By the River

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By The River

Jack Hodgins displays a significant contrast in character between the husband and wife in “By the River”. Crystal Styan’s selfless and meek personality is evidently over powered by her narrow-minded spouse, Jim Styan. Their ambitions and desires in life are on completely different paths, making their marriage surprising. Every aspect involving life goals, care for tasks, and priorities differ between Crystal and Jim.

The ambitions and desired lifestyles of Crystal and Jim are of two completely opposite ideas. When Crystal was younger, she dreamt of going “to study at a university” (6). Jim disregarded this with his own desire for “a life on the road” (6) with no restrictions or structure. His need for the isolated farmer lifestyle had no room for Crystal’s city life dream.. While Crystal expected to have a baby in the near future, Jim would not give having a baby a second thought until his dream farm was established. Due to Jim’s ambitious ideas, he had an impulsive and careless way in doing things while Crystal proceeding carefully with caution.

The care put into the actions of Jim and Crystal are very opposite. Jim’s choice to start a farm on land with horrid farming conditions was not a very well thought out plan. In result to this and his lack of care, their animals had “frozen to death in the yard” (19). Crystal had grown up on her father’s farm, where everything had been properly treated and cared for. Because of this example, she learnt the proper and improper way in doing things. Jim’s impulsive idea to bring home a cow showed his carelessness and improper preparation skills. The Loss of the cow was a result to his poor actions. Caution is showed by Crystal when her hair was “tied back so the branches [would] not catch in it” (3), and when “she holds her skirt up a little so it won’t be caught or ripped” (9) as she journeyed to the railroad to greet Jim. These two very different personality traits lead each person’s...
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