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Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Does Religion Exist in All Literature?

    There are several components that must be present in writing in order for literature to become – well, literature. Once such component that isn’t a necessity, but nevertheless, occurs frequently in novels, poetry, historical documents, and even political texts is religion. While we know such classics like Charlotte Bronte’s _Jane Eyre_ and Shakespeare’s _Rome and Juliet_ are teeming with religious allusions, can we say that religion, or religious undertones, in some form are present in nearly everything we read? This also requires us to ask if we have a common idea of what religion really is. Does it simply mean any set of principles or beliefs by which we choose to live, or must religion involve a higher power or entity? To culturally define religion and ask ourselves if we are being fed religious ideas while we read whatever we read is something about which I have often wondered. Discussion?

    • Love this topic, especially since there are literally dozens of options to write about. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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    • I love the emphasis on questioning what exactly IS religion. Because explicit, traditional religions may not be present in every piece of literature, but religious patterns almost certainly can be found. Life of Pi may be a really good one to analyze! – Heather Lambert 2 years ago
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    • Religion does play a huge part in literature. Though religion is a touchy subject to many, I do believe that many of the religious beliefs branch off of one another and certain authors will do their best to have their reader follow the specific principles. – JasonDangTellem 2 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this article. My husband, a historian and scholar, is always so worried about his love for his “cat friends” (our two cats). He often says he feels crazy that his best friends are cats (he does have a best friend, but he lives in another state). I tell him all the time that it is completely normal to “talk” to your cat and consider them friends or family. I just had no idea about all of this history. He will feel better when I share with to him. Haha. Thanks!

    The Truth About Cats and Artists

    I also “ship” characters. _Stranger Things_ had me obsessed with Joyce and Hopper, Nancy and Steve (I started to feel bad for him later on when he became a kind of nice guy), and Mike and Eleven, of course. In my world, those couples needed to exist. Ha.

    Can You Really Fall In Love With a Fictional Character?

    So many interesting questions could be raised from this article and many comments generated, as well…I, however, was immediately reminded of an instance in which I was teaching _The Canterbury Tales_ to my twelfth graders in a public school setting. I had just stepped in and taken over from another substitute teacher, and the students, having had several subs in a short period of time, were about done with school…and it was only October. My principal came in one day and told the students they simply needed to read it to graduate, that she hated it in high school, too, and that it made no sense to her back then, either. I was appalled! I explained to them, because they did not know, that Canterbury was a real place, as was Thomas a Becket a real historical figure. We did an in depth character study and compared the pilgrims to people we knew in real life. I explained how when we read difficult-to-understand texts, we need to learn to be resourceful. You don’t understand something? What do you do? Look at the footnotes provided, use a dictionary, Google it for crying out loud! Be resourceful. What happens when in a few years, you are choosing a health insurance policy filled with confusing jargon you’ve never seen before? I often urged them to practice reading a section of lines and moving into groups to break it apart and discuss what it meant. The practice of reading a text with difficult and “outdated” language – which many of the “classics” contain – helps us become better problem solvers, better critical thinkers, and teaches us to be resourceful. Though this is certainly not the only reason why I love reading and teaching these texts, it is one for which we need to argue, I think.

    Great read!

    The Importance of Learning the Classics

    A very interesting read. Thank you for shedding some light on the subject. To answer your question, “Why are certain representations of ‘strong, female characters’ linked to abstinence?” I believe this may be associated with the still-yet-existing hold on the idea that females are “the weaker sex,” and therefore, submit to lust, food, shopping – you name it! Despite all that has been done to combat this notion, if women are viewed as “the weaker sex,” in every sense of the word (Eve gives in to temptation and eats the fruit; The Bennett girls (save for Lizzy, though that could be an entirely different conversation that would fit in here quite interestingly) in _Pride and Prejudice_ are obsessed with courtship and marriage; The meek and quiet Pam from _The Office_ takes years to ditch Roy, her no good, chauvinistic fiance), then the ability to abstain from something that – let’s face it – our bodies naturally desire and something that feels pretty darn good, then they possess some considerable strength. To resist such a powerful, natural urge may suggest they can do anything…maybe.

    Representation of female celibacy in Television and Film