A Death Of The Family By James Agee Essay

1215 Words May 3rd, 2016 5 Pages
In times of sorrow, especially the loss of a loved one, some people turn to religion. In many ways, religion can be helpful to cope with a death, but other times it can be abused; used to submerge in and forget the outside world. In the novel A Death In The Family, written by James Agee, Mary is an abuser of religion. In addition to being used for self-medicating, religion is displayed in a negative light throughout the novel. An overcasting theme in many scenes, a disreputable view of faith is at the heart of this book. Religion is shown to be a destructive force in the novel by the rift it causes between family members, the negative portrayal of a religious figure, and the abandonment of personal responsibilities. One of the first, more prominent, effects of religion in the novel is the divide it causes between several family members. For example, after Jay leaves the house to tend to his father, Mary muses about their relationship after praying; “For she had never before so clearly put into words, into visible recognition, their religious difference, or the importance of the difference to her” (Agee 51). This is the first example of a divide between Mary and her religious faith, and the more agnostic ideologies of important people in her life. Another prime example of the disturbance religion causes in the family is after Mary starts to cry when learning details about Jay 's death. Mary begs for God to forgive her for her weakness, and this upsets several family members.…

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