There are many different occurring themes in Jack Harrell’s Vernal Promises. Even though some such themes could be “Don’t give up on the wandering ones you love”, or “Take responsibility for family and self”, they do not include all of the characters. I believe the most prominent theme is “Don’t give in to temptation, because choosing the high road will lead to happiness and strength”. Throughout the novel, the character of Jacob Dennison goes through many trials and temptations that lead him to stray off of the straight and narrow path to heaven.

As readers, we watch Jacob go through these hardships and try to get back on the path. There are three main events that help Jacob want to get back on the right track. The first event that attempts to bring Jacob back to the church takes place in the first and second chapters. After Pam has the miscarriage, she and Jacob start going back to church. Even though they have not been active members for a long time, they pray together and individually, attend church and ward activities together, and they both study the scriptures. They are turning to God to comfort them in their time of loss, but Jacob slips away after a period of time and falls back into his old habits of drinking and smoking.

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The next event that persuades Jacob to return to the church and leave his old ways is found in chapter fifteen. Up until this point, Jacob has fallen away from the church and has been attending keg parties, sleeping around, and doing drugs. He doesn’t go to church anymore and associates with the wrong kind of people. One of his “friends”, Dwayne, makes LSD strips and he, Jacob, and another “friend”, Mickey, all go up to a cabin to “take a trip”. During this “trip”,

Dwayne tries to convince Jacob that he is not worthy of the Savior’s love and atonement and that he should just stop trying now because it would be in vain. They get into a big fight with each other and Jacob…

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