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People who commit sins usually do not stay close to god throughout their lifetime. In the play Doubt by John Patrick Shanley, characters experience doubt because of what they believe. In the play sister Aloysius commented “In the Pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from god. Of course there is a price” which means that by doing things wrong, people have to pay a punishment and they weaken their relationship with god. By developing sinful characteristics, the four main characters step away from god and lose happiness.
Mrs. Muller loses happiness and steps away from god as she accepts the inappropriate actions that may be happening between Father Flynn and her son. When sister Aloysius tells Mrs. Muller of what could be happening between Donald and Father Flynn, using the motif of vision, she responds saying, “I prefer not to see it that way” (46). This shows that Mrs. Muller, similarly to sister James does not want to be involved and does not want to see the wrong things that are happening. She accepts that her son is being molested when she said, “It’s just till June” (50). By using euphemism, she told sister Aloysius “Maybe what you don’t know maybe is my son is … that way” (48) to imply that Donald may be homosexual. Mrs. Muller only wants for her son to be happy and get through the school year with support even if he is being molested. She said, “This Priest. Puts out a hand to the boy. Does the man have his reasons? Yes. Everybody has their reasons. You have your reasons. But do I ask the man why he’s good to my son? No. I don’t care why” (49). This characterizes her as a bad mother because she does not care that her son may presumably be getting molested. She believes it is in his “nature” (48) to be homosexual. Mrs Muller steps away from god and ends up paying the price by having to deal with a homosexual son who has no one on his side.
Sister James steps away from god as she resists opening he eyes and is indecisive between supporting Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius. Sister James is portrayed as a parallel character to Mrs. Muller as she does not want to see or be involved in all the change in the Parish. In the film, Sister James is shown to have shut the window, stopping the wind from blowing into the classroom. This is an example of pathetic fallacy, where the wind symbolizes how the actions of people are bringing change to the parish. When sister Aloysius explains her suspicions to sister James, sister James said, “I think I’m starting to understand you a little. But it’s so unsettling to look at things and people with suspicion. It feels as if I’m less close to god” (20). By supporting sister Aloysius in the suspicion that Father Flynn is doing something wrong, sister James feels less close to god. In the meeting with Father Flynn, sister James sugarcoats everything she says, supporting both Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius. When sister Aloysius asks sister James if she wants sugar, sister James replies by saying “Never! Not that there is anything wrong with that” (28). Sister James does not want to know the truth about Father Flynn and tells Sister Aloysius, “You just do not like him! You don’t like that he uses a ballpoint pen. You don’t like it that he takes three lumps of sugar in his tea. You don’t like it that he likes ‘Frosty the snowman’. And you’re letting that convince you of something terrible, just terrible!” (35). Sister James steps away from god as she is indecisive about who to support and end sup paying a price by seeing the Father Flynn get Kicked out of the parish and sister Aloysius feel doubt about her accusation.
Father Flynn steps away from god as he addresses what he sees as the wrongdoing of sister Aloysius or in the fact that he may presumably have sexual relations with Donald Muller. In his sermons Father Flynn uses Diction to imply that maybe he has done something wrong. He said, “No one knows ive lost my last real friend. No
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Doubt, Films, Media coverage of Catholic sex abuse cases, Aloysius, Flynn
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