Where the Lilies Bloom

by Vera Cleaver, Bill Cleaver

Start Free Trial

In Where the Lilies Bloom, why did the Luthers have to move?    

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is a very interesting question, because if we examine the Luthers and the way in which their situation deterioriates, we can see that gradually there is a move away from a civilised life towards a more primitive existence that makes them more exposed in every sense. Although initially they are able to remain in their house, in winter, the roof falls in, leaving them with a massive hole in the middle of the house which gives the weather and animals a chance to enter. Finally, near the end of the book, as your question tells us, the Luthers suffer such poverty that they are forced to move from their shack into a cave. The text describes them as being like "troglodytes," who are little goblin-like creatures who live in caves.

Although the situation that the Luther children confront is clearly dire, the text uses this gradual slide towards primitivism to suggest a link between the children and a closeness to nature. Throughout all of their struggles, however, the children manage to survive, and even, at stages, thrive, showing the indomitable human spirit in the face of crushing poverty.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team