October, 10, 2012
In Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River the reader is introduced to many characters who portray numerous similarities which contribute to the noticeable differences between Jape Waltzer and Jeremiah Land. The foil between the two major characters is uncanny and gives a clear representation of Good and Evil. Jape Waltzer, a strange man whom lives separated from society in the mountains poses a very imminent threat to those around him. It is this dangerous nature that foreshadows what is to come later in the book. He blatantly shows his dark side in the book on different occasions but none more than the time when he kills Jeremiah and Rueben. Waltzers disposition towards forcing his personal views on others puts him in a position to be as bad as he wants whenever because it is this feeling of superiority that lets him hurt anyone.
While Jape is a clear antagonist, Jeremiah Land is the obvious protagonist and this is shown through his steadfast beliefs in God. Jeremiah shows his unique moral character through his good intentions and care for his family. His “miracles” prove to be the counter part of Jape and his killing nature throughout the book. This contrast is proven when Reuben survives after being born and is unable to breathe for a full twelve minutes. "When you are seven years old there's nothing as lovely and tragic as telling your friends you were just about dead once. It made Dad my hero, as you might expect, won him my forgiveness for anything he might do forever... The answer, it seems to me now, lies in the miracles"