Bridge Of San Luis Rey Character Analysis

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The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder, is an epic tale depicting the important change of selfish love to a love of compassion. On July 20th, 1714, five people are killed on the bridge of San Luis Rey in Peru. Observing these deaths, the inquisitive Brother Juniper decides to try his best to find out why God chose these particular people. Throughout the book, the life stories of these five people are told, each story portraying an incredible change from selfish love to compassion. One of these people, the Marquesa De Montemayor, demonstrates this change particularly well. The Marquesa is extremely devoted to her daughter, Dona Clara, giving every bit of her heart to her child. Because of this affection in addition to a difference in personality, Dona Clara comes to resent her mother, and the two become very much estranged. The Marquesa De Montemayor changes…show more content…
The Marquesa’s increased affections and passion for her child have exactly the opposite effect, as Dona Clara grows to be even more like her father. In her desperation to escape her mother’s suffocating affection, she deliberately chooses a marriage proposal that requires her removal to Spain, permanently distancing herself from her mother. The Marquesa takes up frequent letter writing in response, showering her daughter with her ever-increasing love through words on paper. Her daughter rarely replies, and the two become even more distant over miscommunications. The Marquesa does not understand her daughter’s coldness and cannot comprehend why her love is not returned, though she does realize that she loves her daughter out of selfishness. “Though her love for her daughter was vast enough to include all the colors of love, it was not without a shade of tyranny: she loved her daughter not for her daughter’s sake, but for her own.”
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