Trying to Do The Impossible

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"He intended not to fool with preachers anymore but to Baptize himself and keep on going this time until he found the Kingdom of Chirst in the river" (O'Connor, "The River", p. 45).

While some people maybe disheartened by Bevel's death at the end of the story, his action of diving underwater to reach the Kingdom is symbolic of humunity's attempts to reach heaven. Like Bevel, many people believe that they can find their own way to God's Kingdom.  They dive down into a deep sea of religions in order to find a pearl of truth.  The phrase "there are many ways to heaven" describes these peoples' point of view.  They don't care which road they take, as long the road fits their own guide to heaven.  However, O'Connor uses the drowning of Bevel to illustrate the foolishness of this kind of thinking.  Instead, O'Connor seems to point to Chirst as the only road to the Kingdom of God.

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May 2008

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