By chance, a monk witnesses the tragedy.
Part Five - Perhaps an Intention Summary Having introduced us to the victims of the bridge's fall, the narrator now tells us how Brother Juniper-the outsider concerned who desires to make a "scientific investigation" p.
It seems Juniper knew a student who viewed life with cynicism and bitterness, who was convinced that existence was meaningless and entirely random. Juniper, therefore, makes it his mission to provide empirical proof of divine providence. His first such undertaking is a tabulation of the value of those who have died in a pestilence in a small village, his own "dear village of Puerto.
To his surprise however, the "saddening data" shows the opposite: Prompted by the student's story of hearing a deceased woman's family, friends, and acquaintances relate nothing but positive things about her, Juniper begins interviewing those who knew the five victims. He is determined to discover, in the stories of their lives, some reason why they were as he believes chosen by God to die in that place, on that day.
When he finishes his book about the victims, Juniper "thought he saw in the accident the wicked visited by destruction and the good called early to Heaven. Calling twice on the name of St. Francis, Brother Juniper is burned at the stake.
The narrator elects to tell about only a few portions of the aftermath of the fall of the bridge of San Luis Rey.
The Perichole seeks love, for she knows that she failed to love Uncle Pio and Jaime. Second, and finally, we learn that Clara, daughter of the Marquesa, also visits the Abbess, bringing with her the Marquesa's final letter, with its stirring passage on love.
Seizing the moment, she shows Clara the good work that she is doing at her convent for the sick. The novel ends with the Abbess' dawning realization that love is what unites the living and the dead, and is what gives the world meaning, "the only meaning.
What reader familiar with the Bible, for instance as Wilder certainly was would not think of the serpent tempting Eve-notably, to "the knowledge of good and evil" that makes one "as God"-when reading how this student "whispered into the Franciscan's ear such thoughts and anecdotes as belied the notion of a guided world" p.
Readers should not assume that Wilder wants us to literally believe the university scholar to be a demonic actor, but the allusion is strong and does allow us to view Brother Juniper, like Eve, as placed in a situation where a clear choice between right and wrong, obedience and disobedience, grace and sin, life and death exists.
The irony of Brother Juniper's case, as outlined in this final section of the novel, is that, by responding as he does to "many such sneers at faith" p.
How can faith be given empirical, scientific, unassailable proof that leaves no room for honest human doubt? In seeking to justify God's ways to humanity, and even in arriving at conclusions that have all too often been accepted as "orthodox," Juniper seals his fate in being condemned by the church as a "heretic.
He, too, reduces real, human people to objects-fit merely for placement in his tables of "value," things merely to be studied and scrutinized. He, too, no less than those who died on the bridge of San Luis Rey, ultimately fails to love. Unlike some of the victims, however, Juniper gives no indication that he is on the cusp of learning how to love before he perishes.
Notably, Juniper calls only on the name of Saint Francis-"not daring," the narrator informs us, "to call upon a greater name, since he seemed so open to error in these matters" p. As the epistle of James with which, as we have already seen, Wilder's novel shares some thematic concerns could have instructed Juniper, true religion is a matter of love: True religion is connection with fellow human beings while remaining apart from worldly attitudes and presuppositions.
Brother Juniper's religion does not meet these criteria. Certainly, for Wilder, she exemplifies love.
She shows love to the Perichole: And she shows Clara the works of love that she is doing for the ill who lie in the Abbey. They would be alone were it not for her; those who would otherwise have to be counted among those "out in the dark."On Friday noon, July the twentieth, , the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below." With this celebrated sentence Thornton Wilder begins The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of the towering achievements in American fiction and a novel read throughout the world.
By chance, a monk witnesses the tragedy.5/5(1). The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder About the Book Set in colonial Peru in the early 18th century, The Bridge of San Luis Rey interweaves the stories of five people who. “There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” ― Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a novel I had never heard of prior to picking up a copy of it in the Met gift store. It wasn't even until I got back to my dorm room and put this book on my shelf that I realized it was written by Thornton Wilder, the brilliant.
The Bridge Of San Luis Rey Summary SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey is an adaptation of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning novel. It is not a particularly successful adaptation, especially in comparison with Sam Wood's film version of Wilder's play, Our Town.
"The Bridge of San Luis Rey" is a simple unpretentious tale a mere novella that imparts a strong and powerful message. The gist of the story is that an ancient bridge in Peru collapses while five people are on it and fall to their death/5(91). Sunday June 4, starting at p.m. thousands of people from the tri-state area will join together for the annual Cross the Bridge for Life. Participants of all ages demonstrate support for protection for all human life from conception to natural death with a peaceful walk across the “Purple People Bridge” spanning the Ohio River. The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a work that must be read more than one time, because it changes over time. Not that the text or the words or the narrative change, but we as readers and people change over time. Wilder strikes at the core of what it means to be human which is why this work in particular has conquered the test of time.4/5().