The Negative Aspects Of Religion In In My Father's Den

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The Negative Aspects of Religion

Maurice Gee’s novel In My Father’s Den is concerned with the pressure of a religious society on individuals. Religion can have a major impact on the way a person lives and experiences his/her life. Gee’s novel raises questions about how religion influences people’s daily lives; it also explores themes of anti-intellectualism and religious intolerance. Two main characters in the novel- Paul and Andrew Prior- are strongly shaped by Puritan beliefs and they form different values and attitudes towards them.

Wadesville society in the novel is influenced by a Puritan belief which plays a vital role among the people in the community. Paul and Andrew’s mother, Edith Prior, spends her whole life struggling to have
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Firstly, there is a prevailing mood of anti-intellectualism in the Wadesville society. For instance, when Paul first goes to his father’s den, he thinks he has never seen that many books, not even in the Wadesville library (47), which proves that the people in the society do not have a high regard for intellectual activities. In point of fact, it presents the anti-intellectualism of religion; the more religious someone is, the less value they tend to place on science and education. With faith, education is not necessary (Rosch). Education often seems to be an obstacle to faith- Edith burns her husband’s books and thinks that books poison people’s minds, giving them impractical information and the wrong belief. That is why Henry puts all the books in the den, calling the den a poison shed and hiding them from people, which reflects how much Henry feels guilty about reading books. Therefore, it indicates that people in the society are antagonistic towards intellectual …show more content…
Andrew does not tolerate religious ideologies that are different; this religious hatred and bias finally lead to negative consequences-hatred, malicious act and crime. When Andrew witnesses Celia coming out of Paul’s house and finds out she has books from Paul, he sees Celia as an object of sacrifice for the salvation of Paul; finally Andrew brutally murders Celia. More importantly, Andrew shows no trace of remorse about killing an innocent girl, and when Paul finds out this murder and blames Andrew, he says “You cannot come to arrangement with evil[…] I was wrong to think I could save you.” (172). This implies Andrew no longer thinks of the consequences of taking another person’s life; he starts to lose his morality and cannot see non-believers, Paul and Celia, as human but the embodiment of an evil that must be defeated (Mohan). Furthermore, this incident clearly demonstrates the extremely harmful consequences when religion strongly influences individuals and families and there is no tolerance for diversity of

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