Monday, October 13, 2008

Literature & Faith

It is common knowledge that the primary focus of literature and short fiction is to reveal and expand on some truth about humanity. In the story "God Lives in St. Petersburg," the main character experiences a loss of faith after leaving America to become a missionary to the people of Asia, primarily the Soviet Union. However, once he arrives and spends a decent amount of time doing his "closeted" missionary work by posing as an English teacher, he comes to the realization that it is nearly impossible to try to save the people. Not only is in he a very low socio-economic place in the world, but the people also have lost faith that things could and would ever get better. They have no hope. He then comes to this same mindset and begins to not care much for anything. His ultimate act against God is having sexual relations with the underage boy. At this point, he has lost all hope of faith and is completely going against his religion. The reader almost gets a feeling of sympathy for the emphasis of his losing of place in the world. He becomes a lost soul who commits sexual acts not for pleasure, but because of what has happened to him. In the end, there can be two different interpretations of what he does with the girl. One side can take it to mean that he realizes that he can save one person by bringing her to America, rather than trying to convert an entire nation. However, on the other hand, his sleeping with the fourteen year old girl can also again follow along the lines of the consistent theme of him "being a lost soul" and emphasize that concept.


Dante said...

I like your notion of the two contrasting ideas at the end of the story.

Cole Hatcher said...

I would argue that his sexual escapades are only for the physical pleasure and not out of rebelion against "what has happened to him." I would also argue that he has not lost all faith in god, because at the end Timothy is waiting for god to "unveil" his great plan to him.