Jeremiah as a Christ Figure in Peace like a River
In the novel Peace like a River, Leif Enger creates the character Jeremiah Land as a Christ figure in order to convey the character’s role as a person whose life is spent serving others. Throughout the novel, there are many miracles performed, and some seem to obviously connect with Jeremiah. The intent of making Jeremiah a Christ figure comes to fulfillment by the novel’s end, when Jeremiah sacrifices his life to save his son, Reuben. In the creation of Jeremiah as a Christ figure, Enger reminds the reader of the importance of self-abnegation and apprehension for others, attitudes that make the pains of human experience tolerable.
As stated, there are many miracles in the novel. In the beginning of the novel, Reuben sneaks outside to use the bathroom, when he sees his dad, praying in the bed if the truck and he walks straight off and continues walking without falling. At Christmas time, Davy gives Swede a saddle, but it has an unfixable break in the seam, which is miraculously fixed after Jeremiah tripping over it and bringing it up to her room. One night, after Davy had broken out of jail, Tin Lurvy stops by the Land house and is served soup, but after at least eleven bowls total were served, the pot in which it was made was more than half full.
Some miracles are very obviously connected to Jeremiah, like his walking off the truck, but there are others that are not so obvious. In the New Testament, Jesus feeds five thousand people with five loaves of bread and three fish, which connects to the somehow refilling pot of soup that Tin Lurvy kept eating. Supposedly, Jeremiah would boil water with some vinegar and that would help Reuben breathe better, but I believe it was Jeremiah himself when he made it for him.
There is a point in the novel where the miracles seem to cease. It is the arrival at Roxanna’s house. They were...