We Live In Water Theme

Words: 1085
Pages: 5

Jess Walter is a prodigious American novelist and non-fiction author. “We Live in Water” is the title story under his short-story book, We Live in Water (2013). This story has a two-fold narrative: one story describes a brutal homicide of a man in Idaho in 1958, and the other describes a son’s search of his missing father after 34 years in 1992. “We Live in Water” consists of three philosophical themes- determinism, free will, and karma, represented through visual imagery, action, and dialogue. However, the idea of karma is dominant throughout the story. “Determinism” is the belief that our thoughts, actions and reactions are all beyond our control and are the results of factors such as brain chemistry, genetic predisposition, and environment. …show more content…
It is the totality of actions and reactions all of which determines our future. An article published in 2006 on Hinduism Today states that Karma is not fate, for man acts with free will, creating his own destiny. The Vedas tell us, if we sow goodness we reap goodness; if we sow evil, we will reap evil (“Karma” 15). In the story “We Live in Water”, there are situations when the acts of the characters determine the consequences. Bannen is an evil character who runs a brothel, beats people up, and kills Oren. However, at the end his bad deeds take him to a brutal death. He gets beaten by his wife with his own baseball bat to death (Walter 33). Here, Bannen’s bad karma led him to a bad consequence. Likewise, Oren, and Michael both cheat on their wives. Apparently, their wives leave them (Walter 35). This is simply the outcome of their bad karma. Oren, being a married man, bangs Bannen’s wife and steals money from Bannen’s safe (Walter 19). This clearly isn’t a good karma. Consequently, he gets beaten to death by Bannen (Walter 40). Last but not the least, Oren gives up his own life and saves his kid which is a good karma (Walter 39). As a result, his son does not end becoming a criminal like him. Instead, he becomes a lawyer which is a good