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Argumentative paper "The bridge of san Luis Rey"

Timcago 8 / 4  
May 19, 2007   #1
Can someone edit my paper for me please?

Indeed an Accident
Thornton Wilder's, The Bridge of San Luis Ray, begins with the story of Brother Juniper, who was a Christian missionary from Northern Italy who comes to Lima to convert the Indians in Peru. He witnesses the breaking of the Bridge of San Luis Rey and studies the lives of the victims in order to prove the accident was an "Act of God" (Wilder 6). To prove his point about the accident, he studies the lives of the five victims for a period of six years. At the end of his research, he publishes an enormous book, which is rejected by the people of Peru as being inaccurate. In protest, both Brother Juniper and his book are burned. However, a copy of the book, placed on the shelf of a university library, survives to tell the story of the five victims. Although there are many connections in the book that would cause one to believe they died by fate, the logic is flawed and it was indeed an accident.

The first victim on the bridge that Brother Juniper researches is Dona Maria, the Marquesa. Dona Maria, who was deprived of love by her parents and her husband, pours her emotion and love on her daughter, who rejects her mother. Deserted by Dona Clara and frustrated in her efforts to show love and affection, the Marquesa no longer cares about life. Feeling totally uncared for, she begins to behave radically, neglecting her health and her appearance. When she finally discovers that Pepita, the child from the orphanage, truly cares for her, she is overjoyed, for it is the first time anyone has ever loved Dona Maria. She decides to take Pepita under who wing with the goal of sharing a loving relationship with this orphan child. Maria and Pepita set out on their return trip to Lima. As they walked over the Bridge of San Luis Rey, it broke, and they fell to their deaths. After the accident, Dona Marias daughter, Dona Clara, goes to the orphanage. When she sees the children, her hard heart is softened, and she wants to help. Some argue that the death of Dona Maria was a part of Gods plan to give her daughter the ability to love. This argument fails because not only did her mother die, but an innocent child who hardly got to experience life died as well. God giving Dona Clara the ability to love at the expense of an innocent child's life is ridiculous.

Esteban, the second victim that Juniper researches, and his twin are abandoned by their parents at the convent. Throughout his life, Esteban is devoted to Manuel, even when he falls in love with Camila. When his brother is injured and dying, Esteban never leaves his side. Manuel, however, turns on his twin, blaming him for destroying his relationship with Camila. When Manuel dies, Esteban is lost and feels guilty. He aimlessly wanders the streets of Lima. The Abbess, who has raised him, fears for his life. She approaches Captain Alvarado and begs him to take Esteban on his next voyage. The young man agrees and is traveling to the ship with a new purpose in life when he crosses the Bridge of San Luis Rey and loses his life. Esteban is unique in comparison to the other five victims. Unlike the other two adults, Esteban's death does not result in someone he knew discovering how to love. He simply brings tears to the eyes of all who have known him. He does share the characteristic of starting anew, but the only reasonable justification of his death is that it was an accident.

Leaving home at an early age, Uncle Pio, the last victim that Brother Juniper researches, is forced to do many odd jobs. Thanks to his determination, intellect, and craftiness, he succeeds at each task and carves a place for himself in the fashionable society of Lima. Enthralled with the theater, he adopts Camila and trains her to be an actress. In the process, he falls in love with her, but Camila deserts him, becoming the mistress of the Viceroy. Pio is miserable and lonely without her. Still hoping to forge a tie with her, he insists upon caring for her sickly son, Don Jamie, and looks forward to a life with the boy. Camila agrees because smallpox has bankrupted her financially and emotionally, and she owes Uncle Pio a reward for all he has done for her. As Uncle Pio crosses the bridge towards home with Jamie, his new purpose is lost when the Bridge falls. The argument for Dona Maria's death being fate is the same one used for Uncle Pio; except it was mostly the loss of her child that gave Camilla the desire to try to love again. This time the argument for fate is more convincing, but to say that Camilla's will to love is more important than two peoples ability to live is still ridiculous.

The three adults on the bridge had all suffered from a lack of love. As they crossed the bridge, they were heading to a new life, hoping to bring new meaning and purpose to their previously miserable existences. The new purpose for two of the adults, Uncle Pio and Dona Maria, was to give a life of love to two children who would have suffered from a lack of love. The bridge, however, deprived them of the chance to start anew when the accident occurred. Not only was there no justifiable reason for these people to die, but the probability of the Bridge of San Luis Rey collapsing was very high. The bridge is described as, "...a mere ladder of thin slats swung out over the gorge, with handrails of dried vine" (Wilder 5). It was "woven of osier by the Incas more than a century before" (5). Anyone could have died on the bridge, and the only fate involved was that at some point this old bridge was destined to fall.

Works Cited

Wilder, Thornton. The bridge of San Luis Rey. New York, N.Y.: HarperCollins, 1998.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
May 20, 2007   #2

I think you've done a good job of arguing your case. The only suggestion I would make as far as the argumentative aspect is that you might expand just a bit on why it is "ridiculous." Rather than just flatly stating that it is ridiculous, you could expand on your reasons why you believe it is.

Here are a few other editing tips:

She decides to take Pepita under her [not "who"] wing with the goal...

As they walked over the Bridge of San Luis Rey, it broke, and they fell to their deaths. - You have been writing in the present tense, so don't switch to past tense.

After the accident, Dona Maria's [add apostrophe] daughter, Dona Clara,

more important than two people's [add apostrophe] ability to live is still ridiculous.

Very good work!


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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