The Theme Of Conflict In 'Swimming Upstream' By Joseph Boyden

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Dealing with conflict is a constant struggle in many people’s everyday life. In the two texts, “Swimming Upstream” by Beth Brant and The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, two characters are shown to experience conflict within society. Christophe, from The Orenda is a charismatic Jesuit missionary devoting his life to convert the Huron, while Anna May is a homosexual in an unaccepting society. Besides their daily endurance with injustice, they also deal with the internal struggle of guilt. Both Christophe and Anna May are trapped within their own guilt as they blame themselves for the death of those around them. To cope with their pain, they gain peace and solace through nature. The factor of nature is an attribute which helps them in their journey to acceptance. Thus, through close …show more content…

Anna May lost her son, Simon, when he drowned on a fishing trip with her ex-husband, Tony. Every night since, she welcomed dreams that were once nightmares of her son’s death. Her dreams are the crippling hold of the past that refuses to let go, reminding her of her loss every day. During Anna May’s trip away from home, she begins to develop guilt as she thought about all she could have done to prevent Simon’s death, which becomes evident when she states, “she should have placated Tony; she should have lived alone; she should have pretended to be straight she should have never became an alcoholic; she should have never loved; she should have never been born. Let go! She cried somewhere inside her” (Brant 160-161). Anna May believes she is to blame for Simon’s death and cannot afford to forgive herself, nor Tony. It is not until she comes across a salmon battling the currents that she begins her journey to acceptance. Anna May encounters a vivid epiphany as she realizes that the salmon’s struggle mirrors her own internal struggles of forgiveness. She finally learns to accept when she arrives at the telephone booth. Although it is not clear who she is calling,

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