Saint Maybe Essay, Research Paper
Saint MaybeIn the novel Saint Maybe, by Anne Tyler, the church, led by Rev. Emmett, acts much like a psychologist, helping people get over their guilt. Ian, the main character of the story is involved in a horrible act and needs to find a way to forgive himself for it. With the help of Rev. Emmett and the rules he decrees Ian is able to overcome his great guilt. In the beginning of the story, Ian is guilty of leading his brother to commit suicide. While the two are in the car together, Ian tells his brother, Danny, that his wife, Lucy, is cheating on him. When Ian leaves the car, Danny proceeds to drive straight into a wall, killing himself. Later on in the story, Lucy (it is not sure if she did it on purpose or not) overdoses on sleeping pills, also killing herself. Their three children are left (two from a previous marriage) and their legal guardians are unknown. Ian then feels guilty of both their deaths, and the fact that his mother, Bee, is stuck taking care of the kids even though she really doesn’t have the energy to do so. Then one January night Ian walks into the Church of the Second Chance. Just the name of the church fits Ian’s needs perfectly. After prayers he has a talk with Rev. Emmett. During this conversation he admits his wrong doings. This is the first step of getting over one’s guilt. Then when Ian thinks that he is forgiven already for his sin, Rev. Emmett tells him “You have to offer reparation-concrete, practical reparation, according to the rules of our church.” They agree that the way he should go about doing this is by dropping out of college to help his ailing parents take care of the young children. In this manner although it seems he is appeasing God, in truth he is doing this for himself-to rid of his guilt. In fact he admits it later in the story. While he is talking about how the church saved his life he says “Things I did wrong, things I said wrong, mistakes I want to take back. And I always wonder, If I didn’t have Someone to turn this all over to, how would I get through this?”
In this story we see how the Church saved Ian’s life. It helped him get over the horrible guilt of, in a way, killing a loved one. This did the job of a psychologist by identifying the problem and then helping the patient get over it.