The Sweet Hereafter

by Russell Banks

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Describe Dolores in The Sweet Hereafter. How does she approach the accident? What is her philosophy of life? How does she cope?

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Dolores can be described as a hardworking, dedicated woman who really loves her job as a bus driver.

It's all the more tragic, then, that she should be involved in a fatal accident that claims the lives of fourteen children. Such accidents tend not to happen to experienced drivers like Dolores, not even in the snow. Yet it did happen, and Dolores somehow has to deal with the fallout.

What makes this process more complicated is the fact that one of the bus crash survivors, Nichole, claims that Dorothy was driving over the speed limit. Nichole makes her claim so that her parents and the other parents involved in the case won't be able to sue the city or the school board.

Whatever the truth of the matter, Dorothy approaches the accident in much the same way. Unlike Nichole's parents, she isn't looking for a payday by way of compensation for the injuries she sustained in the accident. Her philosophy of life, which is live and let live, won't allow her to make a claim.

Instead, she just wants to get on with her life as best she can and continue to live as a valued and respected member of the community. However, the aftermath of the tragic accident makes that very hard, as many people in town blame her for the crash.

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