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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 166

One of the themes in The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner is death. Ruth and Joe Allston struggle with the death of their son. Years after his death, Allston constantly thinks about him and regrets not taking the time to understand him. Joe, who is also a literary expert, stops writing novels and feels lonely. He has no purpose in life and spends his time thinking about the past.

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Another interesting theme is escapism. Ruth and Joe decide to go on a trip to Denmark as a way of starting life afresh. They try to escape the fact that their son died. They do not seem to realize that they may never be the same again. Escapism is also revealed when Joe receives a postcard from a friend he met during the trip many years later. He starts to think about the trip and his wife requests him to read journals that he wrote while in Denmark so that she can also travel back in time.

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