This paper discusses the themes of sin and a lack of priestly redemption in Catholic authors James Joyce's "The Sisters" and Bernard MacLaverty's "The Beginnings of a Sin".
# 68728 | 1,760 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2005 |
Published on Sep 06, 2006 in Literature (English) , Religion and Theology (Christianity) , English (Analysis) , Literature (Canadian)
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This paper explains that the absence of a clear vision of heaven on earth, the persistence of human fallibility and sin even in the lives of holy men and the general pervasiveness of Roman Catholicism influence in society are evident in the early Irish Catholic tales of the 20th century author James Joyce and the contemporary Canadian Catholic author of Irish extraction Bernard MacLaverty. The author points out that their respective short stories, Joyce's "The Sisters" and MacLaverty's "The Beginnings of a Sin" suggest that contemporary, Catholic common-sensical societal and religious notions of what constitutes 'the moral' are profoundly different from the more complex morality that the main characters deploy in their daily lives. The paper relates that the plot of a priest's fall from grace due to a psychological or physical ailment in the eyes of a young and naive male acolyte is underlined in the theme of sacrifice and disenchantment in these short stories.
From the Paper:"In Joyce's tale, although naive in his morality, the narrator immediately strikes the reader are knowledgeable of Catholic doctrine for his young age, since Father Flynn had taught him extensively about numerous aspects of Catholic history, religion and literature. However, although this knowledge is evident in his actions both to the reader and to the other characters in the story and the boy's uncle refers to him as a Rosicrucian, or a member of a private organization of philosophy and learning whose purpose was to investigate the hidden secrets of nature and mysticism, Father Flynn did not really teach the boy about the true mysteries of death. Only real life experience, Joyce suggests, can educate the young man in the true mysteries of the end of life, embodied in the form of the priest at the priest's own wake. Likewise, Colum's financial strivings for the church do not really 'buy' the boy's salvation--he only comes to understand sin when he sees this sin embodied in the afterhour, refrectory actions of the priest he trusted."
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Catholic Literature (2006, September 06) Retrieved March 31, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/catholic-literature-68728/
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