Peace Like a River

Superintendent Chester Holgren Character Analysis

The superintendent of the Roofing school district and Dad's boss. Reuben says that Mr. Holgren was made to be a superintendent, as he inspires fear in children and seems constantly annoyed by them. Swede calls Mr. Holgren "Chester the Fester" on account of his angry, acne-ridden face. When Mr. Holgren publicly fires Jeremiah, Jeremiah shows his Christ-like characteristics by curing Mr. Holgren’s acne, rather than being angry.

Superintendent Chester Holgren Quotes in Peace Like a River

The Peace Like a River quotes below are all either spoken by Superintendent Chester Holgren or refer to Superintendent Chester Holgren. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Atlantic edition of Peace Like a River published in 2002.
When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll Quotes

It was the fact that Chester the Fester, the worst man I'd ever seen, even worse in his way than Israel Finch, got a whole new face to look out of and didn't even know to be grateful; while I, my father's son, had to be still and resolute and breathe steam to stay alive.

Related Characters: Reuben Land (speaker), Jeremiah Land (Dad), Israel Finch, Superintendent Chester Holgren
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

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Superintendent Chester Holgren Character Timeline in Peace Like a River

The timeline below shows where the character Superintendent Chester Holgren appears in Peace Like a River. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Peeking at Eternity
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...Dad didn't want them back in school yet, as Dad himself is experiencing backlash. Superintendent Chester Holgren had decided to "scour that janitor's teeth" and is making Dad deal with the school's... (full context)
When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
The next day, Mr. Holgren fires Dad. In the school cafeteria, Reuben sits with his class drinking milk out of... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Reuben laughs and Mr. Holgren glares at him before starting towards him around the table. Mr. Holgren hits the table... (full context)
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Mr. Holgren then angrily fires Dad. As Reuben starts toward his father, he watches Dad reach up... (full context)
Under the Gibbon Moon
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Fiction, Reality, and the American West Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
...of Andreeson. Dad refuses Andreeson's request and tells Andreeson he's suggesting "spookism." Andreeson says that Mr. Holgren believes Dad has access to a higher power, and Dad promptly shuts down the conversation.... (full context)
The Red Farm
Youth vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Loyalty and Family Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...had wanted for Christmas. The classmate tells Reuben that his brothers put a skunk in Mr. Holgren 's basement and the results were spectacular. (full context)