The Bridge of San Luis Rey Commentary

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In his novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Wilder develops his conceptual theme of bringing courage into life through an array of literary techniques including atmosphere characterization, diction, irony, flashback, and personification in order to portray character analysis and development . Wilder exploits his own point of view and position on the subject of love in life through the lessons learned by the Condesa.

              The initial dialogue between Pepita and the Condesa creates a barren and desolate, seemingly lonely atmosphere. When Pepita is questioned upon the letters concerning Madre Maria del Pilar, she abruptly changes the subject and refers back to her duties. She further responds to the Condesa with polite yet often hesitant and wary remarks, feeling as if "she had a made a mistake" (Wilder 40). Wilder is displaying the character of Pepita, a precautious and apprehensive child who is eager to please. Through the discourse Wilder further depicts the character of Dona Maria. The author highlights upon Dona Maria's naiveté and desperation as she chooses to send letters that "piteously asked her daughter how much she loved her" (41). Wilder is illustrating Dona Maria's delicate yet desperate nature.

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            Upon Pepita's disposal of the letter the Condesa at last realizes one central theme to the novel that Wilder presents. The intent of the author's philosophy is conveyed through Dona Maria's realization of what precisely life is. Dona Maria ultimately grasps that "she had never brought courage to either life or love" (41). Wilder The entire existence of Dona Maria was filled with lack of courage, and now she realizes the importance of bringing courage into life. Wilder further uses personification to emphasize Dona Maria's ultimate understanding of the significance of life, as the ...

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