The story of The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World starts with a corpse washing up on shore of a small island village. Eventually villagers find the big bulky body of the corpse and take it on up to the village. While the men go and search nearby villages to ask if they are missing anyone, the women take over and begin to obsess about the corpse and even decide to give him a name, Esteban. This made the corpse more personal then it ever should be. They start to think that the corpse could have had a good life and just keep obsessing over it. Eventually it's not only the women that are obsessed over the corpse but now the men begin to treat it God-like. In a story like this, that's not concrete and is supposed to make you think, one has to make an assumption of what the story is trying to say and/or what you are you interoperating it to say. I had to read this story a number of times to try to understand what it is trying to tell me, and finally I began to understand and make my assumption of the story. I suspect the story was trying to relate religion and Esteban together. It is a hard idea to understand and a little out there but then I started to think about ways religion is related to Esteban. For example, how was the difficulty the villagers had dealt with Esteban's body related to religion also being a burden? How the positive and negative thoughts of Esteban life relate to thinking of salvation and damnation that you see in religion? Finally I want to explore the relationship between how religion changes us, and how Esteban left the village before he was thrown back into the ocean and properly buried.
In the story the Handsomest Man, the corpse, Esteban is found and then is then is taken to the village and that where the first problem starts. Esteban is way too big to get in most of the houses, and when he squeezes into a house, but they can't even get clothes to change him into. His clothes are tattered and they want to give him a respectable funeral so they have to make him new pants and shirt. For the villagers his is a hassle and is in a sense a burden to take care of this dead body. Now you many not see this type of comparison but as the villagers have their hands full with Esteban big body, people have a problem with being a religious person. Religion is a big burden to take up. If you want to do it right, like you should do all things in life like you have to do it 100%. And that is very hard to do this with so much temptation in the world; it's just very had to say clean spiritually and go to church.
In the story, when the women were thinking of what kind of life Esteban had with maybe having a family, maybe a wife, they are very excited because Esteban is something new and everyone gets excited when they get something new. Esteban was new and made them day dream about what he was like, was he a great lover, etc. the point is that them thinking about the good in Esteban relates to people thinking of their salvation if they stick to there religion. Everyone wants to know about heaven no one knows. That may sound somewhat radical but to me they do connect.
On the other hand when a person thinks about anything positive you have to look at the flip side and know what the consequences and if they don't obey the rules. In religion that would have to be the damnation part. And how the story relates to it is that after they are done fantasizing over Esteban they start to look at how big he is and how much of a hassle it probably was for him to live in a world of smaller people.
The strongest relation the story has with religion and how it affects people, I thought was how Esteban at the end other the story changed the village and united them in a sense. The village learned something from Esteban, even though he was dead since he got there. The village created a holiday after him and some how Esteban just touched a lot of people. Religion has a parallel comparison to Esteban because of what Esteban did to the people of the village before he was thrown back in the water. Religion touches so many people around the world and gives them a support that maybe other people can't give them. It also teaches you many things for example, to be a good person, and to have morals but people learn from the experience having a religion. I would say religion also brings people together and provides a family like atmosphere that I thought the village also had at the end of the story.
These were just some of the ways Esteban related to religion. I talked about the burden that both Esteban and religion have on people. The positive and negative thoughts that the women had related to heaven and hell and finally the impact both had on the people that they touch. I know there must be so many more comparisons out there and would have been as good as mine and even better. That what interesting about these types of stories, that one can just write so many different things about it and it have a pretty nice argument.