Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Substantive post, The Sparrow
I will admit that this is the first book in this class that I actually managed to get through the whole book and end up enjoying it in the end. Russell is clearly a talented writer and her use of language and character development helped to make this book seem not too science fiction for a person like me. Often times there are elements of the the novels we read that I just do not understand but I honestly did not have to go to wikipedia once during this one. What I found most interesting about this novel, and what I feel separates it from others in the sci fi genre, was the overt use of religion throughout. For most of the novels that I have read in this class, my impression was that religious undertones were usually present in some fashion but they were subtle and not ones recognized immediately by the reader. In The Sparrow, the entire plot is based on the fact that God has chosen these people for this mission. It is stated several times, by the majority of the characters even ones who are apparently not religious, such as Anne and George Edwards. It seems that non believers end up believing in the end and those who put their whole life into following God end up losing him somehow, such as Emilio Sandoz. Theer are several passages that I marked as I was reading that all basically allude to the same thought: If God choose them for this mission, how could anything possibly go wrong? This novel questions the role of God in the world and I was surprised not to find more of an outrage of the initial discovery of life on other planets. I would have thought that the religious institutions in the world would be the last people to be accepting of this because it means that we, as humans, were not created special in God's eyes, that there are others out there as well. Anne even makes the comment at one point that perhaps God liked the Runa better because their planet was so much more beautiful and they themselves were more attractive as well. This question of God, his intentions, and the reasons why he sent this group of people to Rakhat are all interesting questions that the author grapples with and, I feel, leaves it up to the reader to decide for themselves at the end.