The Sweet Hereafter Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Sweet Hereafter.
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Community Grief

The book explores how grief is approached when a community is presented with a large-scale tragedy like the school bus accident. Immediate families are affected, of course, but the collective group of Sam Dent citizens is impacted and as a result, the area will never be the same. Billy Ansel explains that “a town that loses its children loses its meaning” and Sam Dent indeed becomes a different place – one many try to escape by moving away or abusing alcohol. Sam Dent becomes a community of two eras: the town before the accident and the town struggling to find new meaning after the tragedy.

Just as the community grieves together, it also searches for answers together. The residents try to compensate their heartbreak with group lawsuits or reassure each other the accident is God’s will. The demolition derby marks a point of healing for the community...

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This section contains 870 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Sweet Hereafter Study Guide
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