Peace Like a River

by Leif Enger

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How does one summarize chapters 1-3 in Leif Enger's Peace Like a River?

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Peace Like a River by Leif Enger is a touching coming-of-age story about the narrator, Reuben Land. It's especially an account of all of the miracles Reuben witnessed his father perform and his relationship with his father, as well as Reuben's relationship with the rest of his family members. To summarize a chapter, all you do is simply look for the important information in the chapter. Think about what characters are in the chapter, what is said, and what important events happen that help drive the plot forward. As we are limited in space and limited with respect to online access of the book, below is a few ideas to help get you started with understanding the first couple of chapters.

The first chapter gives an account of Reuben's birth. His birth is particularly noteworthy because he was born with bad lungs and unable to draw his first breath until his father entered the delivery room and commanded him to breath. His father had been outside of the hospital pacing in the "damp September wind" and praying when suddenly he found himself running back into the hospital (p. 2). The doctor did all he could for the boy and then his father covered him up in his jacket and said, "Reuben Land, in the name of the living God I am telling you to breathe" (p. 3). Through the rest of the chapter, the narrator continues to philosophize on exactly why he was permitted to stay alive and keep breathing and reflects on the fact that his father is a miracle worker but only if there is someone around who can witness his miracles. The narrator sees himself as the witness for his father's miracles.

The next chapter gives us an introduction to his family and his family's pastime of hunting for geese, plus relays another miracle he witnessed his dad perform. After his father and his family were threatened by two classmates of his older brother, Davey, Reuben sees his father out praying while he paced the flatbed of their family's truck. But at one point, his dad walked right off the edge of the flatbed "and did not fall(it)" but continued pacing on air and praying.

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