A Death Of The Family By James Agee Essay

1312 Words May 3rd, 2016 6 Pages
In times of great sorrow, individuals often find themselves drowning. The despair, desperation, and darkness that accompany the tragedy of losing a loved one is engulfing. A life is torn away all too soon and suddenly, family and friends are left to pick themselves back up again. This despondence causes certain individuals to grasp helplessly onto religion as their lifeline. In A Death in the Family, James Agee showcases several characters with attachments to religion, most notably among those, Mary Follet, Aunt Hannah, and Father Jackson. In this novel, these characters turn both to religion and away from it. In trying times, religion can be a positive, unifying power, or it can act as a negative and isolating force. A Death in the Family provides extreme conditions to allow this question to be explored on a personal level. Agee presents that religion can be utilized in a number of ways, both productive and destructive, and, as a result, religion has widely contrasting effects on different characters. The novel suggests that religion, as a whole, is neither good nor bad; rather, religion enunciates the feelings and reactions that any one particular person already feels.
Firstly, of the Follet family, Mary is arguably the most devastated by the death of Jay Follet. Mary allows her religious mindset to serve adversely as a source of comfort. Mary becomes a primary demonstration of how religion can be constructive and destructive at the same time. Prior to her husband’s…

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