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The Title of the “Run” Novel by Ann Patchett

Run by Ann Patchett is a piece of fiction writing. The book deals with the life of an American family of a former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle, who recently lost his wife, Bernadette. Ann Patchett has chosen a very symbolic title for the novel, Run, for all the characters of it are running: running toward their fate and running away from their problems. This essay highlights the main points of the correlation between the title and the story, and depicts the symbolic and direct run of the characters.

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First of all, the head of the family, Bernard Doyle, is trying to run away from the tradition existing in his wife’s family to inherit wooden statue of Virgin Mary. Few words should be said about this tradition: the statue can be inherited only by a female of the family who is very alike the statue itself (which was made by an Italian sculptor inspired by the great-grand mother of Bernadette Doyle). Bernadette resembles her great-grand mother very much, that is why she keeps the statue; but to her great regret she has no daughters at all (only sons) and after her death her sisters come to Mr. Bernard Doyle to take the statue away. But Bernard tries to keep the statue which is very important to him because it is a part of his happy life with Bernadette (Patchett 83).But this symbolic run is not the only one in Mr. Bernard Doyle’s life because he never stops running for office. Once he was a mayor and now he is eager to see his sons as politicians, he gives them corresponding education and tries to persuade them that this is only real way for them (Patchett 135), but he faces resistance from their sides, for one of them, Tip, wants to be a scientist and another, Teddy, is going to become a priest. And his eldest son Sullivan lives abroad (so he is not in his father’s reach) and, moreover, it was he who was actually the reason for his father quitting his political career. Thus Mr. Doyle’s sons run from the future prepares for them and instead run forward their own destinies.

And once again running comes into play: during arguing with his farther Tip blindly comes out onto the road in front of an oncoming car. Before Tip is injured, an unknown to Doyle African American woman runs towards Tip and pushes him out of the path of the road and is hit instead. Later she turns out to be Tip and Teddy’s biological mother who has a daughter, Kenya. So the run of a mother saves her son from death and gives him and his family hope and understanding. This episode also reveals the essence of motherhood, which is sacrifice. Each mother is ready to sacrifice herself to save her child and even ready to run to hell or heaven to make her child healthy and happy. While her mother is in the hospital, Kenya lives with her biological brothers, who start love her and take her as their real sister (Patchett 217). As far as Kenya is concerned her whole life is a big running, for she is very skilled athlete and she spends a lot of time running around the track. Thus she is the symbol of the direct meaning of a word run, and it is necessary to point out that Kenya is very proud of her talent; she runs toward her aims and she always wins, reaching her own goals. It is also symbolic that this running girl becomes the way out for Mr. Bernard Doyle, for now he has a daughter who can inherit the statue and keep it in their family (Patchett 293). And that is a really happy ending and solving of the problem posed in the beginning of the story.

There may be one more example of the run; Bernadette Doyle’s run from her life. He dies in the very beginning of the novel (Patchett 8). May be the cancer she suffered from was the subconscious means to run from her own tragedy of being unable to give a birth to a so expected daughter who could inherit the family treasure, Virgin Mary’s statue. And maybe in spite of her will to run away from solving the problem, her gone makes her family understand the real values of life.

Of course, there can be other meanings of the title but here are some main points reflecting the title. The characters of this story live and run to meet their destinies. Some of them run from their shame or problems. But all of them, finally, come to right conclusions and stop running from, but start running toward their goals. The whole book is a number of examples of running away from difficulties and trying to reach some aims. But with the characters of Run one can see the running of time and running of our lives. Meeting the Doyles makes the reader think about his / her own ways of dealing with life.

Works Cited

Patchett, Ann. Run. 1st ed. New York, NY: Harper. 2007.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 31). The Title of the “Run” Novel by Ann Patchett.

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"The Title of the “Run” Novel by Ann Patchett." StudyCorgi, 31 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "The Title of the “Run” Novel by Ann Patchett." December 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "The Title of the “Run” Novel by Ann Patchett." December 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "The Title of the “Run” Novel by Ann Patchett." December 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The Title of the “Run” Novel by Ann Patchett'. 31 December.

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