Saints At The River Essay

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Danielle Lubin 8/17/11 Prompt #3 The most interesting parts of the novel, Saints at the River, were the ethical dilemmas presented to each individual character. The ethical dilemmas reflected on their roles in society, parts they play in the novel, and as individuals. Each character had some sort of an opinion, however; while some were passionate and relentless about theirs, others were vacillating from one side to the other throughout the entire novel. Clearly the main decision to be made was whether to disturb the river’s natural state and violate the Wild and Scenic River’s Act of 1978 to get Ruth’s body out of the encircling rapids of the Tamassee River or to leave it alone. Although there seems to be only two sides, there are many conflicting opinions within the seemingly simplistic viewpoints. The nature extremists in the novel, such as Luke Miller and his band of followers, will just about risk their lives to protect the Tamassee. They live by that river like a true Catholic lives by The Bible. They think that if the parents are allowed to bring in dams and such to stop the natural state of the river in order to collect their daughter’s remains, it would not only violate the law but also set a precedent that would then welcome more exceptions for the river to be disturbed. As much as Luke claims he cares about the river’s state of being, it seems that he’s more worried about the actual principle of it and the fear of future disturbances of the Tamassee. Ruth’s parents, Ellen and Herb Kowalsky, obviously did not care at all about the laws they would violate, they were miserable over the loss of their daughter and were willing to fight endlessly to get her body out and give her a proper burial. The local farmers like Maggie’s dad, cousins, and friends, were not clear on the side they were on. They felt bad for the Kowalsky’s and were sick of being told

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