Once Upon a River Quotes

Diane Setterfield
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The laws of life and death, as she had learned them, were incomplete. There was more to life, more to death, than medical science had known.
-- Narrator (The Story Travels)

Importance: Rita’s thought encompasses her mission throughout the novel. She takes it upon herself as the local medic to decipher the girl’s symptoms. Rita’s considers her experience with death and science as finality, yet the girl’s case pushed these boundaries. In the late nineteenth-century, medical science was not as developed as today. There were limited resources and references, and Rita acknowledges that even her extensive experience could not reveal the complexities of the human condition. This leaves room for guess work and interpretation that Rita did not appreciate prior. Yet, the story also attributes the girl with an otherworldly quality. Rita determines that “death had made no mark on her” body, but “nor had life” (27). This supports the notion that the...

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This section contains 2,383 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Once Upon a River Study Guide
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