This Adventure Historical Fiction Novel English Literature Essay

Katelin Schellhorn

English 7-2

The Bronze Bow is written by Elizabeth George Speare. This adventure/historical fiction novel takes place when Jesus was just starting his public ministry. This story is about Daniel and the emotional, physical, and moral trials he faces. After Daniel witnesses his parents’ execution at the hands of Roman soldiers, and his sister’s mental collapse, Daniel becomes consumed with hatred and revenge. The anger and helplessness he feels is heightened when his grandmother, to make ends meet, is forced to sell Daniel as an apprentice to a cruel blacksmith, Amelak. After barely escaping with his life, Daniel is rescued by a rebel leader named Rosh. Daniel, blinded by his burning desire for revenge, is manipulated into a life of lying and stealing to support the so called ‘cause’. After meeting Jesus, Daniel discovers that his lust for vengeance has threatened to destroy everything he holds dear, and he is awakened to Jesus’ amazing truths that change his life forever.

Daniel’s clothes are worn and tattered from the bushes, brambles, and jagged rocks of the mountain. He does not have any distinguished features, but the way he holds his head is unmistakably proud. Daniel is strong from working in the small forge he made in the back of the cave. He is quick on his feet after all the skirmishes and raids that have taken place. Daniel can think for himself, but is accustomed to taking orders. He has a fiery passion for what he believes in, and his greatest desire is to drive the Philistines from their lands and make Rome crumble.

One day when Daniel was scouting the area for prey, he saw a young girl swiftly climbing up the mountain pass, and a bit lower, a young man straining to keep up. As the two came closer, Daniel realized that it was Joel bar Hezron, a boy from the synagogue school, and his twin sister, Thacia. While Joel and his sister sat down to enjoy the view, Daniel remained hidden, conflicted as to his next move. He knows that if he revealed himself, Joel could have him taken back to his cruel master. Desperate for news of his sister and grandmother, Daniel reluctantly revealed himself only to be met with a suspicious glare. Daniel grasped his fear and had to scrape the farthest corners of his brain to remember the correct salutation of what was once his people," Peace be with you," Daniel said with as much openness as he could muster. The boys exchanged remarks, and the suspicion sank down. With a renewed sense of hope Daniel gave Joel a message to deliver to an old friend, Simon, another boy that was bound to Amelak. Within a short time Simon climbed the mountain in search of Daniel only to be captured, blindfolded, and brought before Rosh. Daniel was called away from his small shop in the cave to verify Simon’s identity. After being set free he talked with Daniel of things from the village. Simon tried to persuade Daniel to come back by telling him of Amalek’s death. Simon declared that there was no relative or friend of Amalek’s to hold Daniel to his binding. Daniel did not want to go back even if Amalek was not there. The grief and guilt he had felt from leaving everyone he loved behind was too much for him to bare.

Rosh sent Daniel to the village to fix his most precious dagger. After he had mended the hilt, Daniel went to see his grandmother and his sister who was possessed by demons. Shortly after he arrived, his grandmother died from the months of exhaustion caused by working in the fields for grain to support herself and his sister. Now Daniel could not leave because his sister had no one else to take care of her. One day Simon invited Daniel to see Jesus speak at the synagogue. Many times after this Daniel went to hear Jesus speak, but Daniel could not give up his hatred for love as Jesus had asked him to. Simon was so intrigued by Jesus’ teachings he asked Daniel to move into his house and keep his shop open so he could follow Jesus. One day a Roman legionary stopped by the shop to have a bridle ring from his horse repaired. Daniel did not tend to the Roman right away and pretended to be sanding out a flaw in his work to show contempt toward him and make him wait. While he was in the middle of working on the bridle ring, Leah, who had a morbid fear of being seen by anyone besides Daniel, came in from the garden, and the Roman stopped and stared at her. Daniel was infuriated that he would stare at his sister and slammed shut the door that separated Leah from the shop. It took everything Daniel had to calmly finish the bridle ring and take the Roman’s money without thrashing out at the young man.

One day, when Daniel came back from the festival of atonement in Capernaum, Leah showed him a basket of plump and ripe fruits. He inquired if it was payment for the weaving she did during the day, but to his surprise she told him it was a gift from Marcus. When he inquired who Marcus was he was bent over with hatred, for it was the legionary that he despised so much. He screamed at her accusing her of bringing the Roman scum into his house, but she told him with great sincerity how all he did was sit on his horse next to the garden wall and speak with her. After this she went back into a downward spiral and Daniel was sure that the demons had possessed her completely. She would not eat, her eyes were glazed over and distant, and now she feared Daniel also. Every day, when he could, the legionary would stand across the street looking with worried eyes toward the house. When he asked to see Leah, Daniel only walked past and ignored him. She became feverish and he became so worried that he could do nothing but sit next to her and bathe her arms and head with water. Thacia, Joel’s sister, led Jesus to his house when she heard what had occurred. Daniel wanted to tell Jesus all that had happened, but it only took one glance from Jesus for Daniel to know that he would not have to. With wonder in her eyes she sat up looking into Jesus’ face. Daniel scrambled over to Leah and held her hand when he realized Jesus was gone. He scrambled out the door and caught a glimpse of a white robe surrounded by a crowd moving down the street. He also saw the legionary waiting in the same place; remembering one of Jesus’ teachings, repay love with love, he walked over to the man and invited him in.

Daniel thought Rosh would lead them against the Romans, but all Rosh did was steal from the poor and keep for himself. He learned that you cannot repay love with hatred but with love. He took care of his sister when she most needed him, and faced his fears, and regrets that he traded in for life on the mountain. He learned that Jesus could take a heavy load off of his shoulders if Daniel was willing to love. He found that all differences could be overcome through love, and that this is a lesson that everyone needs to learn.