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My theme investigation explores the effects of religion on society and individuals. Texts such as I am Not Esther by Fleure Beale, Not Without My Daughter by Brian Gilbert,

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Introduction

My theme investigation explores the effects of religion on society and individuals. Texts such as I am Not Esther by Fleure Beale, Not Without My Daughter by Brian Gilbert, Desert Royal by Jean Sasson, Alive by P.O.D and The Last Judgment by Fran Angelico effectively portray the theme of religion as a powerful influence on societies and a person's identity. I found that when religion is the core of a society, its people value their faith as a means for order and control and a guide to a particular lifestyle. This is true in Fleure Beale's novel I am not Esther, where the cult, The Children of the Faith, is the basis of the community. Every aspect of the Pilgrim family's life is established by their religion and the 'Rule' by which they live. Uncle Caleb comments on their clothes. "We do not decorate ourselves for that is frivolous and directs our thoughts away from the lord." ...read more.

Middle

Religion also strongly influences individuals. In my texts, religion was often a fundamental part of a person's life and strongly immersed in their identity. We see Damaris in I am Not Esther finds security and purpose in her religion. She says, "I like to keep to the Rule. I feel safe in the love of the Lord. My faith means a lot to me." Islam is a strong part of Sultana's identity in Jean Sasson's biography, Desert Royal, and like The Children of the Faith, it provides a guide to how she should live. "I still dreamed of becoming a saintly Muslim on the same exalted level as that of my mother and sisters." During Ramadan, the holy month, we see she rates herself according to Islamic values when she feels a great sense of failure in drinking a bottle of wine. "I had little doubt that God had witnessed my sinful behaviour and to me that alone was shame enough." ...read more.

Conclusion

"You should not behave this way! It is your duty as a wife to tell your husband everything!" Unlike P.O.D, Kirby and Betty find strong religion hard to grasp, which makes us consider the level of submission and trust required to embrace a faith. "He had no right to impose his wacky beliefs!" Betty says of Islam, "It just seems so primitive sometimes." Daniel in I am not Esther and Sultana in Desert Royal reveal how a strong religion can inflict a battle of priorities, between individual desires and religious requirements. Daniel sacrifices his Godly way of life to become a doctor. Suppressing his dream caused misery but fulfilling it is disgraceful. "We expel you from the Fellowship. Henceforth you are dead to us." Sultana has to surrender her alcohol cravings for Islam. "Surely the Holy Prophet will curse her for this sin!" Religion is a powerful influence and strongly affects a society's lifestyle and a person's identity. My texts portrayed how it is often used to impose law and order, and can have a profound effect on a person's perception of them self and others. ...read more.

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