Sounder By William Armstrong Theme Essay

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“It’s hard to reset a plant if it’s wilted too much; the life has gone out of it. But...I see new leaves startin’.” This quote from the teacher in Sounder, the novel by William H. Armstrong, is a metaphor for the universal theme that life will continue despite pain, suffering, and loss. The boy from Sounder as well as George Gibbs and Mrs. Webb from Thornton Wilder’s Our Town survive the deep sorrow of losing loved ones. After great struggles, however, life is renewed. These three characters, separated by generations, experience different challenges, yet they share the common bond of loss and rebirth while remaining fundamentally hopeful and optimistic. The boy in Sounder suffers profound loss when his father is imprisoned and his dog is injured. The boy has cried many tears, yet he stays hopeful that his dog will be all right and that his father will come home again. The boy’s mother comments on her son’s youthful approach to life saying, “Child, child, you must not go into the woods again. Sounder might come home again. But you must learn to lose, child.” Even though the mother accepts her family’s…show more content…
Webb represents life after loss in Our Town. A kind, simple woman and a good mother and friend, Mrs. Webb grieves the death of both of her children. First, years ago, her young son died of a burst appendix. Later, her daughter Emily dies in childbirth. Having outlived both her children, Mrs. Webb’s life goes on in Grover’s Corners. From the grave, her daughter Emily asks the Stage Manager, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? - every, every minute?” Emily has a unique perspective because she is dead and wishes that everyone could appreciate life while they are living it. Emily’s insight emphasizes that time is short for the living. Even after great loss, it is important that Mrs. Webb move forward. She has continued living after the death of one child, and sadly, she will find the strength to do it
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