How is justice represented in "Sorrow-Acre"? More specifically, what purpose do the imagery and detailed aspects of the setting (including weather and geographic location) have in determining the...

How is justice represented in "Sorrow-Acre"? More specifically, what purpose do the imagery and detailed aspects of the setting (including weather and geographic location) have in determining the characters' understanding of justice?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Dinesen represents justice in the idea of total commitment to something larger than one's sense of self.  Dinesen suggests as much with the idea of "to die for the one you love."  This condition of commitment in a world that might not fully embrace it is part of where justice lies.  Anne-Marie Pul works herself to death in "Sorrow-Acre."  It is through this sense of sacrifice that she suffers and commits herself to her beliefs.  Through this, justice is understood.  Even when Adam and his Uncle debate the merits of justice through honoring one's word or going back on it, the naturalist elements of the world around them help to convey how Anne-Marie embraces what justice looks like.  She starts her commitment in the morning, when the day is new and when there is a sense of hope in the world.  When justice has been established, it is evening and, accordingly, she dies.  The brief sunshine reflects where justice can be established.

It helps that Dinesen sets the moment of commitment in a field that needs to be mowed.  Something that has grown out of control must be restored.  Anne-Marie recognizes that her function is to restore balance to the world, rectifying that which has overgrown its rightful place and condition. This is another example of how the natural setting is reflective of justice.  Anne-Marie is the force of justice in a world that requires restoration.  This restoration is physical in terms of her work in the field, but also spiritual in terms of restoring freedom to her son.  While Adam understands justice from a theoretical frame of reference, Dinesen suggests that justice has to be acted upon in a physical and actual condition, one that merges the individual with the world around them.  In this light, the idea of justice is conveyed in both setting and thematic elements.

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