Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Necessity of Belief: Part II

After my previous post, I now return to summarize.

To summarize, we can see that at least in these stories, belief is important for emotional and physical well being. Not only that, but the right belief (believing in the right thing), is also important.

What did the authors of these stories really intend? That’s a very difficult question. On the one hand, Mark Twain tells his readers not to read too much into the story. On the other hand, based on Twain’s focus on right and wrong, I think it is safe to say that Twain wanted his readers to ask themselves how they know what is right and what is wrong.

At the very least, Kate Chopin wants her readers to ask themselves about the significance of their life and what they believe in. She uses Edna as an example of someone struggling to find meaning. Stephen Crane is both ambiguous and clear. His story scarcely mentions the thoughts of the men in the boat. On the other hand, the men very clearly question what they believe in because it has done them no good.

We return to the original questions. Based on my analysis of these three stories, it is very necessary to believe in something—both for emotional and physical well-being. To not belief in something is to feel like one is floundering hopelessly in life. In Edna’s case, not knowing what she believed in led to so much depression that she committed suicide.

Not only that, but it is most important to believe in the right thing. It has been said that it is only important that a person believe in “something.” However, such a belief leads to failure and disappointment. It yields nothing. It leads to even more hopelessness. The seven mad gods will not save you. Fate will not save you. Believing in the right thing, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, leads to joy, fulfillment, and eternal life.

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