Similar to Sister James I was left in doubt throughout the story regarding what was true and what was not. One aspect of the story that did not leave me in doubt was the juxtaposition of the very different philosophies of Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn. One the far end of rigid sternness was Sister Aloysius with her dislike of anything new or changing and who felt the children should be dealt with stern rigid methods. On the complete opposite side was Father Flynn who felt the children should be related to with kindness and love and favored progression to transform the school. Even within the structured religious institution there was the classic dichotomy between black and white, light and dark, good and bad; although there is doubt about which character reflects which aspect, for most of the story I felt Sister Aloysius represented the black and Father Flynn the white. Through their conversations and actions the two waged a war of words and wills which left Sister James caught in the crossfire wherein she subsequently lost her innocence and was possibly the biggest victim of all.
Although she was perceived as ignorant by Sister Aloysius I feel Sister James simply had a new and progressive attitude towards the education of her students. Sister Aloysius quickly cut through her ideals on how she should teach and be regarded by students in favor of her own stern methods and approach while subsequently igniting the flame of doubt within Sister James. It is the doubt that quickly corrupts Sister James changing how she views herself and the world around her. She goes from perceiving the world from an optimistic and happy place to that of pessimistic and paranoid which she says makes her “feel as if I’m less close to God”. It struck me as highly unbecoming of anyone ordained as a nun to cause another sister to stray away from God and Sister Aloysius’s excuse of “In the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from God” was weak at best. She seems to have had it out...
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