman should be so lost in God, that a man needs to seek Him in order to find her.” 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reflective Post – The Love of a Mother - "Lanyard"

“You don’t know what it is to love until you have a child.” I have heard this saying so many times throughout my life and often questioned love and what it is to love someone.  Love is defined as "a strong, positive emotion of regard and affection." As I reflect on the poem “Lanyard” written by Billy Collins, I think of my loving mother. She is my best friend, and someone I know will always be there for me when I need help. She encourages me to be the best that I can be.  My mother has spent innumerable nights caring for me when I was sick and loves me even if I make mistakes. A mother is selfless, caring and loving.  She bared the pain of childbirth, she wants the best for her children and tries her best to give them everything they need. Yet because she loves so much, she expects nothing in return.
I remember the moments as a child when I would give my mother a picture I drew or a simple note I wrote for her with such pride and happiness.  She always responded with a smile and a hug that overflowed with love for me. To this day my mother has kept many of those drawing and notes that I had written her when I was young. My mother, just like most mothers, never expected anything in return for her love and kindness. When she receives small tokens of appreciation she feels as though she is loved and blessed far more than her children that she selflessly and continuously loves on and cares for. Maybe the saying is right, love possibly does reach to another level when it is because of selfless love.
            This idea of selfless love makes me think of Christ’s love for us. His mercy and grace is limitless love for the world. The most well-known verse in the bible, John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This love is unfathomable! There is nothing that we can do that will ever be ample to repay Him, but he loves us the same. After all, God is Love.  1 John 4:8 says “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”. We should love one another as God loves us.
Therefore this means we should all love like mothers! <3