Peace Like a River

by Leif Enger

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What role do the miracles serve in the development of the plot of Peace Like a River ?

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I thought you might get another perspective on Peace Like a River from someone else, but I see no one has answered you yet so here I am again. The first incident in the novel is a miracle, and so is the last. In terms of plot, then, miracles are present from beginning to end. Though Reuben is never sure whether his father asks for miracles to happen or whether they simply happen without his volition, he is certain that they occur because he experienced one in the first moments of his life. If one were to diagram the plot of this novel, one would find that every major action is also marked by a miracle. For example, Jeremiah is dramatically fired from his job as school custodian (a major life change), and the man who fired him (because he hates him) is healed of terrible boils on his face. This is a pattern throughout the work. In the most general terms, anything can happen in a story which begins and ends with a major miracle.

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