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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 572

In this novel, Andric highlights the conflicts, drama, and lives of the small Bosnian town of Visegrad, as he focuses on the established stone bridge that serves as a type of monument to the endurance of Bosnians over centuries. The following quote illustrates this:

But misfortunes do not last forever...

(The entire section contains 572 words.)

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In this novel, Andric highlights the conflicts, drama, and lives of the small Bosnian town of Visegrad, as he focuses on the established stone bridge that serves as a type of monument to the endurance of Bosnians over centuries. The following quote illustrates this:

But misfortunes do not last forever (this they have in common with joys) but pass away or are at least diminished and become lost in oblivion. Life on the kapia always renews itself despite everything and the bridge does not change with the years or with the centuries or with the most painful turns in human affairs. All these pass over it, even as the unquiet waters pass beneath its smooth and perfect arches.

The next quote speaks to the historical significance of the bridge to the people of the community:

This hard and long building process was for them a foreign task undertaken at another's expense. Only when as the fruit of this effort, the great bridge arose, men began to remember details and to embroider the creation of a real, skillfully built and lasting bridge with fabulous tales which they well knew how to weave and to remember.

The bridge is the setting for much suffering, from large, national conflicts to personal, pivotal moments of characters' lives. For example, one man risks his life's fortunes gambling on the bridge; another man dies on the bridge when he tries to interfere with its erection; and a woman throws herself from the bridge to avoid an arranged marriage.

. . . life was an incomprehensible marvel, since it was incessantly wasted and spent, yet none the less it lasted and endured 'like the bridge on the Drina'.

Throughout the novel, Andric examines the lives and convictions of many groups of people of various ethnicities, religions, nationalities, beliefs, etc. The following two quotes illustrate these aspects.

They looked at the paper and saw nothing in those curving lines, but they knew and understood everything, for their geography was in their blood and they felt biologically their picture of the world.

Every human generation has its own illusions with regard to civilization; some believe they are taking part in its upsurge, others that they are witnesses of its extinction. In fact, it always both flames and smolders and is extinguished, according to the place and the angle of view.

The theme of conflict is present throughout the book, as Andric presents the centuries of turmoil in the Balkan region to the rest of the world.

Whenever a government feels the need of promising peace and prosperity to its citizens by means of a proclamation, it is time to be on guard and expect the opposite.

The novel presents the bridge as a symbol of hope and endurance for many, as generations sought life and peace in a troubled region.

For only thus, living each moment separately and looking neither forward nor back, could such a life be borne and a man keep himself alive in hope of better days.

Also, Andric provides perspective on the events of the Balkan region and the impact of generations of humanity.

Desire is like a wind, it sifts the dust from one place to another, sometimes darkens the whole horizon, but in the end calms down and leaves the old and eternal picture of the world. Lasting deeds are realized on this earth only by God’s will, and man is only His humble and blind tool.

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