The Great Alone Themes & Motifs

Kristin Hannah
This Study Guide consists of approximately 134 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Great Alone.
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Trauma, Alcoholism, and Domestic Violence

The first part of The Great Alone gives a sympathetic depiction of post-traumatic stress disorder and its side effects; Cora and Leni support Ernt’s trauma as an illness. Cora in particular raises Leni to understand Ernt’s behavior as a symptom of his pain: “It’s like his back is broken, Mama had said, and you don’t stop loving a person when they’re hurt. You get stronger so they can lean on you. He needs me. Us” (7). In the novel’s earliest chapters, Leni and Cora still hope that Ernt may improve; they believe that his trauma will be, just like any other illness, capable of improvement if they can find the right treatment. Cora strongly believes that the necessary treatment is love, and she encourages Leni to explain away Ernt’s volatile behavior by interpreting it as noble...

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This section contains 5,818 words
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