Religion In James Agee's A Death In The Family

Decent Essays
Whether a person is religious or not, everyone has a different viewpoint on religion. Some people see religion as a helping hand, something that is meant to do good. Others see it as a negative force used for “evil” and to cause harm. A lot of people have no opinion on the matter whatsoever. One of the main themes in James Agee’s novel is religion and the causes of it. In A Death in the Family, the characters are very set in stone with their beliefs. While one character turns to their religion for comfort after a tragedy, another uses a person’s lack of beliefs as a reason not to perform an act for their family. Throughout Agee’s novel, religion is used as a constructive force for some characters and destructive for other characters.
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Father Jackson does not give his regards to the children or say his is sorry for what has happened. After Father Jackson enters the Follet house, he goes over and sits in Jay’s chair in the sitting room which causes the children to stare at him. He does not even introduce himself to the kids he just stares back them with such displeasure. He begins to lecture the kids about staring at him and how they should act like a proper lady and gentleman. After he finishes lecturing them, Aunt Hannah comes into the room and brings Father Jackson to see Mary. While the adults are in the room, Rufus and Catherine listen as the door and feel that “it was something evil, to which she was submitting almost without a struggle, and by which she was deceived,” (270). As they are listening at the door, they both imagine Father Jackson being killed in different scenarios, which reveal their distaste for the man. The more we read on, the more we see that Father Jackson has different motives with his religion. Father Jackson is shown as a very close-minded individual who does not seem to have any respect for someone who is not religious. He also refuses to complete Jay’s burial service because Jay was never baptized. Instead of using religion in a encouraging and positive way, Father Jackson uses his religious beliefs in a threatening and hateful
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