Understanding Faith and Religion

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Austin Hoover
Mrs. McCall
Honors Literature
20 April, 2010
Understanding Faith and Religion

Cold Sassy Tree, written by Olive Ann Burns, discusses the topic of understanding faith and religion in a small town society. Cold Sassy is a town that considers faith important. Through the eyes of Will Tweedy, the reader sees how a few main characters practice religion and their understanding of God’s word. The primary discussion of religion in the book comes from Grandpa Blakeslee. He has a radical viewpoint on a number of religious issues. Other characters’ religious opinions are also interjected throughout the story. As the story progresses, Burns uses the characters to display the understanding of faith and religion in the town of Cold Sassy. Burns shows the differences between strict religion and moderate religion in her characterization of Hoyt Tweedy and Grandpa Blakeslee. Hoyt is a Presbyterian and makes the family abide by certain religious practices. In the story, the reader discovers the view of Christianity in a comic way. Will and his Grandpa and Grandma Blakeslee believe some of the strict religious rules are unnecessary. After his grandma dies, Will says “One thing I already missed was the pork and sausage Granny had been providing me” (Burns 54). Along with the restrictions on eating pork, Hoyt refuses to allow Will to fish on Sundays. Grandpa’s perspective on religion is different than Hoyt’s. Grandpa Blakeslee views religion as looking at the Lord as a close friend. Grandpa disagrees against predestination. Unlike the Methodist preacher, who thought Will was spared from being killed by the train, Grandpa believed the accident was not predestined. Grandpa said “Naw, you livin cause you had the good sense to fall down twixt them tracks” (Burns 97). Burns is trying to show how certain individual interpret religion as obeying lays and others consider it a personal relationship with God.

Will begins to...
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