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Criticism of Religion in Latin American Fictions - Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, and Chronicle of A Death Foretold by Gabriel Garca Mrquez.

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Student Number: 91624 Criticism of Religion in Latin American Fictions Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis Chronicle of A Death Foretold by Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez Religion is supremacy, perfection and spirituality. A typical Latin American religious community heavily relies on religion to provide a moral framework to guide and protect its citizens. However, projecting religion in the light of perfection is superficial. In actuality, it often contains flaws underneath its idealistic teachings. The inadequacy in maintaining the idealistic doctrines is deeply rooted in society. Such notion is reflected and commented upon in the novels Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis and Chronicle of A Death Foretold by Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez. In both novels, the authors effectively criticize religion through their satiric portrayal of religious authorities and other characters' attitudes towards religion. The two novels reveal the practical result of religion in a critical light. The ideal doctrine of religion adjusts itself to the imperfect world in ways that some times do not command respect. The actual practice of the doctrine allows flexibility, which is often abused. In Dom Casmurro, Bento and Jos� Dias imagine that a journey to see the Pope will undo Dona Gl�ria's promise to God. ...read more.


"It's like the movies," he told me once" (7). He dresses in his best suits and receives the bishop with enthusiasm because he associates religion with entertainment, stripping religion of its sacred spirituality. Even though the bishop disappoints Santiago by staying on the boat, it is only a passing annoyance to Santiago. Therefore his actions demean and minimize the originally awesome religion. In Dom Casmurro, religion's far less pervasive presence in Bento's generation in comparison to that of Dona Gl�ria's is apparent in the objectification of Father Cabral by Bento and Capitu. The youngsters use the profound influence Cabral as a religious representative on Dona Gl�ria to avoid the seminary: "May be Dona Gl�ria will change her mind; if she doesn't, we'll do something else - we'll use Father Cabral" (39). On the other hand, Bento demeans Father Cabral when he is against Bento's will, saying "nasty, harsh things about him" after Father Cabral supported Dona Gl�ria's resolve (72). The depiction of Bento's inconsistency in his devotion further criticizes the less pious souls in society of Machado de Assis's time. He imagines himself ordained in front of Capitu to make her jealous, yet he claims to have a instinctive knowledge that he has no vocation: "I can't be a priest; It's a fine profession; but it's not for me" (49). ...read more.


d As shown in the above quotation, Father Amador isn't sure of what position he should assume. Religion in its ideal form should act as a guidance to shape morality the community, but the Father as the highest religious authority in the town fails to stop the murder of Santiago Nasar. The author uses the withdrawal of Father Amador from preventing the murder of Santiago to mirror the Church's failure to uphold high moral standards and use their authority effectively and seriously. Through the subtle and detailed portrayals of the characters in the novels Chronicle of A Death Foretold and Dom Casmurro shed a criticizing light on the hypocritical Church present in the community. Bento's repulsion to be religiously devoted bluntly reveals the blemishes in the practical result of religion hidden underneath seemingly deep devotion. The tragedy of Santiago Nasar explores the other defects of religion, one that is present in the Church itself, and how failure to uphold moral standards in Church upsets the community. Of course the authors do not write solely to condemn religion, they also bring forth the concept that people must adjust their attitudes toward religion and then irrational, old values set by the past Church. Word Count: 1300 ...read more.

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