The Lame Shall Enter First Theme Essay

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Motif of Religion in “The Lame Shall Enter First”
In “The Lame Shall Enter First” Flannery O’Connor uses the recurring motif of religion to create a sense of religious and psychological confusion for Norton, which seems to go unnoticed by Sheppard. Sheppard’s absolute rejection of religion ultimately creates an unsafe environment for his son to live in.
Rufus Johnson has radical Christian beliefs which he tries to push onto young Norton. At the time Norton is still mourning the loss of his mother, his father’s lack of compassion towards him leads Norton to believe everything Rufus says because he is on a constant search for the comfort he does not receive from Sheppard. In an effort to brainwash Norton with his Christian beliefs Rufus tries
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Norton seems enlightened by religion, while Rufus was reading him the Bible his whole physical appearance seems to change, “The child’s face was bright and there was an excited sheen to his eyes. The change that had come over the boy struck him for the first time. He looked alert. He had on a blue plaid shirt and his eyes were a brighter blue than he had ever seen them before. There was a strange new life in him,” (O’Connor 183). This quote contains imagery of eyes. They are bright and Sheppard can see the joy and excitement in them. Prior to Rufus teaching Norton about religion Sheppard described Norton’s eyes as “Not yet engaged… a paler blue… as if they might have faded,” (O’Connor 144). The religion is what brought the new sense of life to Norton. He had something to think about that was not his mother. It also gave him a new sense of hope because he began to think that if he was good he would be able to see his mother in heaven. The color blue is also a motif in these quotes. O’Connor uses different shades of the color to describe the different emotional states of Norton. When his eyes were a pale blue he was depressed and detached from life. When he found religion he was fascinated and he found a new meaning for life, at this time his eyes were the brightest blue they had ever been. He also was wearing a blue shirt which made him appear to be more put together and more alive than when he was wearing the shirt that “was green but so faded that the cowboy charging across the front of it was only a shadow,” (O’Connor 144). Norton seems to be too excited about religion and he puts a copious amount of his into his new found religion. He also starts to take the bible to literally, and he begins to believe that heaven in a place which one can find with their telescope. “There was an unusual brightness

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