Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts
Gina  Annetti

Human Interactions with the Mississippi River

Andre Dubus: The Human Experience

Andre  Dubus

Andre Dubus' works focus on the human experience. His characters go through everyday struggles and have different ways of dealing with them. Loss and betrayal are main themes that Dubus explores throughout his works. Characters deal with obstacles that cause setbacks in their lives, and they struggle to overcome them. Characters are challenged by forgiveness, loss and restriction, and deal with each obstacle in their own unique ways. Dubus shows how well he knows humans and how they think and act by how they react to the real world. Common losses are what the characters go through in Dubus’ stories, such as death and divorce. Characters struggle to find their true selves while learning to cope with different experiences that they go through in life.

Like many of Dubus’ characters, the people who lived along and near the Mississippi River faced many losses and devastations in their lifetime. The river was valuable to many people but also destroyed families and land by its disastrous flooding. The flood of 1927 caused homelessness, ruined land, and caused the death of many people. The Army Corps of Engineers made a flood control system that included levees made out of concrete. In addition to causing trouble, the Mississippi River provided people with recreational activities, work, and transportation. Some people chose not to care about the river and as a result of their poor choices, there was pollution. One example of pollution was chemicals which entered the river from fertilizers used on crops. The Environmental Protection Agency worked to develop a plan to make the river cleaner.

Major Works Consulted:

Dubus, Andre. Broken Vessels. Boston: Godine, 1991.
---. Finding A Girl in America. Boston: Godine, 1980.
Walsh, Kieran. The Mississippi. Milwaukee: World Almanac Library, 2003.
Coffman, John Edwin. “Mississippi River.” The World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book, 2004.
Photo Credit: Dubus, Andre. The Times Are Never So Bad. Boston: Godine, 1983.