Josip Lasta Religion

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In the novel, Island of the World, author Michael O’Brien tells the story of Josip Lasta. A child that survives conflicting factions during World War II in his native home in Bosnia-Herzegovina. During this period, the home-grown resistance is engaged in overthrowing the Axis countries occupying the land. However, the resistance groups are not just fighting the occupying forces. They are also engaged in an ethnic cleansing campaign against one another. Due to Allied backing, the Partisans resistance group is able to push the occupying forces out and place their Communist leader Josip Broz Tito in power. It is the violence surrounding the fighting that impacts Josip Lasta’s life. In the novel, Josip Lasta is the only survivor of a massacre that…show more content…
The primary focus is on the people; on their souls. Josip Lasta and the people of the region are situated in a world that pulls on three different directions as far as religion goes. The fighting among Catholic Europe, Islam, and the orthodox Slavic East ensures that the clash is not only geopolitical but also spiritual. Throughout the novel, O’Brien uses religion as the inspiration and driving force behind Josip Lasta. His ability to keep on living after losing everything comes from within, from his relationship with god. Using religion and god, Josip Lasta is able to forgive the people that have done harm to him. In addition to the different conflicts revolving around religion, one also has to take into account political ideologies. Through Josip Lasta’s story, O’Brien is able to clearly depict the differences and ongoing conflicts between fighting factions during this time. On one hand, there was German and Italian soldiers occupying Yugoslavia. While in the other, one has the fascist Ustaše, Serb nationalist Chetniks, and Communist Partisans. It can be a daunting task to keep track of all different factions and understanding how their conflicts shaped the world around them. It is even harder try to look at all the events and try to condense them and contextualized them into one. By doing this, one has a better understanding of what…show more content…
The story that O’Brien tells describes any person that survived the horrors of World War II and its aftermath. From survivors of massacre to political prisoners, to extermination camp survivors, refugees, and people that witness the destruction of their entire villages. O’Brien’s novel helps understand the different factions that were in conflict during this period. Additionally, it also helps explains the political aftermath that engulfed these nations in Easter Europe in respect to Communism and Western views after the end of the Cold War. Most importantly however, the novel is a window into understanding how a person can lose everything, survive, and be reborn again. The story depicts the symbolical crucifixion of Josip Lasta’s soul and its resurrection. The main character use religion as the tool that lifted him from the depths of despair and into the light of resurrection. Through the suffering and sacrifice experienced by Josip Lasta, the reader is able to find heroism and holiness. The people that survived the war and its aftermath had to rely on their families, but most importantly their faiths, in order to survive. The novel explains that throughout religion, a person is able to retain his identity and humanity during dehumanizing situations. It is clear that Michael O’Brien has done extensive research on the topic. His presentation of

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