Baptist College of Health Sciences
Literary Analysis: The Lame Shall Enter First
There are three main characters in this story: Sheppard, Norton and Rufus. Each character in this story is experiencing an emotional battle which they try to find healing but for some it will be too late. The narrator in the story is Sheppard. Sheppard is a widow, his wife died in less than a year before the story began. Sheppard experiences emotional distress by trying hard to change a troubled teen, Rufus, into an honorable young man while teaching his son, Norton, to be selfless. Instead he is actually deceived by his own misconceptions and finds himself in turmoil with Rufus and at disconnect with Norton. Norton, an innocent ten- year old is heartbroken by the fact that his mother died and he misses her very much. He is unknowingly searching for unconditional love which his father does not offer to him. Rufus is a troubled teen but very religious. He believes in God and the ramifications of sin. He believes that if you do bad deeds than you are working under Satan’s power but if you repent and be saved then you can enter into heaven and your sins will be forgiven, “The lame shall enter first”. This very concept is what causes separation between Rufus, Sheppard and Norton.
Sheppard has a position of being the city’s recreational director. The position is unpaid so he volunteers every weekend to visit the guys at the reformatory, particularly Rufus. That is where he spends most of his time and trying to make difference which becomes his top priority. Although Sheppard is doing good deed toward his city and the young men of the reformatory he does not believe in God and is a rationalist. Sheppard tries to spread his rationalist view to his son and to Rufus. Norton is his ten year old son whom he...