Rituals In Steven Herrick's By The River

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In countless people's lives, the loss and grieving of a loved one, will most probably be experienced. In Steven Herrick's novel ‘by the river’ many of the characters from this novel too face the loss of loved ones as well due to death or physically leaving the town of which the novel is set in. These characters deal with the losses in a myriad of ways, however the most prominent of them would be the rituals that are undertaken to respect the person that they lost. They also try to escape the town physically and mentally, and feel the presence of their loved ones. One of the main ways that the characters cope with loss (death in particular.) is having rituals to respect the ones that they lost. After the loss of the Harrys mother the rest of the family goes to the cemetery on “the first Sunday of every month" and visit her grave. Harry and Keith’s “dad pulls weeds and sweeps cleans the marble". Another example of this would be how harry and "the ghost of the swamp" (who is later discovered as Johnny Barlow) visit Linda’s cross in the pierce swamp and leave small tokens such as a locket and "silver ring with sapphire glass" harry likes to "tend the daises" around Linda’s cross . These rituals help each of the characters to overcome the loss of a loved one in various ways. Another way the characters overcome the …show more content…

After seven years, Harry’s father is still suffering from the death of his beloved wife, to help him cope with her loss he likes to feel her presence, Harry often sees ‘his lips moving, telling mum about the adventures of our days’ and “he’d listen all night to the sound of her presence”. Similar to this Johnny also believes that “people who die don’t leave” because “you can hear their voice” Johnny likes to talk to Linda’s spirit by talking to it, ‘Linda whispers solace,’ to Johnny,” and Johnny hears’ this helps Johnny overcome the loss of one of his

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