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Peace Like a River: (17 & 18) The Little Man’s Country, Winning Her Hand October 14, 2006

Posted by heatherelle in Peace Like A River by Leif Enger.

Leave your comments for Chapters 17 & 18 here!



1. heather - October 14, 2006

Let me just say at the outset that JAPES WALTZER CREEPS ME OUT!!!!!!!

2. heather - October 14, 2006

Loved Reuben’s musings about Creation when he’s riding with Davy:

“I thought of God making it all, picking up handfuls of whatever material, iron and other stuff, rolling it in His fingers like nubby wheat. The picture I had was of God taking these rough pellets by the handful and casting them gently, like a man planting. Look at the Milky Way. It has the pattern, doesn’t it, of having been cast there by the back-and-forward sweep of His arm?” p. 224

3. Bethany - October 14, 2006

Yes, I agree loved that description.

And yes Japes Waltzer Creeps me out too!!!! And the Sarah thing with him ewwwwwww

4. Ashleigh - October 15, 2006

I love how quickly Reuben and Swede form a mother-child type bond with Roxanna. It’s as if she comes in and quickly, lovingly fills a void within their hearts. She fufills that longing for a mother.

Reuben says, “How quickly I’d come to expect Roxanna to make a big deal of me! And how kind she was not to disappoint — at my appearance she smiled, pressed her palm against my forehead, a sensation I enjoyed, remaked on my sturdy constitution to recover so fast, and introduced me to a bowl of vegetable soup. Swede ate too, while Roxanna worked in the kitchen beside us, thumping up crust for a pie. Things were close to perfect” (pp. 241-242).

Also, it’s great how Reuben is oblivious to the romance blooming between Jeremiah and Roxanna, while Swede is quick to notice. I thought the passage about Jeremiah knocking at the door and Swede refusing to let Reuben answer it was quite funny.

Oh, and what a beautiful description as Reuben describes Roxanna answering the door and the appearance of his father. It carries with it the beauty of what courtship and love can look like. He tells us, “When Dad stepped inside, still wearing that weightless expression, Roxanna reached and took his hand. I didn’t hear what she said but can see their hands touching — not a passionate clasp but an easy timeless transaction as old as Scripture. Then Dad’s hand let go and for just a moment encircled Roxanna’s waist — he was laughing — and when he turned to us he’d never appeared stronger or more like himself r more capable of stepping up to what might be required” (pp. 243-244).

5. Karen - October 16, 2006

Japes Waltzer!!! Gross. Reminds me of that wierdo in Utah with all the child brides…or maybe a customer of the guy in Utah. So wrong!
And the finger thing. What a mess!!
I still so love Roxanne.

6. Bethany - October 16, 2006

Ashleigh I love the Reuben oblivious to Roxanna and Jeremiah…so like a little boy. Too cute.

And yes Karen that finger thing was totally gross.

7. Chalene - October 16, 2006

Okay, I totally agree with all yall. I don’t know if any of you read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, but Waltzer totally reminds me of Duke who is, in my opinion, the villain I hate the most out of ALL literature villains. He is totally creepy and I wonder if ther’re going to put him in the movie and who’s going to play him. I heard Billb Bob Thorton is going to be in it but he can’t be Waltzer. He’s too skinny and puney.
Oh, but how refreshing it was to read that Jerimiah decided to sleep out in the frigid cold camper out of the realization that it would be inapropriate and unsafe to sleep under the same roof with the woman that you love and are not married to yet.
It just tickles me whenever Leif will incorporate biblical stories into Jerimaiah’s life. Like when Roxanna basically was put to sleep by the overwhelming peace and comfort of God while Jerimiah restled with God over the putrid fed. Books like this always stirs up that gift of imagination and creativity in imagining the greatness and beauty in God.

8. Jane Swanson - October 16, 2006

Love Roxanna and all that you all have been saying about her.
Ashleigh, LOVE your post about her.

9. heather - October 16, 2006

Ashleigh, Well-said about Roxanna! It’s refreshing to read a story in which a woman’s inner beauty is championed! I love how, in the children’s eyes, Roxanna has a “moment of transfiguration,” to borrow Swede’s words, and all that inner beauty they’ve witnessed and been touched by actually changes her appearance to them. She goes from being described as this: “Big-boned, yes, but not in the cushiony sense people often mean; tall; dirt-road blond hair in a back-swung braid; windburned in the face. She looked like some woman from a polar dogsled expedition recounted in the Geographic. She looked, I would say, built to last, (p. 177) to this: “…she, all Frenchbraided, scarf unslung, resembled an opportunity missed by Rembrandt.” p. 199.

10. heather - October 16, 2006

I felt so sorry for Reuben in that moment when he was being questioned by Japes about no one leading him there. In his thoughts he starts going through all the miracles that have brought them to this place, admitting that “even the putrid fed had been part of the old rod and staff employed by the Lord to goose us along.” p. 234. He understands that Japes WOULD believe him if he admitted the truth about the Lord’s leading, yet he is so shaken by Japes response to his assumed prayer, he decides to chalk it up to coincidence, “I guess we had great luck.”

He mentions Japes “looked at me with eyes from a dead photograph.” p. 234 As I said before, this guy creeps me out! If it weren’t for his creepiness, I might have found the whole squealing pig thing kind of funny, especially as Reuben compares himself “with that other ratfink, the Apostle Peter” …and “this squealing fiend was my rooster!” Instead I just feel sorry for him, as his fear of this man is literally choking off his airways as the night progresses. Then there’s that last chilling moment where Japes “smiled to reassure me, but in his eyes I saw the same dead country through which I’d just come.”

11. heather - October 16, 2006

This was a great quote, when Reuben sneaks out for the second time with Davy, only this time he’s sneaking out on his Dad instead of just Swede: “You can embark on new and steeper versions of your old sins, you know, and cry tears while doing it that are genuine as any.” p. 248 It really speaks to the bondage of sin, and the futility of responding to it with feelings of guilt alone. It’s one thing to know you’ve done something wrong, it’s another thing to repent and turn from those sins. Reuben even refers to this later on that same page when he says “But after talking with Dad, it was plain to me Davy had done a grievous wrong. Don’t misunderstand, I backed my brother all the way. Yet it had come to mean something whether he felt anything like repentence.”

12. heather - October 16, 2006

Chalene, Their courtship is very sweet! I love where Reuben is thinking that his Dad has to know Roxanna loves him already, yet he (his Dad) doesn’t want it pointed out to him. He doesn’t want to rush things. “Why sprint thorugh such sweet country? How often does a man get to use phrases like ‘winning her hand’? And it wasn’t just talk; he truly meant to win it.” p. 254 And that’s just what the whole thing is! Very sweet, very innocent, very pure!

13. Bethany - October 17, 2006

Heather I to felt sorry for Reuben during the whole pig and Peter comparison. How awful. Although I can relate to what he is feeling and that fear of not wanting to tell the whole truth or the truth as I see it. How many times have we been choked by a similar fear of telling the truth about our faith.

14. Danielle - October 17, 2006

I thought the part where Reuben is confronted by Japes about how they were led there was great. He’s confronted with a skeptic who chides his moment of prayer, so he’s intimidated, knowing it would sound silly, even if he did think Japes would believe him. I can relate to Reuben here.

Japes is a lot like Davy. He doesn’t want to believe there’s anything you can’t put you mind to and do on your own strength. He doesn’t want to believe there’s a higher power to thank for your meal other than himself. Even Reuben’s lack of ability to breath annoys him and embarrasses him.

“I’ll teach you how to breathe,” Japes tells Reuben. I’m not so sure Japes would have believed Reuben.

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