Sunday, October 12, 2008

Timothy is Pitiful

God Lives in St. Petersburg is a racy story. There is sex, innuendo, and exploitation masked as compassion. Timothy is an pitiful character. He is both a victim and perpetrator of this exploitation. The story begins with him believing only HIS religion could save mankind. He goes to Russia to put this idea in practice. But what results is a strange sequence of gay erotics, rape, and mediocre language acquisition.
Timothy could not be the missionary he dreams of being because of Soviet society. So he becomes an English teacher and tries to help that way, but he never picks up the language. He does pick up men or boys like Sasha, whose age Timothy does not know. He feels guilty, but he can't change his actions. He can will it, but he cannot make it right. Like everyone else, Timothy succumbs to desire. And he feels guilt because his unrealistic expectations of being able to use his religion to change the world. He should instead save himself.
The story ends with Timothy having sex with a 14 year old girl. One could look at this as a compassionate or an act depravity. I think there is room for both views. Eastern Europe has economic problems, and the girl's mom does not want her daughter to grow up a place with no opportunity for her daughter. By taking Suzanna, Timothy is being compassionate.
No matter what the economic situation, there are other ways of helping Suzanna's family. The failure of Tim's character is that despite all his faith, when a situation arises where Timothy could impart his moral lessons, he fails. He is pitiful.

1 comment:

Alex Moseman said...

I agree with you last point Timothy is not a good missionary and is a flawed character but I think we start to run into the problem of judging other cultures with our own values. I certainly not saying that what Timothy is right but rather we need to look at it in a slightly different light.