Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River

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Roxanna Crawley Character Analysis

Roxanna lives in the middle of the Badlands and operates a gas pump on her property. While Reuben doesn't think she's beautiful when they first meet her, he later decides that she is stunning. She briefly dates and then marries Jeremiah, and quickly and easily steps into the role of mother to Swede and Reuben, showering them with attention and understanding. Roxanna is immediately loyal to Jeremiah and his family, and she shares Jeremiah's deep belief in God. She is shown to be, in a sense, a disciple of Jeremiah, just like Reuben is.

Roxanna Crawley Quotes in Peace Like a River

The Peace Like a River quotes below are all either spoken by Roxanna Crawley or refer to Roxanna Crawley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Grove Atlantic edition of Peace Like a River published in 2002.
The Skin Bag Quotes

I thought it was odd, the trainman not recognizing him and raising a stink, but Swede pointed out that this sort of thing happened all the time. How many times did Zorro gallop magnificently out of town, everyone watching, then show up five minutes later as Diego, still breathing hard? And no one ever figured that out.

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Swede Land, Roxanna Crawley
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

Roxanna is telling Reuben and Swede about her great-uncle, a gunsmith and a doctor who dabbled in outlawry with Butch Cassidy. Her great-uncle occasionally patched up the very people he shot and they supposedly didn't notice, which Reuben finds suspect. Notice here how Reuben is willing to suspend his disbelief for a fictional tale (Zorro), but not for a tale that's meant to be taken as fact and history (Roxanna’s story). This suggests that Reuben is developing critical thinking skills and growing up. However, Reuben doesn't necessarily make the connection that an integral part of fiction is that a reader or viewer is asked outright to suspend their disbelief (in fact, doing so is essential to enjoying the story). Instead, he's still taking fiction as fact, which indicates that while he's certainly on his way to growing up and attaining maturity, he's not there yet.

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Under the Gibbon Moon Quotes

Were Dad's heart my tablet I'd have taken it up and erased Davy's name, so terribly did I wish to stay, and had it been whispered to me that all of Roofing had burned... I'd have rolled down the window and shouted thanks to Heaven...

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Jeremiah Land (Dad), Davy Land, Roxanna Crawley
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:

As the Lands and Roxanna head out into the snow for a picnic, Reuben thinks that he desperately wants to stay in North Dakota. Reuben finds in this moment that his loyalty has shifted greatly. While he still feels loyalty and responsibility to Dad and Swede, his loyalty to Davy and Roofing seem to be waning. This passage is an indication that the search for Davy won't bring the kind of fulfillment that the Lands are looking for, since more important things have emerged. Roxanna at this point, for example, seems more deserving of Reuben's loyalty, given the care and kindness she shows the Lands. Reuben wishes here that he could influence the power of religion, since that's what's guiding Dad, and make it lead Dad to a decision to stay with Roxanna.

The Throbbing Heart of News Quotes

Led? This was supposed to mean the Lord was in charge and paving your way, such as letting you get fired so you'll be free to leave town, or sending you an Airstream you can go in comfort. Dad knew something about being led, I realized, yet this I could not buy.

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Jeremiah Land (Dad), Roxanna Crawley, Martin Andreeson
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

Reuben has returned to Roxanna's house after riding with Davy to discover that Dad has gone out driving with Mr. Andreeson. Roxanna explains that Dad was led to do so.

Reuben's reasoning shows how intent he is on viewing Andreeson as an enemy. Despite the fact that Dad's firing was exceptionally cruel and made it seem as though God wasn't taking care of Dad, Reuben has evidently been able to make sense of it and fit it into his narrative. In the case of Andreeson, however, Reuben doesn't just see it as a lapse of God's oversight, he sees it as a betrayal by Dad himself. By partnering with Andreeson, Reuben sees that Dad is giving up on the entire project of the Land family's journey west to find Davy. Reuben feels betrayed, as it seems as though Dad has switched sides and decided to support the system of justice that wishes to put Davy behind bars. Reuben can't believe that God would stand for such a thing after leading them so far.

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Roxanna Crawley Character Timeline in Peace Like a River

The timeline below shows where the character Roxanna Crawley appears in Peace Like a River. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Something Warm
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
...later dressed for the outdoors. She fills their tank and tells Dad her name is Roxanna. Dad suggests she changes the name of the pump to "Roxanna's Oil," and then asks... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Reuben, Swede, and Dad wait inside while Roxanna fills the propane tank. A nanny goat and her blind kid live in the bathroom.... (full context)
The Skin Bag
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Roxanna serves her guests a fantastic meal. Dad looks content and Swede appears deep in thought.... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
As Roxanna talks, Dad leans back and seems very happy at how their evening is playing out.... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...someone thumping his back. In his confusion Reuben tries to break free, but sees that Roxanna is the one hitting his back. After 20 minutes Reuben's breathing eases. Roxanna goes downstairs... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...for her. The house is empty, and Reuben looks out Dad's window. He sees Dad, Roxanna, and Swede shoveling a path to the barn. Reuben tries to yell for them to... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...deep snow and the fact that Dad decided they're going to stay another night with Roxanna. Reuben is too engrossed in his own self-pity and says that they're not going to... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
...confesses that she really did forget about Davy for a while. She says she likes Roxanna, and they agree that it's better they stay. Reuben says to the reader that the... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...that running from law enforcement is a privilege and they shouldn't blow it by telling Roxanna about their situation. Swede wants to swear an "appalling oath" in blood, like Tom and... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...county snowplows days to reach the house, so Reuben and Swede fill their days helping Roxanna with chores. One day, as Roxanna cleans out the goat pen, Reuben asks her why... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Roxanna explains that her great-uncle Howard had been a gunsmith and a doctor and was known... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Dad enters and says that the snowplows are coming. He tells Roxanna that they can settle up and leave tomorrow. Reuben and Swede can barely stand the... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
When Reuben and Swede enter the kitchen for supper, they find Roxanna standing at the counter. She turns around and smiles at the children, holding a full... (full context)
Under the Gibbon Moon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...reader might find the picnic basket in the middle of winter confusing, and rightly so. Roxanna, however, knows that the middle of winter in the Badlands is a wonderful time for... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Roxanna tells Dad to park and then leads them up a hill. When they look down... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
As Roxanna dishes up food out of her Dutch oven, Dad points out that Martin Andreeson is... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Roxanna remains silent through all of this. Reuben tells the reader that judging by the look... (full context)
The Throbbing Heart of News
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...horse away. Reuben rushes to deliver the eggs to Swede and then return to Davy. Roxanna hears Reuben say he saw a horseman and says it's probably Lonnie Ford, a local... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Davy asks about Roxanna, and Reuben gives a cursory explanation. Reuben suggests that Davy come down to Roxanna's to... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...his horse, pulls Reuben up behind him, and moves off to take him back to Roxanna's. (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...Reuben continues to panic about not seeing Davy again. When they reach the hill behind Roxanna's, Reuben shamefully tells Davy that he'll tell Dad if Davy doesn't show him where he... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
When Reuben enters Roxanna's house, Swede is grumpily mixing up frosting for cinnamon rolls. Swede asks if Reuben was... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Roxanna tries to show Reuben how he was led to do things too, like purchase groceries... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Roxanna tells Reuben and Swede that Butch Cassidy didn't die in Bolivia; rather, he died in... (full context)
The Little Man's Country
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...Reuben loses track of time. Finally they come upon a valley like the one where Roxanna took the Lands to picnic, but this one is far less impressive. Reuben is disappointed... (full context)
Winning Her Hand
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...him off behind the barn. Reuben wakes several hours later with a horrible fever and Roxanna's hand his forehead. Roxanna pins a quilt over the window to dim the light. (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Reuben finally wakes in the evening feeling much better. Roxanna deems him recovered and feeds him soup. As she rolls out piecrust, Reuben asks when... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...tries to go to the hallway to open it, but Swede won't let him. Then Roxanna comes down the stairs smelling of perfume. When she opens the door, she and Dad... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...quite romantic. Reuben asks why they're not moving out there too, since they also love Roxanna. Swede snips that he should go ask Dad if he's so concerned. (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...clothes. He asks why Dad is dressed up. Dad admits that he's going to court Roxanna and asks Reuben's opinion on his chances. This makes Reuben feel very adult, and he... (full context)
Boy Ready
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Swede sits with Reuben reading Psalms. She tells Reuben that Dad is off courting Roxanna, and Reuben realizes that his family hadn't experienced a miracle since they arrived at Roxanna's... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Mr. Andreeson calls Roxanna's house the next morning with news that the man who was supposed to accompany him... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...to Dad plucking away on the guitar and singing. Reuben then goes back inside, where Roxanna is making dinner and Swede is writing Sunny Sundown's happy ending. (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
When the wind finally ends, Dad, Swede, and Roxanna go outside to shovel and Reuben is tasked with waiting by the phone. Reuben continues... (full context)
The Red Farm
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Reuben tells the reader that Dad and Roxanna got married in March. They returned to Roofing at the end of February, after Reuben... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Reuben says he wasn't waiting for a miracle anymore. He figures that Roxanna was God's parting gift to the Land family. Reuben spends his days sleeping and listening... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...drove away in Mr. Waltzer's car. Davy asks if Sara can stay with Dad and Roxanna. Swede asks Davy if he'll stay too, but Davy tells her he can't. Reuben thinks... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...thinks about him. After 11 pm, Reuben goes upstairs with Dad to make Sara's bed. Roxanna and Sara go to bed while Davy, Swede, Dad, and Reuben stay up talking. They... (full context)
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...he isn't trying to hide. They hear a gunshot and Dad falls across the car. Roxanna tries to restrain Reuben on the porch, but he breaks free and runs towards Dad.... (full context)
Be Jubilant, My Feet
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...holds Reuben's hand and tells him to take care of Swede and to work for Roxanna. Reuben thinks he wants to join the rivers of people, but Dad tells Reuben to... (full context)
The Curious Music That I Hear
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...while he was away, Jape Waltzer shot at the Ford and the house several times. Roxanna called the sheriff, Dr. Nokes, and God. Sara hid while Swede frantically searched Dad's closet... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
...says he must finish quickly, as Swede says that "drift is the bane of epilogues." Roxanna became the Land family's rock. Sara stayed with the Lands and Roxanna drew her slowly... (full context)