Journey toward scepticism: the novels of Alden Nowlan
LE3 .A278 1998
Master of Arts
English & Theatre Studies
Alden Nowlan's two novels, The Wanton Troopers and various persons named kevin o'brien, reveal to readers the journey of a main character, Kevin O'Brien, from Christianity and faith to scepticism and exploration. The Wanton Troopers shows readers that the practise of religion can be easily manipulated and that, in the novel, religion serves oneself rather than one's God. Nowlan's second novel, various persons named kevin o'brien, introduces an adult Kevin and his mature, more critical perceptions. The abuse of religion in Nowlan's novels, along with Kevin's doubt and confusion, leave readers wondering what role "God" plays in religious belief--which is exactly what Nowlan intends. According to Nowlan, to believe that God exists, rather than to acknowledge Him simply as a possibility, is foolish. Instead, he urges readers to consider religion as just one of many possible philosophies, a way of making sense of life, but to also acknowledge that religion is not an "answer" but merely another hypothesis. In theend, Kevin O'Brien, Nowlan's main character, rejects blind acceptance of religion in favor of a more sceptical mindset. He finds his power through writing and thinking, rather than through religion. Religion may or may not be valid, Nowlan's novel asserts, but one's power lies in one's ability to continue to search for meaning, rather than to assume that it has been found.
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