Two Themes In Maria Doria Russell's The Sparrow

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Maria Doria Russell wrote The Sparrow in such a stunningly clear but complex way that the reader will want to keep reading the book. She presents the timeline of the story through presenting two story-lines. The first of which begins in the future where we are presented with the last survivor of a space-mission gone wrong with a sickly man, in such a devastated state of sickness and unbearable wounds which hooks the reader into wanting to find out what exactly happened to him- as does the rest of the world in the book. Then the follow-up of the backstory of this Jesuit Priest who is a wizard with grasping language and how he got to end up on a space voyage. It is through these alternating shifts between the future and the past there is a build-up…show more content…
He saw Rakhat as a space that had stopped the shakiness he felt in his core, had finally cleared up the cloudy feeling of belief in God. However this astonishment of the new found closeness with God had flooded his thoughts and emotions. He began to think in the sense of God’s plan slowly unravelling itself before him -which ultimately lead him to Rakhat, in order to make sense of everything that had happened in his life. At this point is where we encounter a problem in his logic. It becomes problematic once he talks about God’s plan- which I relate to one of the theodicies we had discussed in class, which is God’s plan. Now, initially Emilio doesn’t have this mind set of “everything will be alright because God has a plan”; rather he looks back at his life and feels each moment was a step in the Divine’s grand plan. One main counter to this idea is exactly what happens after he gains this idea of God’s plan wherein Emilio suffers. Taking comfort in the thought of “God has a plan” does not justify all the suffering Emilio endures. Thus we are made to ask- is this suffering part of God’s plan? Why does God allow this suffering to happen? And the never ending reiteration of the question: Couldn’t God (as He is all-knowing) have come up with a better plan? Ripping off the flesh and muscle from our hands is a pain no individual would want to experience and in addition to that is the rape Emilio experiences, how can such grave suffering be part of some great master plan? This places then the idea that suffering is a crucial predecessor towards the greater good which is God’s

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