Comfort: Death and Lewis

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"Comfort," by Alice Munro, is a short story based on life, death and dying, suicide and religion. With the depth of all four topics, controversial issues arise and compromising situations hold the main character, Nina, at a difficult crossroad. That crossroad is the wants and needs that Nina yearns for. "Comfort" illustrates a ride through what Nina experiences after the passing of her husband and her dire need to get what she wants or at least to obtain comfort. From the beginning of the story the reader is bombarded by the emphasis of different views of comfort. However, Munro develops a sense of what Nina believes her comfort should be and then Nina finds her comfort in an unsuspecting place.

In the beginning of the story, Nina is driving home from playing tennis. When she arrives to the house she discovers her husband, Lewis, has committed suicide. Surprisingly, Nina is not shocked, nor is she in disbelief. Lewis had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and slowly was deteriorating from the disease. Nina and Lewis had discussed suicide before and even agreed to it. "Nina had assumed that she would be present and there would be some ceremonial recognition" (Munro 121). Because Lewis was a proud and stubborn person, he disliked "ceremonial recognition" (121).
At this point, Munro explains that shortly before his suicide, Lewis left his teaching job because of the communities' strong wishes to present divine creation in his classroom. Lewis majored in biology and held firmly to his beliefs in evolution. Munro fits the appeal of logos here and Lewis becomes the bearer of logic and reason. After the pressure built up, Lewis resigned. He would rather quit his job instead of swallowing his pride and speak of creationism in his classroom. Teaching was Lewis' comfort. His love for science played a major role in his stance on whether religion should play a role in evolution. Because of his scornful religious views, the primarily Catholic...
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