This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Sweet Hereafter By Russell Banks

997 words - 4 pages

The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks

Through our life experiences, we all have a different story or perception of an event that we envision to be the truth. The question is, how do we know what is the truth? In the novel by Russell Banks, "The Sweet Hereafter" tells a handful of stories from different points of view providing contrasting angles and meanings to the same event. As these stories interlock with each other and intertwine together the accounts of how each of these people cope with this tragedy, Banks helps readers explore the complexities of grief. In "Books of The Times; Small-Town Life After a Huge Calamity", Michiko Kakutani feels Banks draws on the school bus accident as a catalyst for enlightening the lives of the town's people. "It's as though he has cast a large stone into a quiet pond, then minutely charted the shape and size of the ripples sent out in successive waves." Told in a fluid stream-of-collective-consciousness the four parallel first-person narrations shows the reality and vulnerability behind the cruel twist of fate. The shifting of these tales backward and forward in time fits into the mosaic perfectly in conveying the meaning across to the readers.

Taking place in the wintertime a representative of death, the story beginning with Dolores Driscoll is told in a simple and straightforward way. Dolores describes herself as "the kind of person who always follows the manual. No shortcuts." (4). Kakutani also describes her as "the perky, well-meaning bus driver." As we follow Driscoll, we catch a glimpse into the lives of some of the townspeople in her eyes. We read into her life as if we are living in it, watching and knowing her innermost thoughts. We follow behind just like Billy Ansel, "the only eyewitness" (37) of the accident. And as we follow Billy into his life, we truly feel deeply for him. Billy has lost a sense of love as death has faced him in the eyes once too many. Billy deals with his pain by turning to alcohol abuse, he cannot deal with his mourning, "Sometimes it's not as if they have died so much as that I myself have died and become a ghost." (43). From Dolores and Billy, the central theme is slowly revealed.

The central character in which the story takes off upon is Mitchell Stephens. He is drawn into this case by his own anger. He has his own sense of suffering and confusion toward his own daughter. Stephens is torn by his urge to save her and his fear that he can't possibly do so. He recalls the flashback of his little girl as a toddler at a near death experience and him as her father while singing to her, held her life in his own hands prepared to perform an emergency tracheotomy. And in that way, Stephens' own experience...

Find Another Essay On The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks

The Dramatic Devices in Our Day Out by Willy Russell

2364 words - 9 pages The Dramatic Devices in Our Day Out by Willy Russell Willy Russell, the author of ‘Our Day Out’ was a playwright in Liverpool writing at a time when there was a high level of unemployment and a feeling that even with an education there was little work available. In the inner city areas there were low levels of literacy, schools attempted to deal with the disaffected students in special classes. Willy Russell

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF CRAZY HORSE By Russell Freedman

775 words - 3 pages Untitled Alex Olofson Period 2 Ms. Ponsford 11/20/2009 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF CRAZY HORSE By Russell Freedman Crazy horse was born in the fall of 1840 near Bear Butte on the Belle Fourche River in South Dakota, in the Black Hills. The actual place and date of his birth are uncertain. He was killed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, in 1877, so that he lived barely thirty-three years. The reason I believe they wrote

The Men WeCarry On Our Minds By Scott Russell Sand

551 words - 2 pages The beginning of the 21st century was a harder time in history for women. In "the Men we Carry on our Minds",Scott Russell Sanders tries to understand the relationships beteen power and gender.(576) He believes that women feel more pressure to be everything or to do everything. Men seem to always have more power in their everyday lives. They get the better jobs, which in turn gets them better salaries and more priviledges. Women always have to

The L-shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks

2869 words - 11 pages The L-shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks The narrator's views of social prejudice are conveyed through the experience of Jane the main character. "My father and I hadn't said a word to each other when I went home for my things. He's told me to go and I was going; he didn't care where and so why should I tell him?" The above opening quotation is from 'The L-shaped Room' written by Lynne Reid Banks. It captures an insight into the

The Effect of Summer School on Rita in Educating Rita by Willy Russell

1197 words - 5 pages The Effect of Summer School on Rita in Educating Rita by Willy Russell 'Of course; you don't do Blake without doing innocence and experience, do y?' When Frank explains to Rita that after summer school they will study William Blake, Rita says that she has already studied Blake and implies in such a way that she almost disgraces Frank. Before summer school Rita has only been taught Frank and has only learnt his ideas

Shirley's Changes in the Course of Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell

3253 words - 13 pages Shirley's Changes in the Course of Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell "Shirley Valentine" was primarily written as a monologue to express the emotions of a bored middle-aged housewife. The monologue was originally performed by the actress Pauline Collins. The monologue was adapted by Willy Russell and converted into a screenplay. Willy Russell kept most of the original devices such as the voiceovers and the

The Role of Mrs Lyons in 'Blood Brothers' by Willy Russell

1656 words - 7 pages The Role of Mrs Lyons in 'Blood Brothers' by Willy Russell Blood Brothers is a play written by Willy Russell telling the story of two twin brothers that were separated at birth, as their mother could not afford to keep the both of them. The mothers well to do employee, Mrs Lyons, hears of the mother’s problem and agrees to take in one of the boys and to raise him as her own. Later on in their life the boys meet up

Analysis of The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

971 words - 4 pages Analysis of The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks For this month’s book report I read a book called ‘The Indian in the Cupboard’ by Lynne Reid Banks. This book was about a boy named Omri and his small Indian toy. For Omri’s birthday he received a small Indian toy from a friend and a small cupboard from his brother. Omri put his Indian in the cupboard and to his surprise when he opened the cupboard the Indian toy had come to life

Book Review: Sweet Chaos, The Grateful Dead's American Adventure By Carol Brightman

788 words - 4 pages If a Deadhead was to read Carol Brightman's book Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead's American Adventure, they would be in for a great deal of disappointment. This book is not about the Dead, rather, it is about Carol Brightman's sixties adventures. People love to talk about themselves, and Brightman has found a venue for her tales of "radicalism." By putting a picture of the Grateful Dead on the cover of her book, with no reference to the true

Commentary on The Good Citizen: How a Younger Generation Is Reshaping American Politics by Russell J. Dalton

1155 words - 5 pages Many political analysts argue that engagement is an important characteristic of democracy, yet the younger generation is indifferent towards politics. They’re more interested in the latest iPhone technology than in campaigning or voting. In The Good Citizen: How a Younger Generation Is Reshaping American Politics, author Russell J. Dalton counters this with the idea that Gen X’ers are still engaged, just in a different way. The book is divided

"The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner" By Russell Taylor

371 words - 2 pages friends from the same class and background as he is. He hates policemen, who come from the working-class, but help those in higher positions. Smith also hates those who own property and those who run the country. He has a very simple view of society. Alan Sillitoe wants to show how such a person tries to fight against the system, and how he can succeed, but only by hurting himself. He does this in Smith's theory of "In-Laws" and "Out-Laws". But

Similar Essays

Psychoanalysis Of The Sweet Hereafter By Russell Banks

1130 words - 5 pages Psychoanalysis of The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks “The Sweet Hereafter” portrays the grief stricken citizens of a remote Canadian town traumatized by a terrible accident, and the impact of an ambulance-chasing lawyer who is attempting to deal with the grief in his own life. The film also depicts the grieving subjects susceptibility to convert grief and guilt into both blame and monetary gain and the transformation this small community

The Sweet Hereafter Essay

1371 words - 6 pages The Sweet Hereafter is a Canadian film that is an adaptation of the novel that is also called The Sweet Hereafter that was written by Russell Banks. The sweet Hereafter the Canadian film was written and directed by Aton Egoyan in 1997. Aton gained a lot of attention at the Sundance Film Festival for his earliest works. A few years later he broke out into the public with one of his most famous works, Exotica that was made in 1994. Later in 1997

The Sweet Hereafter: Blame And Civil Discourse

2030 words - 8 pages assign blame, responsibility and liability is the core of The Sweet Hereafter. The book was inspired by a 1989 school bus crash in south Texas which took the lives of 21 children, initiated multiple lawsuits and, in some ways, destroyed a community. In The Sweet Hereafter, Banks examines blame, responsibility, liability, lawyers, truth, greed, and the implications of community as a result of the tragedy. This horrific and unexpected event brings to

The Sweet Hereafter Before And After The Accident Synopsis

790 words - 3 pages In the final section of the novel, The Sweet Hereafter, Banks seems to be using the demolition derby setting as a place for everyone to meet and see just exactly how things have changed in the town of Sam Dent since the tragic bus accident that happened the previous winter. It serves as a place that can be compared and contrasted with how the townspeople act this year versus the previous years. It is also a place where most everyone in the town