Analysis Of The Sweet Hereafter By Russell Banks

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The novel “The Sweet Hereafter” by Russell Banks is about a bus accident where many children have

died, and the suffering of their families. In this novel grief is portrayed as a destructive force. The

author is saying that when individuals lack support and do not have a strong mind set, the way they

grieve is destructive. In the novel, the author is portraying the Ottos, Nichole, and Billy as the ones who

don't have much support in their life, which causes them not to have a strong mind set.

The Ottos are devastated over the loss of their adopted son, Bear, who died from the impact during the

bus accident. Bear's parents grieve over the loss by becoming house ridden and isolating themselves

from others. “ Though he was all sinew and bone, he look fragile- as though a friendly clap on the s
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impact of Bear's death has on the Ottos, Hartley Otto; Bear's father is known for being a healthy skinny

man, after Bear's death he became depressed, eating a limited amount of food leaving him in a state

where he doesn't want to do anything or go anywhere but wanting to grieve over the loss, causing him

to lose weight. Another quote that relates the Ottos being house ridden and isolating themselves is

when Mitchell Stephans described their place “ The place smelled like wood smoke and

applesauce.”(Banks 114) meaning they have stayed in their house for a while if there is smell coming

from it, and the Ottos did try isolate themselves from others, they didn't bother to make their house

look presentable to others as well as themselves.

Nichole was one of the lucky ones to survive the bus accident, however being paralyzed from the waist

down leaves her in a wheelchair. Nichole grieved for the children who died in the accident by lying in

the courtroom to not turn their deaths into a profit. “ Mr. Stephans in a voice so low only I could
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