The River Why Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is Carolina's philosophy about the human fetus?

Carolina believes that the normal human fetus is not a swimmer. "The fetus", she says, "is an awkward alien in the liquid environment: a groping land creature confused by its immersion and anxious to escape." Carolina believes that her second son felt this way and, therefore, was normal. But her first son, Gus, loved the water and, therefore, was not normal.

2. Why does Zeke tell the story of how Henning and Carolina met, and why does he tell it in the fashion that he does?

Zeke apparently tells the story to amuse and annoy. He amuses the relatives that he tells the story to because he tells it in two parts mimicking Henning. In the first part, he tells the story using the diction that Henning uses in his sports writing. In the second part he mocks Henning by using a drawl that Henning would give to the cowpoke that he met on that day--not knowing the cowpoke was a female. Perhaps Zeke has a dislike for his brother-in-law though the reader is not told this at this point.

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