Toward the end of Section 4, the story's theme is revealed. What is that theme?

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liesljohnson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the story's themes, revealed at the end of the fourth section, is that farm living provides a kind of peace, happiness, and freedom that city living never can.

Consider Rosicky's thoughts as he walks home, worrying about whether Polly and Rudy will give up farm life and move to a city, where they would live in crowded, squalid conditions and never be free. To Rosicky, working in a city means chaining yourself to your employer, but working on a farm means devoting yourself to the land, and the land in all its abundance provides for you in return, keeping you free. "To be a landless man was to be a wage-earner, a slave, all your life; to have nothing, to be nothing," Rosicky thinks. "Landless" is tantamount to "hopeless" and "joyless" for this character. Here are his final thoughts in that section as he approaches his own home:

That kitchen with the shining windows was dear to him; but the sleeping fields and bright stars and the noble darkness were dearer still.

That is, he loves his house and the brightness within it (his family and the love they share) but he also loves the land, the stars, and even the darkness. These last three things can't be found if you live in a city. For Rosicky, life in the country is clean, full of fresh air and "bright stars," while life in a city would be noisy and dirty, full of families squabbling and men essentially tied to the machines they work on indoors.

Read the study guide:
Neighbor Rosicky

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