The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, is a story with so many odd and ironic twists that it can blind you from the philosophical ideas that Mary is really trying to throw out there. With a group of people traveling on an asteroid on the quest to learn about alien life, it seems more like an action packed science-fiction novel than a book with religious and moral issues. But Mary's incredible skills as a storyteller forces readers to truly tests their knowledge and beliefs. The main character, Emilio Sandoz, looks at the Stella Maris mission not only as a way to be the first to make contact with alien life forms, but also as a quest to find God, since in his eyes, this amazing journey must be God showing him his purpose. Sofia Mendes, who grew up having a rough childhood, ends up with a tough and cold personality as an adult that steers her away from a religious lifestyle. Anne Edwards is the Agnostic out of the bunch, dealing with all the standards of God around her. Though different in their religious beliefs, the experiences that Sofia, Emilio, and Anne have gone through have shaped their faithfulness to God or their hesitancy to believe. Sofia Mendes is introduced in the novel as a stern Jewish woman. Christianity has a close relationship with Judaism, both historically and theologically. Despite its Jewish origins, it was not long before Christianity regarded itself as something other than a new Jewish sect. Christians have criticized Jews for rejecting Jesus as their messiah, and Jews have criticized Christians for corrupting the concept of one God and following a false messiah. Within the novel, Sofia's keeps her religious opinions to herself. Although she does say a few Jewish phrases here and there, it doesn't seem that Mary wants to define her as very religious. She grew up losing both of her parents at an extremely young age. Leaving her with nothing, she had to decide how she was going to make money to survive. She felt with no other option that she...
Cited: Russell, Mary Doria. The Sparrow. New York: Mary Doria Russell and The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc, 1997.
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