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The catholic ethos in the novels of John Buell Ashworth, John Francis Raymond 1998

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The C a t h o l i c Ethos i n t h e Novels of John B u e l l by John F r a n c i s Raymond Ashworth B.A.(Hons.), The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1  THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  Department o f E n g l i s h \We\accept \  t h i s t h e s i s as conforming  t o the^, r e q u i r e d s/tang^d  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December 1998 © John Ashworth, 1998  In presenting degree  at the  this thesis  in partial fulfilment  of the  requirements  University of British Columbia, I agree that the  for an advanced  Library shall make it  freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes department  or  by  his  or  her  representatives.  may be granted by the head of my It  is  understood  that  copying  or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  ABSTRACT  A  paradigm  of  transcendence  i m a g i n a t i v e l y conceived God's  grace from  achieves  heroic  invidious  redemption.  Safeguarding  sacrilege, Elizabeth  s a n c t i t y , l o s i n g her l i f e  martyr t o her f a i t h .  The E u c h a r i s t  share i n the s a c r i f i c i a l  sacred  love  suffuses  profane  his  love,  development  path t o h e a l i n g .  The novel  toward what he t r u s t s w i l l taking  of  the n a r r a t i v e r e v e a l s  Playground,  the form  Hagen  resolution  is  a  effected  i n the as Days,  love  and s e l f - i n t e r e s t .  redemptive  present  suffering.  In  s u f f e r i n g i s i t s e l f the  d e t a i l s Spence Morisons's s u f f e r i n g be h i s d e l i v e r a n c e ,  o f h i s conversion  to  as a  Up For  i s also noticeably  that  hand, the need f o r conversion surrenders  Make  Pyx  the s a n c t i t y o f human  to a  about the nature o f h i s humanity. In The other  To  Real  o f God's presence i n the world,  C a t h o l i c consciousness  thematic  glory  a l s o has c e n t r a l i t y  only t o be t r a g i c a l l y subverted by deception  in  the  o b l a t i o n a t mass. In Four  being y e t another m a n i f e s t a t i o n  Buell's  novels,  i n The  Lucy  t o gain  l i v e s o f Stan Hagen and Martin Lacey i n A Lot they  Buell's  from w i t h i n a C a t h o l i c consciousness o f  i n effecting  Presence  pervades  desire when  new  self-realization  Shrewsdale  Exit,  on the  becomes apparent when Joe  f o r murderous  Joe  forsakes  d e l i v e r a n c e i n the assurance t h a t j u s t i c e w i l l  ii  h i s redemption  vengeance.  revenge, prevail.  A  finding  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  i i  Preface  iv  Acknowledgements  v  The C a t h o l i c W r i t e r  1  The E a r l y Novels: The Pyx  36  Four Days  57  The L a t e r Novels: The  Shrewsdale  Exit  Playground  A Lot  To Make  78  119  Up For  149  The C a t h o l i c Ethos  177  Works C i t e d  202  Works Consulted  209  iii  PREFACE  Examining the r e l a t i o n s h i p between f a i t h and f i c t i o n can be as problematic as determining whether c u l t u r a l  formation occurs  by nature o r nurture. I f e x p l a i n i n g why f a i t h c o n t e x t u a l i z e d i n f i c t i o n i s a question f o r the p s y c h o l o g i s t , d e t a i l i n g how f a i t h functions  in  criticism.  fiction  This  is  study  the  seeks  proper  to  purview  establish  of  how  literary  identifiable  features o f B u e l l ' s C a t h o l i c f a i t h a r e manifested i n h i s novels. Overall, Buell's f i c t i o n  demonstrates a p r e f e r e n t i a l o p t i o n f o r  the poor i n s p i r i t ,  f o r the o u t c a s t , and f o r those  relatively  marginalized,  as  alcoholic,  occultist, the  such  the  apostate,  homosexual, drug  compulsively  redemption  efficient  prostitute,  a d d i c t , renegade f u g i t i v e technocrat. For each,  i s accessible,  either  being  saved  and even  some form o f through  self-  r e a l i z a t i o n i n order t o achieve some p e r f e c t i b i l i t y as a person or, i n a d i s t i n c t i v e l y C a t h o l i c manner, through the e f f i c a c y o f regenerating others  sanctifying  and with  restoration fiction  grace  God. B u e l l ' s focus  of broken  humanity.  A Lot  How  this  o f B u e l l ' s novels  Days  = FD,  To Make  The  Up For  i s upon the  i s represented i n consciousness  c l u t t e r when documenting sources, the have been  Shrewsdale =  with  paper.  In order t o minimize  Four  i n h i s novels  from w i t h i n the p e r s p e c t i v e o f a C a t h o l i c  i s the subject o f t h i s  titles  leading to r e c o n c i l i a t i o n  Exit  Lot.  iv  shortened: = SE,  Playground  The Pyx •= Pyx, = Plgd,  and  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  Throughout t h e p r e p a r a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s , Dr. Ross L a b r i e showed the way, i l l u m i n a t i n g d i s t a n t prospects while  encouraging  me t o focus more c l e a r l y on what they r e a l l y were. To t h i s end, I was able t o probe and explore Catholic  sensibility,  always  the many features o f B u e l l ' s  with  Dr. L a b r i e ' s  guiding  light  before me. The a t t e n t i o n and d i r e c t i o n t h a t Dr. L a b r i e has given to  my progress  appreciated.  over  an extended  I am indebted  p e r i o d o f time  i s especially  as w e l l t o P r o f e s s o r Andrew Busza,  who a l s o served on my t h e s i s committee, f o r h i s examination o f this  paper  and  the c o n t r i b u t i o n  he  has  made  towards i t s  completion. In the past two years, Dr. L a u r e l B r i n t o n o f the E n g l i s h Department's Graduate Committee has attended of  my  graduate  requirements Brinton  program,  thereby  ensuring  t o the regulation that  a l l academic  f o r completion were f u l f i l l e d . I am g r a t e f u l t o Dr.  f o r the continued  a s s i s t a n c e she has provided  her personal i n t e r e s t i n my program.  v  and f o r  The  C a t h o l i c Ethos i n the Novels of John B u e l l  The C a t h o l i c  In the  John B u e l l ' s  fiction,  novels,  functioning  Writer  a Catholic  perspective  permeates  as an ambient v i s i o n f o r the e x e r c i s e  of the w r i t e r ' s imagination.  A l i f e l o n g C a t h o l i c , f u l l y aware of  and  and t r a d i t i o n of the Church,  committed t o the f a i t h  incorporates  Buell  w i t h i n h i s f i c t i o n a focus upon both the s o c i a l and  s p i r i t u a l dimensions of C a t h o l i c thought and b e l i e f , w i t h i n the t o t a l i t y of t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e ,  Buell's  f i c t i o n directs attention  t o an examination o f the moral c r i s e s a f f e c t i n g those who do not ordinarily  live  i n conformity  w i t h i n conventional with  those  with  the law nor  necessarily  codes o f s o c i a l p r o p r i e t y . B u e l l empathizes  apparent  losers  in life  who must  struggle  towards  redemption while contending with t h e v i c i s s i t u d e s of a seemingly h o s t i l e world, employing  a narrative  perspective  the r e s t o r a t i o n o f human d i g n i t y and a troubled,  marginalized  characters  which  permits  s t a t e o f grace t o those  who are the p r i n c i p a l f i g u r e s  i n h i s f i c t i o n , an outlook which i s a t the same time a t the core of the s o c i a l gospel of h i s Church For  Buell's  fictional  other s o c i a l outcasts, in  h i s novels  through receptive  whores,  delinquents,  and  i s indeed much s u f f e r i n g . However,  the operation  the Church, to  there  addicts,  brings  i t s restorative  of  grace,  liberation power.  1  This  frequently to  those  mediated who  supernatural  are gift  results even  i n growth i n moral and  the  denying  degree  to  himself.  which  Such  a  spiritual  character  suffering  grows  and  by  exceeding  suffering  self-renunciation  c o n s i s t e n t themes i n B u e l l ' s n o v e l s . But eventual or ultimate  perfection,  are  i t i s the r e v e l a t i o n of  freedom from personal or from s o c i a l e v i l s  t h a t imbues h i s novels with hope. B u e l l ' s achievement, then, been  to  struggle  create is  influence  of  the  to  in  a  context  context  incarnational  those  his  resolution  imaginative  portrayed  paramount. At lives  an  of  or  points  principal  in  in  which  which  the  promise  i n his  fiction  characters  t h e i r s u f f e r i n g by  of  the  human  controlling  redemption  when the  experience  means of  has  is  fractured  a  mediating  sacramental  grace,  B u e l l ' s f i c t i o n becomes d i s t i n c t i v e l y C a t h o l i c . Buell's  Catholic  background  s p i r i t u a l locus t h a t he has narratives.  His  has  provided  u t i l i z e d as an  him  with  i n t e g r a l p a r t of  personal experience w i t h i n  the  Church has  a his  been  wide-ranging, not only i n h i s r e l i g i o u s p r a c t i c e but a l s o i n h i s professional,  c u l t u r a l , and he  was  social l i f e .  Montreal,  where  cultural  environment  and  formation  which  continue  would  born  July the  Buell's  31,1927,  provided  opportunities to  upbringing  influence  for the  both  the  Catholic  values  and  a t t i t u d e s of h i s maturity. Raised i n a C a t h o l i c home, the son an  Anglophone f a t h e r ,  Thomas B u e l l ,  and  a  of  his Catholic  the  family  faith;  on  household, he the  acquired  other hand, he  2  of  Francophone mother,  Antonia Durocher, B u e l l became f l u e n t l y b i l i n g u a l i n E n g l i s h French, w i t h i n  in  the  and  rudiments  gained h i s  first  i n s i g h t s i n t o s o c i a l and economic r e a l i t y on t h e s t r e e t s of East End  Montreal. In h i s youth  working c l a s s that  he absorbed  district  his fiction  the h a b i t s and a t t i t u d e s  where he grew up. While  incorporates  any p a r t i c u l a r  Buell events  of h i s  disavows of h i s  childhood and youth,  the s o c i a l and economic m i l i e u o f h i s own  childhood  t o provide  was  later  him with  a body  of memorable  impressions upon which he would l a t e r draw as a w r i t e r : My own experience Montreal,  as a boy was i n the East  the French  End of  Sector, which was not q u i t e as  economically depressed as S t . Henri but q u i t e s i m i l a r . So t h a t i t was second  nature  f o r me t o d e s c r i b e t h e  atmosphere and places and people and the type of r i p o f f outlook t h a t some o f those k i d s would have. T h i s was because I grew up i n the East End and t h i s was second  nature with me....I was t r y i n g t o d e s c r i b e the  experience  of this  kind  i n Four  Days...  (Drolet,  "Conversation" 64). At times, he has s a i d , he knew w e l l enough the rough-and-tumble escapades o f a venturesome youth. Yet even i n these e x p l o i t s he would  find  neighborhood  a  redeeming  quality  in  someone  such  as the  policeman. Years l a t e r , B u e l l r e c a l l e d t h a t  I must confess t h a t , as a teenager on the verge o f a l l kinds o f t r o u b l e , one o f the people with whom I made contact was a cop. T h i s was very i r o n i c because t h i s particular  friend  of mine and I were planning t o do  3  c e r t a i n things that t h i s  cop would not have  of.  that  He  kind  of  way....and we'd way  people  sensed  we  were  approved  heading  that  t a l k with him and he'd t a l k t o us, the  imagine  fathers  talk  to  sons.  (Drolet,  "Conversation" 65). The i n t e r e s t and care demonstrated  by the p o l i c e constable l e f t  a permanent impression upon B u e l l , so much so that the " f r i e n d l y l o c a l cop" becomes a c o n s i s t e n t f i g u r e i n B u e l l ' s l a t e r  fiction.  G i l b e r t D r o l e t , f o r example, had o c c a s i o n t o p o i n t out t o B u e l l that There's  Henderson i n The  and  Days  Pyx,  Sparrs i n Shrewsdale.  and  the  guys  seem t o have a s o f t  Four  These people are very  sympathetic, very understanding, perhaps You  in  too much so.  spot i n your heart f o r these  people ("Conversation" 65). If  adverse  social  c o n d i t i o n s have  the  effect  human growth i n goodness, there are always as B u e l l would l a t e r the  plight  of  of  stultifying  those i n the world,  show i n h i s f i c t i o n , whose compassion  others  would  exhibit  goodness  and  be  for  seen  to  a s s i s t i n the p o s s i b i l i t y of redemption a f t e r s i n and s u f f e r i n g . As a C a t h o l i c r a i s e d i n Montreal's East End, B u e l l was both  c o n s c i o u s l y and  unconsciously t o  absorb  throughout  formative years the d i s t i n c t i v e p r a c t i c e of the C a t h o l i c as  i t was  exercised  forties.  The  fact  Catholic  milieu  of  in  Quebec  Buell's  i n Quebec  throughout  upbringing  never  4  p l a c e d him  the in  a  thirties  able his faith and  predominantly  i n an  adversarial  position  where he  Flannery  O'Connor, whose C a t h o l i c i s m i n America's B i b l e B e l t  anomalous,  Buell  had  to  came  be  by  a  his  unimpeded by s e c t a r i a n attacks number  of  writing  English  by  B u e l l never had a  Catholic  Catholics  Catholic  in  education,  political  all  fore  in  experience  very  faith  and  of  whom  For  Buell  i n the  religiosity  presenting  s i n f u l as they may The  Such  began  religious health  usual  a  Loyola  College,  the  with  even  Catholic to  formation,  characterize  Catholicism  and  appears  religious  later  catechesis,  care, of  was  the  be for  a an  unabashed  i n his  which  novels,  characters,  be, are p e r f e c t l y at ease.  Catholic  his  century,  environment  realization  and  Buell's will  life:  a  environment  that  experience i n Montreal's East End he  was  brought  twentieth  Catholic  justice,  ordinary in  a  of  values,  life.  trait  fiction  Unlike  tradition  several  C a t h o l i c i s m of s e v e r a l of the c e n t r a l characters his  faith.  f a i t h . Moreover, u n l i k e a  writers,  aspects  one's v o c a t i o n  accustomed  on the  the  t o experience the c r i t i c a l d e c i s i o n of becoming  normative  significant  of  Catholic  i n t o the  convert.  as  defender  post-secondary  was  part  of  Buell's  gained an added dimension when  schooling  then operated by  merged with S i r George Williams  a  the  the  late  J e s u i t s , and  College  U n i v e r s i t y . B u e l l ' s w r i t i n g career  in  later  as a p a r t of  began at the  1940s to  at be  Concordia  same time,  not  however as a n o v e l i s t but as a w r i t e r f o r Sunday night r a d i o ...turning  out  a dozen minor r a d i o  dramas that  performed on l o c a l r a d i o s t a t i o n CJAD. B u e l l , who  5  were was  not p a i d f o r h i s r a d i o work, c a l l e d the w r i t i n g of the r a d i o plays "my He  soon developed  theatre,  a p p r e n t i c e s h i p " (Dunn 110).  what was  initially,  as  t o become an a b i d i n g i n t e r e s t i n the  he  has  explained,  as  a  writer  and  performer: ... i n  those  radio  days  I  did  the  odd  one-act  t h e a t r i c a l play l a r g e l y under c o l l e g e auspices. Two  of  them won  f e s t i v a l s . . .but  go  into  business  I'd  the  of  being  done summer stock  theatre  [ i n the  I felt  50s]  a  I d i d n ' t want t o  full-scale  theatre...but was  playwright.  I realized  that  slowly becoming a dead  end  (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " 70). Upon  h i s graduation  immediately  from Loyola  hired  department.  With  as this  an  with  a  B.A.  instructor  assurance  of  B u e l l married Audrey Smith i n 1952.  in  some  i n 1950, Loyola's  financial  he  was  English stability,  In the ensuing years, t h e i r  four c h i l d r e n would be born i n Montreal. But a t the time of h i s marriage,  when any  f u t u r e prospects  appeared unpromising, at  the  1954,  U n i v e r s i t y of  B u e l l was  e n r o l l e d as a graduate  Montreal  where  having completed a graduate  Artist.  His  interest  in  i n w r i t i n g f o r the t h e a t r e  drama  he  r e c e i v e d h i s M.A.  t h e s i s on Eugene becoming  student  more  O'Neill  as  academic,  i n c r e a s i n g l y considered the novel as a more promising  in an  Buell  form f o r  contemporary c r e a t i v e expression: "This  just  happened.  There  was  i n v o l v e d , " B u e l l commented i n 1980.  6  really "The  no  choice  theater  was  getting  l e s s p e r t i n e n t . Radio had disappeared.  writing  was  simply  another  way  of t e l l i n g  So my  stories"  (Dunn 110). He  returned  t o the U n i v e r s i t y  requirements been  of  Montreal,  completing  f o r the Ph.D. degree i n 1961, h i s research  focused  upon h i s d o c t o r a l t h e s i s One i n f l u e n t i a l  Shakespeare.  on  Form  and  having  Craft  member of B u e l l ' s t h e s i s  the  in  advisory  committee was Gerald MacGuigan, S.J., chairman o f the E n g l i s h department  a t Loyola  C o l l e g e , whom B u e l l  acknowledged  i nhis  t h e s i s preface f o r a " s p i r i t o f i n q u i r y I hope t o have modestly imitated friend  i n these  and mentor  dedication At  of  this  pages"  (iii).  to Buell,  MacGuigan remained  a friendship  h i s second novel, Four time  Buell  was  also  a  recognized  lifelong i n the  Days.  involved  with  an  activist  C a t h o l i c group working out o f Benedict Labre House i n Montreal's s k i d row. Under the patronage of the nineteenth-century pilgrim,  S t . Benedict  Labre,  this  mission  f o r the poor, the  marginalized, and the dispossessed had been formed 1950s, f o l l o w i n g the v i s i o n and guidance by  what  he knew o f Peter  Maurin  beggar-  i n the e a r l y  of Tony Walsh. I n s p i r e d  and Dorothy  Day's C a t h o l i c  Worker movement i n New York, Walsh dedicated himself t o a l i f e of r a d i c a l v o l u n t e e r poverty, a c a l l i n g t o poverty, as B u e l l has remarked, that was not j u s t being poor; i t meant renouncing a l l possessions  and making  oneself  totally  dependent on  God's providence. I t wasn't argument o r preachment. I t  7  was  an a c t i o n , a deed, which had  simplicity....  [One]  food,  housing,  poor  faced  i t s own  genuine the  But  and poor  winter,  ( B u e l l , "Walsh" 16).  Walsh's Labre House soon i n v o l v e d up t o 500 poor.  hardship,  Montreal  i l l n e s s . . . c r i t i c i s m and h o s t i l i t y  Montreal's  clarity  people working with  the community a c t i v i t y  a t Labre  House  was  more than j u s t an outreach program: What i t was pointed  is difficult  at  known.  like  To  something  call  it  misleading...though that  to oh  centred  t h a t . I t was  on  i t was  Christ  the  i t can move  or  spirituality  and  never on  what  only  be  felt  as  would  t h a t . Devotion,  sounds too p i o u s . . . I t was  simply  state;  be  yes,  but  stated. It  was  followed  from  something t o do and meditate on, not t a l k  about. Once...Tony s a i d , "A community should be around the E u c h a r i s t . " I t was  built  simply a given  (Buell,  important component  i n the  "Walsh" 17). The work at Labre House was development  of  Buell's  contribution  in this  another  Catholic  experience,  particular  C a t h o l i c a p o s t o l a t e being h i s work on  community's t a b l o i d - s i z e a c t i v i s t monthly paper, e d i t e d from 1955 t o  his  Unity,  the  which he  1965.  F i r s t hand experience with the C a t h o l i c community at Labre House  and  with  Walsh's  life  of  voluntary  poverty  evidently  c r e a t e d a l a s t i n g impression upon B u e l l , Walsh being a model of s e l f l e s s C h r i s t i a n commitment:  8  A q u i e t , sane and soft-spoken own nothing  and l i v e  man...[he] had chosen t o  i n the slums and help the poor.  He a t e donated food and wore donated c l o t h i n g . And he was doing i t as a C h r i s t i a n , as a C a t h o l i c , t o l i v e i n accord  with  do.. .And  what  no  crackpot:  Christ  one  there  who was  said  knew  h i s followers  him  something  considered real  should him  there  a  (Buell,  "Walsh" 16-17). Being a witness t o t h i s m a n i f e s t a t i o n in  a c t i o n enriched  that  what  fiction.  B u e l l ' s own C a t h o l i c experience t o an extent  he sensed  Many  and f e l t  features  self-deprivation  o f b a s i c C h r i s t i a n values  that  emerged  finds flowed  expression  throughout h i s  from Tony Walsh's  i n Buell's  novel,  l i f e of where  Playground,  Spence Morison, u n l i k e Walsh, i s f o r c e d i n t o a sudden s t a t e of involuntary  poverty,  an experience  wherein  he  learns  that  a  r e l i a n c e on the things of the w o r l d — i t s money, i t s systems, i t s regimentation true  of t i m e — d e t r a c t s  from a c l e a r perception  nature of a person. L i k e Walsh, B u e l l ' s  experienced  the t o t a l i t y  o f impoverishment,  fictional having  of the Morison  t o endure  without the n e c e s s i t i e s o f l i f e being  made r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e t o  him.  experience  It  eventually  is  through  realizes  that  forced  that  Morison  of  humanity  i t i s i n the fulness  itself,  rather  reality  i s found. When Morison's l i f e - t h r e a t e n i n g adventure i s  resolved,  he  than  this  i n things  possesses  a  and systems,  heightened  c o n v i c t i o n that Walsh himself  that  awareness  of  meaningful  the same  had gleaned from the gospel:  9  one  saves o n e s e l f i n r e c o g n i z i n g and of  i d e n t i f y i n g with  the  humanity  others. The  social  and  spiritual  activism that  B u e l l knew as  p a r t i c i p a n t i n the Labre House community becomes transformed his  f i c t i o n i n t o h i s d e p i c t i o n of c h a r a c t e r s who  by  their  imperative another  actions  on  t h a t one  must be  one's brother's keeper and  Buell's  i n his  novels.  suffering The  In  Pyx,  Jim.  Moreover,  for  example,  For.  in  as  Playground  i t i s this  well,  a  The  moral support  expression Elizabeth  in  Lucy  i n her supportive care of  i n i t i a t e s Stan Hagan's search f o r Adele Up  others.  f i n d s repeated  demonstrates t h i s moral coonsciousness Sandra and  of  in  are redeemed by  selfless  person  behalf  a  kind of  solicitude  Symons i n A Lot  comparable  focus  that  To  on  Make  human  goodness i s r e i t e r a t e d as w e l l i n the Indian rescuer's r e p l y t o Morisons's  expression of a p p r e c i a t i o n : "I want t o thank you f o r e v e r y t h i n g . " "That's a l l r i g h t , i t could've been anybody.' "Maybe. But i t was  you.  "0-o-oh," he  d o u b t f u l l y , "doesn't everybody  said  I owe  you my  life." owe  somebody t h a t . " Spence  had  (Playground  north  country  think  it  over.  And  he  f i n d s Spence in  a i r p l a n e crash,  extremis  life  has  three weeks a f t e r meaning i n s o f a r as  one shares i n the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the w e l l - b e i n g of Buell's  laughed  241-42).  For John Sweetree who his  to  another.  f i c t i o n , then, has a c l e a r moral emphasis, not i n  10  obtrusive  sermonizing  or  didactic  imperatives,  but  in  its  evocation of compassion f o r those who s u f f e r and are a f f l i c t e d . The very human c r i s e s o f those who are s e x u a l l y and emotionally exploited,  as w e l l  addiction,  are  as o f those  subject  to  victimized  detailed  by the e f f e c t s o f  examination  novels.  But B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e s do not focus  social  image  alcoholic, developed  of  a  prostitute,  workaholic,  or  drug  sexual  merely  deviant,  addict.  i n several upon the recovering  His narratives are  t o l e a d t o an a p p r e c i a t i o n o f the dynamics of simply  being human even though he perceives t h i s from a C a t h o l i c p o i n t of  view.  For B u e l l , to  everything  do  "the f a c t with  that  the  a  story  i s good... has  of  i t " (Drolet,  humanity  "Conversation" 69). Buell  has  expectations novels.  been  made  upon  Actively  acquainted  with  fully  sensitive  the p r a c t i s i n g  engaged  in  the moral  the  to  the  Catholic  Church,  responsibility  Buell  problematic who  writes  was  incumbent  well  upon  a  C a t h o l i c a r t i s t . While the Church has r a r e l y formulated anything approaching an o f f i c i a l view on the a r t s , the Fathers a t V a t i c a n C o u n c i l I I d i d r e f l e c t upon the v a l i d i t y o f the a r t s as a p a r t of C a t h o l i c experience: L i t e r a t u r e and the a r t s the l i f e unique  are...of great importance t o  o f the Church. F o r they s t r i v e t o probe the nature  of  man,  his  problems,  and h i s  experiences as he s t r u g g l e s t o know and p e r f e c t  both  himself  with  and  the world.  11  They  are preoccupied  revealing  man's place  i n history  and i n the world,  with i l l u s t r a t i n g h i s miseries and joys, h i s needs and strengths, him.  and with  foreshadowing  a better  life for  Thus they a r e able t o e l e v a t e human l i f e as i t i s  expressed place  i n manifold  forms,  depending  on time and  (Abbott 269).  For the C a t h o l i c w r i t e r , the a c t o f c r e a t i o n , i n s o f a r as i t i s a manifestation  of  the s p i r i t  of  God,  i s imbued  with  moral  s i g n i f i c a n c e both f o r the c r e a t o r and f o r h i s c r e a t i o n . To be a Catholic  writer  i s t o be  like  no other.  Personally,  he i s  morally accountable f o r what he c r e a t e s ; moreover, the work t h a t he produces i s open t o t h e judgment o f the Church i t s e l f . C e r t a i n l y , c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the r o l e and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f the  Catholic writer  has  elicited  While  Buell  has engaged B u e l l ' s  detailed observes  analyses that  from  other  "I didn't  want  ' C a t h o l i c ' w r i t e r " ( D r o l e t , "Conversation" not  a d i s c l a i m e r against  but  a defence against  In  defining  h i s sense  attention,  j u s t as i t  Catholic t o be  writers.  known  as a  63), h i s statement i s  the r e l i g i o n t o which he i s committed  any suggestion o f being  of l i t e r a r y  a Catholic  parochialism.  writer  to Gilbert  D r o l e t i n the mid-1970s, B u e l l i n d i c a t e d t h a t he was not p a r t i a l t o what t h i s l a b e l l i n g implied  (Drolet 63). From h i s  his  f i c t i o n i s i n c l u s i v e not e x c l u s i v e , h i s audience  all  readers not simply  human  condition,  perspective  C a t h o l i c s . H i s w r i t i n g focuses  rather  than  upon  specifically  comprising upon t h e Catholic  dilemmas, and he would expect h i s work t o be valued p r i m a r i l y on  12  the  basis  matter  of i t s l i t e r a r y  merit  o r i d e o l o g i c a l content.  rather  than  Nevertheless,  on i t s subject when B u e l l  C a t h o l i c w r i t e r p r i v i l e g e s the humanity of the characters fiction, the  he does so out o f t h e c o n v i c t i o n t h a t ,  p h y s i c a l dimension of t h e characters  exists  a  receptive novels  spiritual  when  this  he  provides  respect  called  (Garebian,  maintains  his  his writing  that  i n addition t o  he has created, the  potential  principal  there to  be  characters  with  r e s o l u t i o n t o human problems.  finds  "a C h r i s t i a n  "Religion"  i n his  i s what i s apparent i n B u e l l ' s  moments of s p i r i t u a l  appropriately sense"  possessing  t o d i v i n e grace. This  significant In  nature  as a  81), a  human f u l f i l l m e n t  a  context  which  tradition  he has  i n a cultural  literary  tradition  i s attainable,  which  i f not always  p h y s i c a l l y , then a t l e a s t s p i r i t u a l l y . For  the n o v e l i s t ,  fulfillment  will  be  Buell  most  e x e r c i s e o f the imagination. ...all  effectively  the r e a l i t y envisaged  of human  through  the  As B u e l l has remarked:  a r t proceeds from t h e imagination....the whole  purpose reality.  o f imagining Which  Shakespeare...will that  believes,  is  things  i s t o introduce  one t o  quite  true.  reading  Someone  somehow get c l o s e r t o r e a l i t y .  i s t o me...the purpose o f the imagination.  So One  must dream o f r e a l i t y (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " 78). The  c r e a t i v e process commences i n an a c t o f w i l l  conceives h i s n a r r a t i v e and determines t o b r i n g The  c r e a t i v e a c t , says B u e l l , r e q u i r e s  13  that  as the w r i t e r i t i n t o being.  you b r i n g y o u r s e l f t o the p o s s i b i l i t y of w r i t i n g t h i s whole s t o r y out....And you're going t o stay with i t . That's will....what you are doing by w i l l i s a l l o w i n g a  certain  something  anybody's w i l l  to  grow  which  cannot  grow  by  77).  (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n "  This moment of i n v e n t i o n , as sudden and s u r p r i s i n g as i t may  be,  a c t i v a t e s the imagination as c o n t e x t u a l n a r r a t i v e p o s s i b i l i t i e s suggest  themselves: Once  having  created  that  context  of  stay-with-it-  ness.., w i t h i n t h a t you are responding t o s t o r y needs and  making d e c i s i o n s about  this  dialogue,  context,  n a r r a t i v e g e s t a t i o n occurs  long,  77).  what pacing, e t c . (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " In t h i s  how  as the  imaginative  f a c u l t y governs the development of the s e v e r a l components of the fiction.  The  imagination gives form t o the a r t i s t ' s  B u e l l ' s case, i t f i n d s i t s source i n a  vision.  C a t h o l i c mind from which  i t emerges t o give h i s f i c t i o n a C a t h o l i c moral o r i e n t a t i o n . purpose of the  imagination  In  in literature,  Buell  argues,  The  i s to  b r i n g one c l o s e r t o r e a l i t y by h o l d i n g a m i r r o r up t o nature: ... I  think  it  is  humanly  important  to  have  that  i m a g i n a t i o n a l e x e r c i s e t h a t A r i s t o t l e c a l l e d mimesis, and  I t h i n k where our  provide  us  with  set of mimetics,  artists  i n any  that highly refined, then we  are more and  genre or a r t genuinely  more i n touch  with r e a l i t y . . . .  I t i s the artist...who indeed  these t h i n g s and  has  the a r t i c u l a t e g i f t  14  done  senses  of mimesis.  It  i s important  important  for  people....this create....is to r e a l i t y The  reality  his  Catholic  conviction between  faith,  whole  and  important  business  of  important.  (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n "  had  of  mimesis,  for  being  other  able  to  I t does...bring us 81-2).  presents, d e f i n e d by the p r i n c i p l e s of  i s predisposed  he  h i s view  himself  extremely  that Buell  when  f o r him t o s t r u c t u r e t h a t  t o goodness. T h i s was h i s  occasion  reality  as  to  explain  opposed  the  difference  t o Graham  Greene's  Jansenistic Catholicism: I would subscribe t o a much more b a s i c C h r i s t i a n view that  a l l reality  i s good  except  f o r the exceptions  created by the w i l l e d e v i l on the p a r t of human beings (Drolet, "Conversation" 67). This,  then,  i s the C a t h o l i c  dimension  R e a l i t y i s more than a temporal a  psychological  reality,  sense  of  as demonstrated  total  reality  life  and,  the  actuality.  Buell's  i n his fiction,  long  Buell's  fiction.  p e r c e p t i o n o f t h i n g s , more than  o f God, an i n c a r n a t i o n a l  in  of  view,  depiction  of  i s p r e d i c a t e d on the  reality  achieves  the  which  enlarges  eschatological  summation o f u l t i m a t e goodness. Buell's has  found  incorporates s p i r i t u a l  i n the t r a d i t i o n  philosophic Augustine  fiction  insights  t h a t he  o f the Church. He encountered  foundations as those presented  and S t . Thomas Aquinas,  insights  such  i n the works o f S t . that  have been an  enduring legacy o f the Church. B u e l l was e s p e c i a l l y impressed by  15  Their can  sense  o f human  limitations—which limitations  undo r e a l i t y o r d e f l e c t us from r e a l i t y — a n d , o f  course,  t h e i r ultimate  whole  totality  (Garebian,  d e f i n i t i o n of r e a l i t y  which  traditionally  we  i s that  call  " R e l i g i o n " 75).  He acknowledges t h a t i t i s the nature o f humanity t o f a l l of  perfection  by  God  permitting  itself  t o be  governed  short  by i t s  limitations. Chief reality  among these  which  personal certitude receives  l i m i t a t i o n s are those d e f l e c t i o n s from  a r e portrayed  decision  t o commit  i n human  as wholly oneself  knowledge.  detailed  Each  examination  illusory,  to e v i l  o r an  of these in  such  Buell's  paths  fiction.  B u e l l has found w i t h i n the C a t h o l i c  ample  f o r the b a s i s  of  absolute  illusory  Philosophically, resources  as a  tradition  h i s understanding  of t h e  p h i l o s o p h i c a l and even e x p e r i e n t i a l u n r e a l i t y o f e v i l . There, he came t o r e a l i z e , ...evil  is  regarded  as  instance,  consciously  evil,  an  as  purely  unfulfillment.  what they're  reality mind,  regarded  where  o r mistakenly  pursuing  negative....It's  pursue  i t could  for  something  i s something t h a t has no  t o i t . I t u l t i m a t e l y exhausts  although  people,  itself.  be devastating,  In my  evil  is a  r e l a t i v e l y minor human e n t e r p r i s e . Although i t i s very engulfing, (Garebian,  i t  passes  because  " R e l i g i o n " 76).  16  i t  leads  nowhere  From Aquinas,  Buell  learned  that  "evil  i s a negation  p e r f e c t i o n due t o a nature o r t o a being" principle  of negativity,  operating  (Jolivet,  t o diminish  of the  665). T h i s  o r l e s s e n the  i n t e g r i t y o r p e r f e c t i o n o f i t s s u b j e c t , u n d e r l i e s B u e l l ' s sense of the existence of e v i l . Drawing upon the t r a d i t i o n o f C a t h o l i c thought, systematized moral values  by Aquinas, B u e l l ' s i m p l i c i t expression of  i n h i s novels follows from the argument t h a t  ...evil  does  not  consist  in  simple  negation;  otherwise, f o r example, i t would be e v i l f o r an animal to  be  without  privation,  reason.  Rather  i . e . , i n the f a c t  i t consists  that  a certain  in a being  l a c k s a good i t r e q u i r e s t o enjoy the i n t e g r i t y o f i t s nature. While t h i s implies that e v i l does not s i g n i f y being  illusory, evil  we say t h a t e v i l not  that  signify  evil  i s non-being, i t  i s nonexistent.  Far from  i s overwhelmingly r e a l . Yet when  " i s " o r " e x i s t s , " the p r e d i c a t e does  being:  i t means simply  the r e a l i t y  of a  l a c k o r a d e f e c t . To say t h a t "Peter i s b l i n d " i s not to  a t t r i b u t e blindness  t o him as a t h i n g  possessed,  but r a t h e r as the absence (by p r i v a t i o n ) o f v i s i o n . It in  a subject  Evil  o r i n a being  presupposes  affects this  f o l l o w s , then, t h a t e v i l  both  of  view,  ( J o l i v e t 665).  17  evil  as such,  i n the subject  and as the p e r f e c t i o n t h a t  point  absolute  good,  that,  can e x i s t only i s good. that i t  i t negates. From  can never  be  total  or  How  these  attribues  philosophical dramatically Pyx  evil  underpinning  are  of  integrated  Buell's  into  fiction  the  becomes  c l e a r , f o r example, i n the c l i m a c t i c scene i n The  when t h e Satanic  Henderson.  of  Keerson  In h i s f i n a l  power o f e v i l  i s shot  and k i l l e d  moments Keerson, who  under t h e guise  by d e t e c t i v e  has allowed the  of demonic i n f l u e n c e t o possess  him,  i s i n e x p l i c a b l y g r a t e f u l t o Henderson  from  the vacuous  meaninglessness  f o r r e l i e v i n g him  of h i s i l l u s o r y  obsession.  Gratitude o f any kind i s f o r e i g n t o Keerson's nature, but i n one final,  fleeting  moment  h i s expression  of  thankfulness  to  Henderson r e v e a l s a moral consciousness, indeed even an inherent goodness  within,  long  diminished  by h i s p r o c l i v i t y  With the death o f Keerson, the r e c o g n i t i o n  for evil.  o f a l o s s , not of  innocence but o f goodness, r e g i s t e r s i n Henderson as he " k n e l t beside  him, trembling;  and as h i s t e n s i o n subsided,  he r e a l i z e d  he had been weeping" (Pyx 172). In a l l o f B u e l l ' s f i c t i o n there i s a dark s i d e t o r e a l i t y , but  no matter how devious o r even s a t a n i c t h e operation  may be i n the novels,  B u e l l a f f i r m s a c o u n t e r v a i l i n g balance o f  goodness t h a t i s a l s o e f f i c a c i o u s l y [P]eople  who  present:  ultimately  grow  a r e people  because o f a r e a l i t y they have discovered, an  unreality  i n that  philosophical  up  (Garebian,  as a  nothing,  as a  " R e l i g i o n " 76).  18  purely  who  grow  and e v i l i s  sense.  nobody any good t o pursue something t h a t ' s wind  of e v i l  I t does going t o  negative  thing  Evil  i n Buell's  passing  fiction  epistemological  obstruction  i s ultimately  an  illusion.  comparable  t o the perception  A  of r e a l i t y  sense, as B u e l l has s a i d , t h a t  "we f e e l  unfulfilling  and  illusory  i s the s u b j e c t i v e  we c o n t r o l  everything  and y e t underneath us, t h e ground i s shaking" (Garebian 76). As opposed t o the c o n v i c t i o n o f the s e c u l a r humanist t h a t humanity can  save  intellect  itself  on  the b a s i s  of the resources  o f i t s own  and p h y s i c a l prowess, B u e l l has argued t h a t anyone ...who  today  civilization  assumes is  the  that acme  our of  the  technological evolutionary  development and t h a t people should be happy with is  making  a serious  mistake.  There  knowledge i s almost absolute.... That i s i l l u s i o n . That do  have  a  absolute, reality  way  this,  t h e i l l u s i o n of kind o f knowledge  kind Of c e r t i t u d e i s treachery....We of assuming  and t h i s  (Garebian,  that  our knowledge i s  i s not t o be. There one cuts o f f " R e l i g i o n " 76).  Such s e l f - d e c e p t i o n , engendered by p r i d e i n a s a l v i f i c r e l i a n c e on  human knowledge, precludes  be  achieved  that  i n what B u e l l d e f i n e s  human f u l f i l l m e n t  which can  as the "whole t o t a l i t y . . .  we  c a l l God." From a s t r i c t l y human p o i n t o f view, the tragedies i n B u e l l ' s novels i n v o l v e c e r t a i n characters  who are i n s i t u a t i o n s  where they become v i c t i m s o f t h e i r own s e l f - c o n t a i n e d But  B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e s take on f u l l  victimized illusions  characters  arriving  illusions.  meaning as he presents h i s  a t a c r i s i s o f r e a l i z a t i o n when  disappear:  19  To me, e i t h e r one perceives self-created will  reality.  eventually  r e a l i t y o r one perceives a  And the s e l f - p e r c e i v e d  break  down. When people  reality  think  then  t h a t a l l r e a l i t y i s gone, that i s the moment of t r u t h , the moment of discovery The  perception  Buell's  of  (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " 77).  the t o t a l i t y  narratives,  reveals  a  of  reality,  spiritual  experienced  dimension  of  in some  s i g n i f i c a n c e . The human c o n d i t i o n must not be without hope, f o r the  possibility  of  finding  liberation  beyond  illusory  l i m i t a t i o n s i s always an a v a i l a b l e o p t i o n . For B u e l l , freedom from misleading spiritual  void  recognition for  can  that  goodness.  be  effectively  humanity possesses  In t h i s  i l l u s i o n s t h a t lead t o a  sense,  realized  through  the  an e s s e n t i a l p r e d i l e c t i o n  Buell's  Catholicism,  he  felt,  would lead t h e reader t o a f u l l e r sense of r e a l i t y than might otherwise come about: What i s the t o t a l  reality  being?...on the p o s t u l a t e fulfillment  human  truth  o f God...a whole long-range  exists  goodness e x i s t s and i s worthwhile; and can be discovered;  mind—however  instrument;  i n being a human  i s , indeed, p o s s i b l e . You make a few e x t r a  postulates...that that  involved  that  weak—is  the  human  that the  nonetheless heart  is  a a  valid valid,  p e r c e i v i n g t o t a l i t y (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " 75). Both  the states  of f u l f i l l m e n t  and u n f u l f i l l m e n t  r e f l e c t t h e outcomes of human moral choices,  20  respectively  whether f o r v i r t u e  or v i c e , good o r e v i l ,  redemption  or loss, r e a l i t y or i l l u s i o n .  S p i r i t u a l p e r f e c t i o n i s a t t a i n a b l e and u l t i m a t e l y t h a t which i s good w i l l state  p r e v a i l , j u s t as t h a t  of u n f u l f i l l m e n t  will  imperfection  implode  t o be found  of i t s own  accord  in a into  nothingness. TO be f u l l y human i s t o cooperate with the presence of goodness and thus t o be a l l i e d with the r e a l i t y of God: One t h i n g  I learned  out of t h i s whole t r a d i t i o n i s  that one must remain, i n a sense, l o y a l t o these b a s i c goodnesses,  these b a s i c  realities....this  i s true i n  human r e l a t i o n s h i p s , t h i s i s t r u e  i n whatever  accomplishments,  people  It's  true  greatest  as communities,  i n education,  a r t over  that background  it's  the c e n t u r i e s  true  social  t r y t o do. in  has always  art....the presumed  o f goodness (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " 75).  A l l c r e a t i v e a c t s , i n l i f e and i n a r t , take on meaning i n t h e i r commitment which  t o "these  are found  basic  not only  goodnesses,  these  i n the r e a l i t y  basic  realities"  o f God but a l s o i n  humanity i t s e l f . For terms,  an a r t i s t  who conceives o f human c r i s e s  the c o n v i c t i o n  design would appear  that  good  will  prevail  t o subvert the a r t i s t i c  i n temporal  i n God's  grand  p o s s i b i l i t y o f any  t o t a l l y t r a g i c a c t i o n i n l i t e r a t u r e . Asked whether a w r i t e r can indeed possess a t r u l y t r a g i c v i s i o n , B u e l l r e p l i e d : Yes,  you can from  reality sense  point  that  a  o f view,  human  point  I would  o f view.  imagine  a  no, i n the  no amount o f human tragedy w i l l  21  From  undo t h e  u l t i m a t e goodness of things Then, c o n s i d e r i n g  the  implications  (Garebian,  75).  "Religion"  in literature,  Buell  noted  that [i]n  traditional  come t o be of  drama, the  mere  fact  of  dying  t r a g i c . . .which i s c e r t a i n l y not  Shakespeare....[F]rom  tradition,  could  ultimately  as  an  obvious  Shakespeare's  tragedies?  the  plays  Well,  has point  Christian  be  considered  i t seems t o  me  that  that i s asking whether one can t u r n r e a l i t y i n s i d e out and  have  an  a l l bad  reality.  p e s s i m i s t i c philosophers no This  (Garebian,  outlook  novels.  becomes  death i n The Pyx, of why similar  she  was  the  there  would say yes. But  when  responding  ramifications  I say  of  to  Buell's  Elizabeth  Lucy's  f o r example, r e q u i r e s an a p p r e c i a t i o n not murdered but  positive  attitude  i n d i c a t e s t h a t dying  a l s o of her towards  i s a beginning  i n s e v e r a l other novels. The  are  75).  "Religion" important  Understanding  who  Admittedly,  only  particular victory. A  death,  an  outlook  as w e l l as an end,  appears  death of the boy c a l l e d Tom  in  Four  befriends  him  have meanings beyond what the world o r d i n a r i l y p e r c e i v e s , as  the  C a t h o l i c p r i e s t i n d i c a t e s i n h i s r e f l e c t i o n i n the epilogue.  And  Days  Stan  as w e l l as t h a t of the homosexual R i t c h who  which  Hagan knows t h a t  he  has  become the  h e r i t a g e of b e l i e f when h i s f r i e n d and Lacey, d i e s i n A Lot a c t i o n of the  to  spiritual  surrogate  a  spiritual  father,  Martin  This i n c o r p o r a t i o n of  Make  Up  life  w i t h i n the  22  For.  heir to  human r e f l e c t s  the  Buell's  sense o f the r e a l i t y o f the unseen i n the world. In moral  Buell's  fiction,  t h e good person  i s under s i e g e , f o r  goodness i s not secure i n i t s e l f . Goodness, says  attracts  evil.  T h i s concept  takes  when t h e c o n s c i o u s l y good q u a l i t y  narrative  form,  Buell,  o f course,  o f a c h a r a c t e r serves as a  l u r e t o a t t r a c t t h e e v i l designs o f another. Of t h i s  tendency,  B u e l l has observed t h a t ... i f you really  look a t your own human experience and  you come across a good person, and I mean t h i s i n the most  l i t e r a l , basic  way, you w i l l  also  come across  someone who wants t o destroy t h a t goodness....[I]n t h e WASP e t h i c , one assumes t h a t i f a person i s good, then a person i s untouchable but...the t r u t h o f t h e matter i s that i f a person i s good, he i s good by d e c i s i o n . He w i l l a t t r a c t e v i l . He w i l l a t t r a c t enemies (Drolet, "Conversation" 6 6 ) . What B u e l l regards as a f a c t o f l i f e serves as a dynamic t e n s i o n i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p o f h i s p r o t a g o n i s t s t o others with whom they are  engaged. Goodness w i l l  free w i l l . siege,  and must be maintained as an a c t o f  B u e l l ' s c h a r a c t e r s may be found i n a s t a t e o f moral  but by c o n s c i o u s l y and repeatedly making  a choice f o r  v i r t u e and enduring with forbearance the presence o f e v i l ,  they  w i l l r e t a i n the i n t e g r i t y , i f not o f a s t a t e o f grace, a t l e a s t of a decided o r i e n t a t i o n towards goodness. Conceptually,  the  good  character,  even  an  innocent  c h a r a c t e r , confronted by e v i l , must respond. The manner o f t h e  23  response has been o f some i n t e r e s t t o B u e l l , e s p e c i a l l y i n s o f a r as he has sought t o d e f i n e t h e moral centre o f h i s own  fiction  r e l a t i v e t o the moral ambience i n t h e C a t h o l i c novels o f Graham Greene.  For B u e l l ,  existence  a  postulate  of  a  Greene  novel  i s the  o f "a s o r t of menacing atmosphere o f e v i l t h a t nobody  can  avoid and t h a t people who a r e i n t h a t atmosphere are simply  bad  people..." (Drolet, "Conversation"  the  general  novels that  pervasiveness  i s that might  Greene's  befall  of e v i l  that  "characters  them"  6 6 ) . The consequence B u e l l sees  feel  i s much more t o t h a t  circumstances, generalist  atmosphere,  as  Greene  atmosphere o f s l e a z y wouldn't just and In  say t h a t .  evil  considering  encompassing e v i l  his  that  i s therefore  the  be as man's  universal. I  I'd say i t doesn't mean  fiction,  to  than h i s  I wouldn't  anything  I t means he's s l e a z y  ( D r o l e t , "Conversation"  own  lessens  human being  saying  because the guy's s l e a z y . i t ends there  response  that  etc....  in  i n Greene's  about the i l l  6 6 ) . Buell's  (Drolet  Greene's d e p i c t i o n o f character i s simply ...there  guilty  of  Buell  66-7).  insists  that  no  t h e goodness o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s ; nor  may i t r e s u l t i n a sense o f personal  guilt.  On the contrary,  B u e l l i s convinced t h a t " i t ' s p e r f e c t l y p o s s i b l e f o r someone who is and  innocent  t o be i n t r a g i c circumstances and not f e e l  guilty  s t i l l s u f f e r out these t r a g i c circumstances" (Drolet 6 6 ) . In  the c o n f r o n t a t i o n with e v i l , imperative,  not simply  i n d i v i d u a l choice  and d e c i s i o n a r e  a general sense of being v i c t i m i z e d by an  24  invasive e v i l  or a bad  atmosphere which i s more powerful  than  one can forebear: ...such there  atmospheres,  are  bad  i f they  persons  and  exist,  bad  people  exist  because  exist  because  they have made d e c i s i o n s toward t h e i r own e v i l and  one  can combat t h i s o n l y up t o a c e r t a i n point and the  way  t o combat i t i s not t o murder them. One out the e v i l  that  other people  must  impose on  us  suffer without  f e e l i n g g u i l t y (Drolet, "Conversation" 66). Forbearance  here  i s an  act of  inherent goodness, though by e x t e r n a l e v i l , levels Buell's  fortitude.  Moreover,  b l i g h t e d by i n t e r i o r s i n or oppressed  can be a c t i v a t e d t o human f u l f i l l m e n t a t a l l  of one's being. The fiction  Christian  potential  i s always  f o r human f u l f i l l m e n t  g r e a t e r than  the  circumstances  in in  which a c h a r a c t e r f i n d s h i m s e l f . The f a c t of s i n i s j u s t t h a t : a fact  about  being  human. But  s i n does  not  immobilize  Buell's  p r o t a g o n i s t s i n t o a s t a t e of moral p a r a l y s i s . U n l i k e the powers and  presences  with  which  they  must  contend,  they  can  choose  virtue. While B u e l l d i f f e r e n t i a t e s the s p i r i t u a l i t y i n h i s f i c t i o n from that found i n Greene's novels, he r e a d i l y acknowledges t h a t Greene's craftsmanship as a w r i t e r has been i n s t r u c t i v e , that  "Greene, as an a r t i s t ,  i s l o v e l y . You  s t a r t t o f i n i s h and i t s good s t u f f "  finding  can read t h i s  from  (Drolet 66). The q u a l i t y of  Greene's w e l l - c r a f t e d novels, had served as a model of n a r r a t i v e e x c e l l e n c e . As a w r i t e r who  holds t o the t r u i s m t h a t the novel  25  i s "a medium o f l i t e r a r y e f f e c t s " interest  (Drolet 62), B u e l l ' s  essential  i n t h e novel as a form o f expression has been i n how  he, t o o , can most e f f e c t i v e l y master what he p r e f e r s t o c a l l h i s c r a f t . In t h i s r e s p e c t , many w r i t e r s who had impressed him with their  work  were  demonstrated fiction. each  those  their  whose  own  propensity  These were w r i t e r s  o f whom  left  a  distinctive  from  lasting  writing  techniques  f o r producing  compelling  very d i f f e r e n t  impact  upon  orientations,  him, p a r t i c u l a r l y  writers Such  as  Dashiell  Graham  Greene,  and Raymond  Chandler  Hammett and Barnett and James M. Cain  and and a  l o t o f other people. And o f course a l l t h e people who were w r i t i n g i n t h e pulp magazines when I was a t e e n ager. These t h i n g s s t a y with you. I f you a r e r e a l l y impressed as a young man, t h i s becomes your g o a l . You want t o w r i t e something or  Raymond  as strong as D a s h i e l Hammett  Chandler  wrote.  So t h a t  turned  t o the p r i n t  medium  I must  great  deal  of  what  I'd  been  by t h e time  I  have absorbed  a  reading  (Drolet,  "Conversation" 62). This  eclectic  psychological contemporary comprised  mix  of  intrigue, American  Buell's  masters  of  i n addition  detective to  t h e mainstays  f i c t i o n such as Hemingway  teachers  fiction  and of  and F i t z g e r a l d ,  i n the a r t o f f i c t i o n .  For B u e l l ,  such eminently s u c c e s s f u l w r i t e r s were f o r a young w r i t e r "the models...against  whom  he measures  26  his skills,  h i s desires"  (Drolet, "Conversation"  70).  What i n t e r e s t e d B u e l l i n the work of these w r i t e r s whom he admired was mastery their  of  not their  plays  he  felt  expressing narrative  goals and  fiction  traditions,  he  f o r h i m s e l f . From the time  turned  to  but  the  workmanship i n developed  fiction,  he  could  possibilities  matrix in  he  w i t h i n which developing  of  had  his essential  the n a r r a t i v e rooted i n the  confident  the  craftsmanship  their  Appreciating t h e i r  narrative  upon the s t o r y i t s e l f , that  form of  an  of the c r a f t of w r i t i n g t h a t aided him i n s e t t i n g  fictional  writing  particular  technique.  respective  understanding new  the  invent.  The  focus  would  strive  story  his  story  and  in  to  was  imagination  human experience,  he  stopped  itself,  became  the  perfect his  attaining  e f f e c t he wished t o achieve. For B u e l l , a w r i t e r ' s s k i l l  the  i s not  dependent upon i n f l u e n c e s emanating from a n a t i o n a l c u l t u r e or region: ...you don't l e a r n an a r t by belonging t o a province, or a country or a c o n t i n e n t . You  l e a r n i t by studying  the a r t i s t s i n t h a t c r a f t and t h a t ' s i t . Now  I studied  the w r i t i n g s of B r i t i s h , American,...Canadian  people,  as a matter of f a c t , j u s t t o l e a r n the c r a f t ( D r o l e t , "Conversation"  70).  But as a student of f i c t i o n , B u e l l was the techniques of the  Buell,  of other contemporary w r i t e r s . A c u r s o r y reading  particularly  impression  not a s l a v i s h i m i t a t o r of  of  The  that his early  Pyx  and  novels  27  Four  Days,  might c r e a t e  g e n e r a l l y conform t o  the  conventions of d e t e c t i v e are  certain  function  o r crime f i c t i o n . On the surface,  similarities:  with  efficiency,  police  officers  violent  action  and  there  detectives  i s central  t o the  n a r r a t i v e , and the development o f the s t o r y contains elements of suspense. The operation o f these features  i n the novels, which  i s t o say the purposes served and the e f f e c t s achieved by these staples  o f popular crime  fiction,  had a compelling  attraction  f o r B u e l l . He came t o r e a l i z e t h a t In  the t r a d i t i o n a l and good  Chandler, e t c . — y o u an  investigator  detective  story—a  la  have a crime committed, you have  investigating,  e t c . The  problem  became—because o f the genre o f the w h o d u n i t — . . . t h a t at  the end the i n v e s t i g a t o r . . .must g i v e  six,  t e n pages  of e x p l a n a t i o n  about  (Garebian,  five,  "Religion"  79).  The to  e x p l a n a t i o n a t the end o f the s t o r y some  present  past  action.  action,  But B u e l l  looking  was  into  the  directs attention  interested real  lives  back  i n expressing and  current  experiences of h i s c h a r a c t e r s .  In some of Chandler's  fiction,  the acknowledged master of the  Buell  recognized  that  detective  genre had t r i e d t o obviate the r e q u i s i t e explanation a t the end of  the s t o r y  by  directly  involving  his investigator  a c t i o n . Moreover, the problem f o r the w r i t e r ,  i n the  as B u e l l saw i t ,  was t o keep the p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n v e s t i g a t i n g agent from becoming removed  from  acquire  an  reality  itself,  authoritative  especially  persona  28  of  insofar  mythic  as he might  proportions.  To  create  a sense  fiction that  closer  crime  agent  than p r o v i d i n g the past.  and t o move  to psychological  fiction  investigating  in  of a c t u a l i t y  should  realism,  be  i n the present  detective Buell  realigned  o r crime  was  to  convinced  engage  a c t i o n o f the s t o r y  a s o l u t i o n t o a t r a g i c occurrence t h a t In reworking  the s t r a t e g y  the  rather  happened  of d e t e c t i v e  fiction  B u e l l wanted t o c r e a t e a sense of dramatic immediacy: You  w i l l n o t i c e i n The Pyx that both past and present  narratives  proceed  explanations  i n the s t o r y ' s  present  a r e needed [ a t the end].  the s t o r y ' s present  time; Shrewsdale  present time; and Playground time....Now  this  does...not  is  something  time.  Four Days  is in  i s i n the s t o r y ' s  i s i n the s t o r y ' s something  the  No  that  Greeks  present  Shakespeare  do.  The  Greeks  i n v e s t i g a t e the past....So t h a t business of having a story  take place  i n the a c t i v e present  achievement... [and]  because  of t h a t  i s [a] c r a f t I  see, on an  a r t i s t i c l e v e l o r a c r a f t l e v e l , no d i f f e r e n c e between the  suspensefulness  Shrewsdale  Buell's  interest  puzzlement out o f formulaic  of  o r Playground  was  exposition  by a  Pyx  or  Four  the  fiction, super  principal  element  sleuth,  thereby Instead,  resolving Buell  t o move t h e focus of a c t i o n from e x t e r n a l t o i n t e r n a l felt  that  i f there  29  were  of  that i s , o f removing the  mystery t h a t had i t s o r i g i n i n the past.  I  or  Days  (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " 79).  i n taking  detective  The  any way  a  strove  crisis:  o f using  the  detective  story  form  to write a  novel  t h a t was  not  r e a l l y a d e t e c t i v e s t o r y , then one would have t o probe i n t o the causes  and events t h a t were indeed t r a g i c i n  the l i v e s of the people i n v o l v e d . In other words, you can't  present the reader with a corpse, you've got t o  present him with someone l i v i n g who because  of  tragic  becomes a  circumstances  corpse  (Drolet,  "Convers a t i o n " 62). This i n s i g h t , i n c o n j u n c t i o n with the flashback technique which c r e a t e d a s t r a t e g y f o r n a r r a t i v e a c t i o n i n the present time, implemented creating  in  a  Buell's  sense  of  first  The  novel  immediacy  i n the  Pyx.  novel  was  The  effect  of  results  from  the  c o a l e s c i n g of two a c t i o n s and thereby i n t e g r a t i n g both cause and effect  into  investigator longer,  as  as  a  present  i s to in  happened. At simply  the  focus  time.  upon why  conventional  the  role an  of  the  action  the  whose past  victim  death  and  no  upon  how  it  i s now  appears  sympathetic  occurred  detective f i c t i o n ,  same time,  corpse  The  presented  not  inexplicable  and  p u z z l i n g but as an a c t i v e p r o t a g o n i s t seeking a r e s o l u t i o n f o r conflicting present  inner  reality,  determining  the  values. Buell  has  method  by  immediacy i n The Pyx  In  order  to  explained which  he  create  that would  this  i n the create  sense  of  process  of  a  sense  of  he r e a l i z e d t h a t  ...I c o u l d be t e l l i n g two investigation  and  then  s t o r i e s a t once: the p o l i c e  flashing  though i t were here and now,  30  backward t e l l i n g ,  as  the s t o r y of the v i c t i m .  The it  reader would be i n the present  time a l l along and  would not be a s t r a i g h t whodunit. Then one c o u l d  look  a t the meaning o f the l i v e s o f these people and  this  i s what  I attempted  t o do... .So I wrote  that  s t o r y that way. I t meant a great deal t o me because i t was not a s t r a i g h t d e t e c t i v e  story.  I t had a deeper  meaning....I was t r y i n g t o get away from the d e t e c t i v e s t o r y (Drolet, "Conversation" In s t r u c t u r i n g and developing  62-3).  the components o f h i s n a r r a t i v e t o  r e v e a l the meaning t o found w i t h i n the t o t a l i t y o f the p h y s i c a l and  spiritual  dimensions  of the human  novels t h a t took on a d i s t i n c t i v e He  found  much  to  admire  in  condition,  feature  Buell  of C a t h o l i c  conventional  wrote  fiction.  crime  fiction,  e s p e c i a l l y the c r a f t and i n g e n u i t y o f some of the master w r i t e r s of  the genre,  but h i s own  work  i s imbued  with  a  Catholic  s p i r i t u a l i t y t h a t exceeds by f a r the i n t e n t i o n of crime f i c t i o n , thereby moral  bringing  t o the reader  and s p i r i t u a l  information  that  "behavorial,  that  people  emotional,  couldn't  obtain  elsewhere" (Gilman 7 ) . C r a f t and the meaning t h a t follows from exacting of  creativity  are e s s e n t i a l a t t r i b u t e s o f a B u e l l  a r t i s t r y o f the novel of  doing something"  being  defined  (Garebian,  standards novel, the  by B u e l l as the " r i g h t way  " R e l i g i o n " 73). What t h i s means  i s that consciously  limits,  you know what you're doing w i t h i n your own that  things  31  are  done  at  least  deliberately....So  craft  i n that  sense  [means]  that  f i r s t o f a l l you are c o n t r o l l i n g t h e s t o r y . . . . I t goes all  the  way  down  to  choice  of  word,  s t r u c t u r e , pacing, when t o have dialogue, dialogue,  the whole business.  sentence  what kind of  That i s what  I mean by  c r a f t : t h a t nothing i s done s l o p p i l y , nothing i s done, say,  without  having  been  thought  out  a r t i s t i c a l l y . . . . A n d y e t a l l on the l e v e l o f f e e l i n g . I t ' s not a question  of having theory. I t ' s a  of working a t h i n g . . . t i l l . . . i t ' s  question  done. C r a f t i n t h a t  sense (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " 73-4). But  one  should  responsibility writer  into  not i n f e r that  meaning  his narrative.  confused, B u e l l i n s i s t s , on o v e r r i d i n g  from  this  principle  i s consciously  of  injected  The end of f i c t i o n  nature of i t s m u l t i - f a c e t e d  i s apparent.  composition,  number o f meanings, many o f which  by the  should  with the l i t e r a t u r e o f ideas  c e n t r a l meaning  creative  not be i n which  The novel,  by the  i s t h e source o f any  are unknown t o t h e w r i t e r  himself: You see, one o f the things good s t o r y , i s a v a l i d l y  I go by i s i f a s t o r y i s a good s t o r y by which I would  understand something that takes place on the l e v e l o f human a c t i o n , t h a t you a r e not p h i l o s o p h i z i n g , you are not  w r i t i n g an essay. I f that  you  as a craftsman are doing t h a t  will  be many, many meanings  32  story  i s any good and  story well,  accruing  there  t o i t that you  are  not a t present  seeing though you may be seeing  them vaguely. And reader A may get meaning A, reader B may get meaning B, e t c . Which would i n d i c a t e t o me a c e r t a i n symbolic wealth there but not injected  into i t  and not c o n s c i o u s l y put i n (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " 7 3 ) . T h i s a r t i s t i c credo a l s o determines  t o some extent the f u n c t i o n  of c r i t i c i s m : ...one o f the r o l e s o f c r i t i c i s m  [being] t o b r i n g out  a l l o f these meanings t h a t the author cannot  possibly  be conscious o f . But because he i s t r u e t o h i s c r a f t , the meanings can be there (Garebian, " R e l i g i o n " 7 3 ) . Such a t r a d i t i o n a l  interpretive  r o l e of c r i t i c i s m  also  w e l l with an a p p r e c i a t i o n o f B u e l l ' s novels as C a t h o l i c replete  with  spiritual  meaning  that  accords fiction,  a p p r o p r i a t e l y places h i s  work among t h e ranks of modern r e l i g i o u s n o v e l i s t s . To some, the s p i r i t u a l i t y p e c u l i a r t o the C a t h o l i c i s m inherent i n h i s novels might  present  an  ideological  obstacle.  Nevertheless,  i tis  r e q u i s i t e that . . . c r i t i c i s m o f the works o f C a t h o l i c of a l l n o v e l i s t s how they  f o r t h a t matter) should be based on  use t h e i r  artistic  imbue t h e i r works with can  discern  n o v e l i s t s (and  some  vision....All  a moral v i s i o n  value  statements  novelists  from which we on  c o n d i t i o n . . . .Hence the work o f the c r i t i c  the  human  i s not t o  a t t a c k ideology but t o assess the manner i n which i t has been a r t f u l l y presented (Fraser x i v ) .  33  Buell's  artistic  Elizabeth (92).  vision  Zimmer noted:  Probing  that t o be  the  fully  i s Catholic  interaction  of  nature  human i s not t o be  are not  self-sufficient  What does pervade  not  doctrinaire.  " B u e l l does not moralize, he  Those c h a r a c t e r s i n B u e l l ' s f i c t i o n identify  but  and  with  he  shows  self-dependent.  whom the  masters of t h e i r  B u e l l ' s work i s a  observes"  grace,  alone and  As  redemptive  reader  own  can  destiny.  metaphysic  of  i n c a r n a t i o n a l grace e x i s i t i n g as a c o u n t e r v a i l i n g balance t o the e f f e c t of e v i l i n the world. I t has been observed t h a t before the l a t e 1950s, when B u e l l began  writing  novels,  two  approaches  had  dominated  the  contemporary novel: the  naturalist  objective  accounts  expressionist modified  [tradition,] of  material  [tradition,]  by  writing facts,  presenting  [the w r i t e r ' s ] own  so-called and  the  actuality,  personality  plus  as an  i n t e l l e c t u a l conception, i n a stream of consciousness. These  two  seemingly  extroversion  of  realism  expressionism—are inasmuch  as  one  two  focuses  the macrocosm, and (Antush  antagonistic and sides  of  upon the  introversion the  same  of  coin,  material universe,  the other upon man,  the microcosm  276).  What B u e l l p e r c e i v e d i n the l a t e 1950s was the time sensed  the  tendencies—the  what one e s s a y i s t of  as  ...the f a i n t s t i r r i n g s of a new  34  revolution i n l i t e r a r y  thinking....[involving serious,  a]  search  f o r deeper,  more  and more l a s t i n g values...toward a C h r i s t i a n  complexity  and  unchristian  fullness,  simplification  rather and  than  toward  attenuation  an  (Antush  276-7). Herein  l a y an a l t e r n a t i v e ,  both  t o the o b j e c t i v e  realism  of  n a t u r a l i s t f i c t i o n and t o the s u b j e c t i v i t y o f expressionism. In the  1950s, B u e l l was aware t h a t the C a t h o l i c  novel—that  "novel  with a m e t a p h y s i c " — p r e s e n t e d o l d ideas i n a new form, being s e t ...in  a secular  t r a d i t i o n which, g e n e r a l l y  [had]  not y e t come  t o grips  with  speaking,  the b a s i c  human  problems of s i n , e v i l and s u f f e r i n g (Antush 277). P u b l i c a t i o n o f The Pyx i n 1959 was B u e l l ' s f i r s t c o n t r i b u t i o n t o the C a t h o l i c novel, the  twentieth  which had e s t a b l i s h e d  century  i n writers  O'Connor, and Frangois Mauriac.  35  like  a place  for itself i n  Greene, Waugh,  Flannery  The E a r l y Novels The  The  In  underworld  Pyx,  Buell  dominated by  Pyx  envisions the  a  self-contained,  c o n t r o l l i n g presence  of  urban  systemic  e v i l . This i s the world of ...the s p e c i a l t y houses, the private-movie making, the breaking i n of newly hooked kids whose value was  high  f o r a b r i e f time only: a world where the turnover as  f a s t as the  vice  in  perversion totally  in  a l l of  victimizes controls.  destructive this  narrative  and  and  visit  the  of  that  destroys  sense  Buell  Sandra, the  i s on her way  of  to  inherently i s present into  his  c o l l a p s e . At  the  helplessness.  experienced a nervous breakdown a f t e r he where  36  types  introduced  by  like  Keerson  i s now  resulted Elizabeth  explains had  me  for  broken i n  has  Later,  Jim Rande, the c o l l e g e homosexual who  netherworld  it  to a p s y c h i a t r i c hospital  a Black Mass. She  infantile  and  whom  integrates  treatment f o r heavy drug a d d i c t i o n  regression  strange  any  the  young p r o s t i t u t e targeted  and  had  suicides  depravity  novel when E l i z a b e t h Lucy i s f i r s t  spirit  befriends  of  of p h y s i c a l breakdown and  e x p l o i t a t i o n during  a  a  society,  erotic  in  ultimately  forms  d e b i l i t a t i n g e f f e c t of the e v i l t h a t  a pattern  her  manifold  convey  i n t o the n a r r a t i v e , she to  its  To  sub-stratum  beginning of  breakdowns, the  119).  (Pyx  Here,  a r r e s t s , the  was  that  he  "drifted into go"  (Pyx  95).  Having j u s t been demeaned i n "some fancy p l a c e " as an o b j e c t of d e r i s i o n by a man again  on  t h a t he (Pyx  with whom he has been s e x u a l l y i n v o l v e d ,  Jim,  the verge of another breakdown, e x p l a i n s t o E l i z a b e t h "ran out of the p l a c e . I t was  95).  thoughts  E l i z a b e t h , too, that  inevitably  "stay  lead  to  is fully  i n the her  l i k e running out of  own  mind  aware t h a t  like  total  a  the  hell"  disordered  f r e n z i e d cosmos"  c o l l a p s e and  may (Pyx  breakdown  56). F i n a l l y , at the end of the novel, Keerson's d e s i r e t o i n the e x e r c i s e of s a t a n i c power i n e v i t a b l y r e s u l t s  share  i n his  own  complete p h y s i c a l and mental d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . Buell's vicious  oppressive  parody  goodness. As Pyx  the  corroding  f u n c t i o n on  symbolic  two  violence  "The  as  semblance  levels and  representations  Jim  of  a  world  i t , is  animated  by as  as  of  "both r e a l i s t i c  infernal  the  accounts  modern c i t y  "Unreal  City"  and  of  T.S.  E l i z a b e t h Lucy's nightmare images when she dreams  "a vast wasteland t h a t seemed t o heave with the heat of  setting  a  observed, such urban novels  a l i e n a t i o n of  of the  calls  Waste Land"(1538). T h i s sense of an e v i l u n r e a l i t y  characterizes of  every  Linda Hutcheon has  The  Eliot's  of  netherworld,  sun"  in  which  "couldn't  hear  herself  wasteland  grew  into  she  cries  calling  the  desperately  any  sounds  of  more  and  depravity  (Pyx  Paradoxically,  part-psychotic 108), here  the in  (Pyx  fringe  negativity  the  urban  37  the  frightful  agonizing screams of perpetual defeat" civilized  as  for  dark  combat  126).  core  evil of  and  but rocky the  In t h i s "semi-  underworld" of  help  the  is  of  moral  absolute.  Montreal,  the  superficial the  allure  presence  of b r i g h t l i g h t s  and luxury  which  (Pyx 23)  of an " a c c e s s i b l e p a r a d i s e "  suggests  b e l i e s the  hidden r e a l i t y of treachery and v i o l e n c e . For the c r u i s i n g t a x i d r i v e r Jack Trudel the r i c h a l l u r e o f expensive  apartments  seductive  attraction  satisfaction  pleasures"  as  associated  fashionable Montreal  dream"  and the b e g u i l i n g b r i g h t l i g h t s he  with  i n front  Trudel's  "dream  "something shock  real  fall  of h i s v e h i c l e . Roused forever"  from  hidden along  a  which t o  grips  him the  t o the s t r e e t h i s reverie,  (Pyx 5 ) . As  of the v i c t i m ' s death,  a  o f massive  about  of r e a l i t y  a young woman's deadly  had vanished  examines the s i t e  the  S t r e e t . For him, they a r e " f u l l  (Pyx 4 ) . But a sudden  directly  about  the a f f l u e n c e and luxury  (Pyx 3), o f f e r i n g  moment he witnesses  fantasizes  offers  he  later  he i s s e i z e d by the  r e a l i t y of the s i t u a t i o n : the  image he had o f ease and pleasant  acquired too  much  a background o f horror....Real f o r him;.. .Already  he  was  power had now v i o l e n c e was beginning  dismiss i t as o u t s i d e t h e r e a l course o f l i f e  to  (Pyx 13-  4). The event i s a r e a l i t y check f o r T r u d e l as i t r e v e a l s violence  functioning within  a society that  subversive  he otherwise  finds  d e s i r a b l e and a t t a c t i v e . While he i s ignorant of t h e underlying cause o f t h i s e r u p t i o n of v i o l e n c e , he does know t h a t E l i z a b e t h Lucy's  death  i s a sudden  and i n e x p l i c a b l e m a n i f e s t a t i o n  c e r t a i n e v i l i n the world.  38  of a  Trudel's sudden r e a l i z a t i o n of the very present r e a l i t y of imperfection  i n paradise  i n v e s t i g a t i v e policeman deadly  fall  from  i s paralleled  by t h a t o f C e r i n i ,  an  dispatched t o the scene o f the woman's  an adjacent  building.  In the c i t y ,  Cerini  n o t i c e s how the l i g h t s . . . p r e e n e d themselves i n gay p a t t e r n s , they blinked colors  on and o f f , . . . t h e y f l a r e d announcing  either  business  i n bright  obvious  o r pleasure  (Pyx  23). But, a f t e r surveying t h e i n v e s t i g a t i v e s i t e , C e r i n i f i n d s t h a t Now,  the l i g h t s  were  just  lights,  a little  out o f  p l a c e , l i k e a l o n e l y waiter announcing a l a s t c a l l f o r dinner on an empty moving t r a i n (Pyx 23). Beguiling  fantasy  i s a sham, C e r i n i  realizes.  The tragedy i n  human l i f e demands a r e c o g n i t i o n o f a r e a l i t y t o o o f t e n obscured by  illusion.  From  past  experience,  both  Cerini  and h i s  i n v e s t i g a t i v e partner Henderson ... knew the meaning of t h e night' s events. They were used t o the s w i r l o f the c i t y  i n a way, a  desperate  way, l i k e a man would get used t o drowning i f he c o u l d repeat  the process.  They knew t h e p a t t e r n ; they had  only t o wait t o see i t emerge, t o watch f o r the r a r e l y o r i g i n a l features o f e v i l Like  Jack  events  Trudel, C e r i n i  are signs.  Lucy's body, v e i l e d  They  (Pyx 23).  and Henderson are aware t h a t know  that  t h e presence  violent  of Elizabeth  i n a white dress and with her once r a d i a n t  39  beauty diminished  i n death,  i s another d a i l y  manifestation  of  e v i l i n the world. In t h i s i n s t a n c e , the death of E l i z a b e t h Lucy i s the s i g n a l event from which B u e l l develops h i s p e r s p e c t i v e on human l i v e s given  ensnared  dramatic  by  evil,  intensity  demonic possession  a  maliciously violent  through  Buell's  presence  portrayal  of  the  of Keerson, the obdurate p h y s i c a l nemesis of  E l i z a b e t h Lucy. G i v i n g f i c t i o n a l c r e d i b i l i t y t o the embodiment of e v i l adds c o n s i d e r a b l e complexity At  the  outset,  invisible  one  t o the process  might  question  of a w r i t e r ' s i n v e n t i o n . i f the  agents i n t o the v i s i b l e world  transformation  of  i s even appropriate  in  r e a l i s t i c f i c t i o n . Aside from s e n s a t i o n a l i z e d fantasy, there are few  representations  tradition. a  in  which  problem  embodied  evil  i n the  In a r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t context,  demonology  problems  of  than  disbelief  which  are  not  demonic  that  the  a  charismatic easily  portrayal  n o v e l i s t can  literary  M i l t o n had  created  created  artistic  Satan  resolved. is  English  the  expect  But  a  extent from  far of  his  greater  suspended  readers.  For  some of these readers, demonic possession i s f u l l y e x p l i c a b l e i n terms of psychic d i s o r d e r ; f o r o t h e r s , Satan e x i s t s as an present  metaphysical  r e a l i t y whose i l l u s o r y deceptions  ever  dislodge  the moral e q u i l i b r i u m of the human w i l l . For B u e l l , the w r i t e r ' s a r t i s t i c i n t u i t i o n must permit a c r e d i b l e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of e v i l which  maximizes  respective  the  meaning  sensibilities  of  of  the  novel  h i s readers.  according  It i s  to  the  understandable,  then, t h a t some readers w i l l f i n d the novel a c c e s s i b l e as a work  40  of  fanciful  Keerson's  myth  or  disordered  familiarity  with  fantasy;  others  psyche;  and  Catholic  will  readers  spirituality  appreciate the f u l l dimensions  have  a  sense  possessing  should  be  of some  able  to  of Buell's representation of e v i l  i n the world. Buell's possession  fictional  evocation  of  conforms t o a t r a d i t i o n a l  evil  and  Catholic  of  belief  demonic i n which  Satan and h i s minions a r e i d e n t i f i e d as e v i l s p i r i t s which ...tempt men t o s i n , sometimes i n j u r e  them i n body,  and even i n f e s t t h e m . . . . [ P ] o s s e s s i o n takes p l a c e when the  evil  within,  spirit using  assumes  i t as h i s own;  attacking or infesting III,  control  of the body  and obsession  from  i s the  o f men from without  (Religion  392-3).  As pure s p i r i t , the e v i l being, commonly r e f e r r e d t o as Satan o r the d e v i l , and  internal  sense  the  dimension the  c o n t r o l . What B u e l l  of the c o n f l i c t  about a in  i s a r e a l and powerful  agent  o f e x t e r n a l subterfuge  represents i n The Pyx i s the  i n which the E v i l  One intends t o b r i n g  demonic v i c t o r y over the person o f God who i s present consecrated  host.  Conceptually,  o f B u e l l ' s novel encompasses  power of E v i l  the  the cosmic  i n o p p o s i t i o n t o the grace  metaphysical c o n f l i c t of  o f God. I t i s  w i t h i n the t o t a l i t y of t h i s metaphysical r e a l i t y t h a t the c r i s e s i n the r e s p e c t i v e s p i r i t u a l  d e s t i n i e s of E l i z a b e t h Lucy and o f  Keerson a r e presented. Buell's  narrative  represents these  41  spiritual  realities i n  demonstrably characters modus  human having  operandi,  terms, moral  the d e c i s i o n s  and a c t i o n s  as w e l l  as s o c i a l  as t h e C a t h o l i c  theologian  of h i s  significance.  This  Charles Curran has  s t a t e d , i s a c e n t r a l c o n v i c t i o n o f C a t h o l i c b e l i e f i n which ...the d i v i n e [ i s ] mediated through t h e human....[T]he n a t u r a l law w e l l i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s mediation. How do we discern  and know what God wants us t o do? Do we go  immediately  t o God  to find  out?  r e f l e c t i n g on human nature t e l l s us  o r what  has been  called  e t e r n a l law i s the plan of  God. The n a t u r a l  eternal  No.  Human  reason  us what God asks of  the eternal  law. The  f o r a l l c r e a t i o n i n the mind  law i s the p a r t i c i p a t i o n o f t h e  law i n the r a t i o n a l c r e a t u r e . . . . In  Catholic  understanding, the church i s a v i s i b l e human community with  human  immediately  leaders  and i n v i s i b l y  Rather t h e saving in  and members. God does  and through  gift  not come  t o the i n d i v i d u a l  person.  o f God i s present and mediated  the v i s i b l e  human community with i t s  human-divine s t r u c t u r e c a l l e d the church (14). Consequently, B u e l l ' s d e p i c t i o n of s i n , s u f f e r i n g , and s a l v a t i o n has  i t s subjective  basis  i n human  life  itself,  not i n an  o b j e c t i v e o r c h e s t r a t i o n o f the human c o n d i t i o n wherein to  wanton  boys  a r e we  t o the gods"  (Lear  "as f l i e s  4.1.38-9).  C a t h o l i c consciousness, t h e grace o f God, o r t h e l a c k is  manifested  importantly,  i n every  human  thought,  word,  thereof,  and deed.  the presence o f God i n the world i s enabled  42  In the  More  through  human beings, whether i t be the i n c a r n a t i o n a l presence by  Mary's  cooperation,  the  sacramental  initiated  incarnation  through  s a c e r d o t a l mediation i n the E u c h a r i s t , o r t h e o p e r a t i o n o f t h e Holy  Spirit  manifested through  i n and among the f a i t h f u l . through  the sacraments  the operation  normative  Catholic  breaking  through  sacraments This centre  into  God i s  and i s present among people  spiritually  perception  empowering  i s that  the world,  God  grace.  The  i s continuously  preeminently  through  the  but a l s o w i t h i n the l i v e s of the people o f God. commonplace C a t h o l i c  of Buell's  earliest  of  To a C a t h o l i c ,  fiction  conviction  and  i s very much a t the  i s directly  apparent  i n his  novels. God i s present wherever human goodness and love  e x i s t . T h i s m a n i f e s t a t i o n of God's saving grace i s apparent not only i n the l i v e s o f the f a i t h f u l but a l s o among t h e f a i t h l e s s , for  i t i s among those who have f a l l e n  evils  of the world  restore  a lost  Promptings  that  innocence  victims  r e g e n e r a t i v e grace  t o s i n and the operates  but t o subvert s i n through  o f love and a c t s o f goodness  From a C a t h o l i c  goodness.  are p o s s i b l e  f u n c t i o n from w i t h i n the context o f the most s i n f u l p e r s p e c t i v e , the p o t e n t i a l  for a  not t o  and do  orientation. spiritually  a c t i v a t i n g i n f u s i o n of grace which enables good works i s always, and  sometimes  surprisingly,  present.  Elizabeth  innocence does not deprive her o f the c a p a c i t y she  reaches  out compassionately  t o Sandra  lost  f o r goodness as  and J i m Rande and  a f f e c t i o n a t e l y t o her f a t h e r . What her good a c t i o n s though  Lucy's  demonstrate,  they a r i s e from w i t h i n t h e context of a l i f e o f s i n ,  43  is  that  Elizabeth  possesses  goodness which has has  the  within  herself  to  completely i n a d e c i s i v e act of Throughout The Pyx,  all;  For  predisposition  for  not been d i s p l a c e d by a l i f e of s i n but which  p o t e n t i a l , i f need be,  goodness.  a  be  r e a l i z e d more f u l l y  and  supererogation.  B u e l l ' s p r i n c i p a l focus i s upon nascent  Elizabeth,  the  love  of  God  ultimately  conquers  f o r Henderson, the redeeming q u a l i t y of E l i z a b e t h ' s l i f e i s  found  in  actions  character.  Recognizing  investigative victory  that  report  through  her  reveal  that  a  there  residual is  no  goodness  place  in  f o r an  account of E l i z a b e t h ' s  death,  he  message of hope t h a t he w i l l  can  reflect  upon  in  a  mundane  meritorious the  positive  forward to E l i z a b e t h ' s f a t h e r :  grimaced with i r o n y as the thought t h a t the news he had the  Colonel  which  is  was, so  a f t e r a l l , good"  graphically  represented  which  evil  effectively  B u e l l ' s i n t e n t i o n i n the novel i s t o develop a n a r r a t i v e is  an  even  a compelling  the  appeal,  there  has  and  While  tell  the  which  attention  174).  to  "He  arrests  in  reader's  (Pyx  her  more dramatic  and  affective  transformation  from  p h y s i c a l , moral, and metaphysical e v i l t o goodness. To t h a t  end,  B u e l l ' s framework f o r h i s s t o r y r e f l e c t s a fundamental p r i n c i p l e of d i v i n e Providence; namely, that "God if  he  did  (Catechism  not  cause  84).  goodness should humanity who that  mankind  a  God's  good  to  mandate,  would not permit an  come from therefore,  be the proper c o n d i t i o n and  d e s i r e i t . On can  do  to  h i s own achieve  44  that  evil..."  necessitates u l t i m a t e end  initiative, this  very  end.  there  is  However,  evil  that of a l l  nothing through  receptivity gift  t o the transforming  o f grace,  moral  spiritual  goodness  can be  power o f God's attained.  In  free  Buell's  C a t h o l i c t r a d i t i o n , Augustine of Hippo had long ago formulated r a t i o n a l e f o r t h i s process of transformation,  reasoning  a  that  ...grace i s necessary t o heal and l i b e r a t e the freedom (Lat.,  l i b e r t a s ) that  i s a t the core  of the human  person. Grace i s the i n t e r n a l a s s i s t a n c e Spirit  that  illuminates  releases  one from  the bondage  the mind, and provides  the good (Encyclopedia  of  o f the Holy of  sin,  a new d e l i g h t i n 578).  Catholicism  This i n d w e l l i n g o f the Holy S p i r i t permits b e l i e v e r s a c t u a l l y t o become " p a r t i c i p a n t s i n t h e d i v i n e nature" (2 Peter the  essential reality  into  the m y s t i c a l  divinization the  of l i f e  entails spiritual  Body o f C h r i s t . Within  of man, sacramental  Eucharist,  sustains  incorporation  context  o f the  support, preeminently  through  and augments  this  1:4) so t h a t  personal  sanctification.  Nowhere i n B u e l l ' s f i c t i o n  i s the r e a l i t y o f the saving  of  more s i g n i f i c a n t l y  this  s a n c t i f y i n g grace  when E l i z a b e t h Lucy,  i n a selfless  Body of C h r i s t i n the consecrated This  redemptive  moment  action  represented  act of love,  then  r e c e i v e s the  host.  i n Elizabeth's  life  i s a certain  r e v e l a t i o n of God's power over s i n . For E l i z a b e t h , the c r i t i c a l d e c i s i o n o f her l i f e r e s t s i n the f r e e e x e r c i s e of her w i l l . The means by which she can determine her human and s p i r i t u a l and  d i v e s t h e r s e l f of the e v i l which a f f l i c t s  becomes the d e c i d i n g  moment which d e f i n e s  45  destiny  her e n t i r e  being  the e f f i c a c y o f her  tragic  death.  Had  she  d i e d without  d i v i n e grace, she would be l i t t l e life,  without  any  d e c i s i v e l y and any  other,  heroism  redeeming  activating  infusion  more than a p i t i f u l  quality.  That  she  of  loser i n  chose  to  act  i r r e v o c a b l y f o r an i n f i n i t e l y g r e a t e r cause than  imbues  and  an  her  character  with  the  mark  of  personal  imbues her s o u l with s a n c t i t y . What B u e l l  presents  f i c t i o n a l l y i s patterned on the motif of the f a l l e n woman who  is  redeemed; indeed, E l i z a b e t h Lucy i s a l s o "the woman...who was s i n n e r " whom Jesus forgave f o r she had  "shown great l o v e "  a  (Luke  7:37-48). Elizabeth  is  as  accustomed  to  sin  as  i n j e c t i o n of h e r o i n . As a h e r o i n a d d i c t who by working i n a high c l a s s under the Latimer,  control who  of the  works the  prostitution  self-serving  sex  trade  and  to  human  degradation  whose  ring,  she  "old-time keeps  role  regular  serves her a d d i c t i o n  is  i s entirely  operator"  her  n a r c o t i c s . E l i z a b e t h has no i l l u s i o n s about Meg. of  her  Meg  s u p p l i e d with  She i s an  seared  agent  into  her  consciousness: ...the image of Meg first  then  steel  but  growing,  wriggling vegetation, whiteness in  Latimer arose, a smile, f i x e d a t the  alive  like  trap  like  false  tired rich,  t e e t h grew grey  reptiles,  and  damp,  that shattered into  the dampness and was  monstrous needle  a  swamp  whiteness,  a  f i n e powder, d i s s o l v e d  about t o give her peace but a  r e p l a c e d i t a l l and  46  became  sickly  i n the center of which was  like  changed  into  a  b l a c k i c i c l e held i n a f r o z e n hand...(Pyx It  has been f i v e years s i n c e E l i z a b e t h f i r s t  Meg  and  43).  chose t o work f o r  her experience has  l e d t o an i n c r e a s e d r e a l i z a t i o n  not  only of the meaninglessness  of her e x i s t e n c e but a l s o of her  own  h e l p l e s s n e s s . From the q u a l i t y of her l i f e , be  completely  every sense Meg  resistant  a lost  she would appear t o  t o the o p e r a t i o n of grace.  She  is in  soul whose d e p r a v i t y i n s e r v i n g the ends of  Latimer has l e f t her without peace or hope: I have nothing now,  I'm  I'm  be  caught,  r i g h t now.  I can't There's  that's l e f t  anything  but  what  I am  no choosing, there's no doing. A l l  (Pyx  45).  "part" of E l i z a b e t h , of course, i s r e c e p t i v e t o  grace,  f o r while she i s f u l l y aware of the e v i l i n her s o u l , she possesses  capacity  for  goodness.  Herein  lies  still  the  positive  o r i e n t a t i o n of grace t h a t S t . Paul recognized when he  observed  that  a  now,  i s knowing. I know. I know t h a t damnation  i s a p a r t of me Another  empty. I can't even choose,  "where s i n i n c r e a s e d , grace abounded a l l the more" (Romans  5:20). Yet  so i n v a s i v e i s the o p e r a t i o n of the e f f e c t s  that  the  even  self-realization  of  goodness  can  be  of s i n  obscured.  E l i z a b e t h can f i n d no good i n or f o r h e r s e l f . For the most p a r t , she  feels  spiritually  deadened by  a sense  of  hopeless  despair  and c o n s i d e r a b l e foreboding about the f u t u r e . However, what cannot  realize  in  herself  she  does  effect  in  the  lives  she of  others. I f E l i z a b e t h , as she says, f i n d s both her l i f e  47  and  herself  (Pyx  intolerable replaced suffer.  by  54), the s e l f - h a t e t h a t she d i r e c t s inwards i s  exemplary  In t h i s  manifestations  regard,  the e f f o r t  of  love  f o r others  to restore  Sandra's  who  well-  being i s p a r t i c u l a r l y s i g n i f i c a n t . While E l i z a b e t h can hope f o r no escape f o r h e r s e l f from the encompassing e v i l around her, she secretly  provides the means by which  Sandra  can  be  liberated  from the c y c l e of p r o s t i t u t i o n and drug a d d i c t i o n i n which they are  both engaged. What E l i z a b e t h b e l i e v e s she cannot be, Sandra  will  become.  Elizabeth  In  places  undertaking  this  herself  a  in  act  of  situation  selfless of  charity,  extreme  danger.  E l i z a b e t h h e r s e l f i s c o n t r o l l e d by Meg Latimer and Meg serves as an accomplice t o Keerson. From Keerson's c r i m i n a l s y n d i c a t e ,  no  one gets out a l i v e , as both Meg Latimer and Herby Lefram were t o discover  when each  was  found  Keerson's s a t a n i c schemes.  t o be  ineffective  of  anyone  deviating  Elizabeth's i n i t i a t i v e friendly for is  assistance  agents  from  the  r e p o r t about the  authorized  routine.  s i n c e by t h i s  Sandra  who  is  the  a c t she i s r i s k i n g  beginning o f  undergoing  drug  the  more s i g n i f i c a n c e ,  when E l i z a b e t h f i r s t  novel when  withdrawal  p s y c h i a t r i c h o s p i t a l . L a t e r , a comparable infinitely  So  i n r e s c u i n g Sandra i s more than an a c t of her  another. The r e s u l t of E l i z a b e t h ' s p a r t i c u l a r saving presented at  of  Keerson's c o n t r o l i s absolute, w i t h  a network of informants employed t o f o l l o w and activity  as  she  therapy  life  action visits in  the  saving a c t i o n , but o f  occurs at the end  o f the novel  meets Keerson at h i s penthouse  and  learns  about h i s intended s a c r i l e g e . While she succeeds i n safeguarding  48  the  consecrated  that  host  on  that  occasion,  evening underscores the  she who point  the  greater  the  novel,  as  irony  exists  thematically  Harold  Throughout unrelated  to  addiction. activities  (Gardiner  the  her  Gardiner when  Sandra, r e s t s  moments during  past  her  lives,  places  few  former  a l l of  One  finally  last  rites.  an  even  whom she  are  is  notably  p r o s t i t u t i o n or focus  days of her  home i n the  her  confronts  this  comes t o s u f f e r i n g  on  drug  Elizabeth's  assets  in  life:  Keerson as  he  What B u e l l shows here i s that  she  mass at the  country  where  a  fund  trust  meets momentarily with a compassionate p r i e s t who and  life:  foreground a sequence of very p o s i t i v e the  drives  noted,  actions  narrative  events t h a t occur during for a  who  Elizabeth's  the  brings t o the  has  "the  involvement with  Consequently,  murder  772-3).  novel,  avowed  her  i t f o r h e r s e l f . At  f i n a l l y c a l l e d on t o p r o t e c t i s the One humanity i n a pyx"  of  t r a g i c irony of E l i z a b e t h ' s  gives p r o t e c t i o n cannot provide in  fact  prepares the  visits  cathedral, her for  father Sandra,  blesses  her,  his sacrilegious  o r i e n t a t i o n of  these  a c t i o n s i s a p o s i t i v e outgrowth of E l i z a b e t h ' s developing  moral  consciousness as i t contends with an o p p r e s s i v e l y s i n f u l By  developing  positive sinful  nature.  a c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n based upon such a sequence of  actions,  context  Buell  of  her  shows q u i t e life,  clearly  Elizabeth  is  that,  despite  engaged  in  the  actions  r e v e a l i n g the promptings of grace working from w i t h i n . By which  attributing to  manifests  itself  Elizabeth in  the  a  residual action  practice  49  of  good  of  works,  grace, Buell  again draws upon C a t h o l i c theology his  narrative. Unlike  righteous before God,  others  who  t o support hold  that  meritorious  the  given  operation  efficacious; derived  accounted  the  appropriate  Saviour  t h a t good works are  nature  of  the  actions,  for salvation ( C a t h . D i e t . 2 5 2 - 3 ) . Specifically,  necessary not  and,  are  works or deservings"  702-3), C a t h o l i c i s m maintains  Prayer  "we  actions i n  only f o r the merit of our Lord and  Jesus C h r i s t by F a i t h , and not from our own (Common  these  rather,  from  the  manifestations charity. accruing  of  In  the in  actual Catholic  empowering  of  the  themselves  belief  divine  salvific  grace  case,  however,  that  are  merit  is  operative  t h e o l o g i c a l v i r t u e s of  Elizabeth's  from her  works  faith,  any  i t is  in  the  hope,  and  salvific  a c t i o n s would appear t o be  precluded  merit by  her  sense of s p i r i t u a l d e s p a i r , her acknowledged s t a t e of s i n , and her  hesitancy  reconciled  at  with  opportune  God.  moments  Nevertheless,  to  what  be  sacramentally  Buell  does  indicate  through her c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n i s t h a t the good t h a t she performs arises  not  from  any  personal  worth  of  r e c e p t i v i t y t o a f r e e l y operating g i f t  her  own  but  of d i v i n e grace  always a v a i l a b l e t o her. Such a s t i r r i n g of grace it  clearly  works  manifestations instrument  of  Rande. Even Meg and  drugs,  can  does i n B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e , t o e f f e c t i n g  which  are of love  caused its  by  grace  presence.  t o ease the  from  and  are  Elizabeth  afflictions  of  is  that i s l e a d , as  those not  good simply  indeed  Sandra  her  and  an Jim  Latimer, the devious a r b i t e r of the trade i n sex  c o u l d be accounted as a f r i e n d had  50  their respective  roles  in life  consequent  been d i f f e r e n t . E l i z a b e t h ' s  r e s u l t s that  follow  traces  of goodness i n a s i n f u l  God's  action  within  the  from  show of love and  i t reveal  nature but,  sinner  that  not  the  simply  the  more s i g n i f i c a n t l y ,  will  move  her  towards  redemption. When E l i z a b e t h chooses t o safeguard the e u c h a r i s t i c sacrament from Keerson's e v i l plan, she does so, not as a chance happening, but observed  in  as  the  the  r e s u l t of  several  should be l i t t l e  love  result  i s not of  works  of  her  act of d e s e c r a t i o n ,  so much c l i m a c t i c as  the  growth which can past  life.  be  There  s u r p r i s e when she r e c e i v e s the host r a t h e r than  permit Keerson's intended of  good  spiritual  Spirit  continuing  f o r t h i s f i n a l act  i t i s cumulative, the  to  break  through  to  end  bring  Elizabeth to salvation. In the  The  Pyx,  spiritual  life.  Despite  evil  presently  B u e l l has  not  left  e f f i c a c y of  the  final  the  depravity  around her,  of  goodness  life God  of  i s not  negated  act past  of  Elizabeth  and  the she  the  s i n . Rather, i n i t l i e s  oppressive  the  operation  for  Lucy's  encompassing possesses  t o a c t upon i t . That  by  the  realization  immorality of the  of  grace  a of  which w i l l not be suppressed. I m p l i c i t i n goodness, at l e a s t  from a C a t h o l i c p e r s p e c t i v e , Where there  is  goodness,  being the t h r u s t of Father A  her  reader unprepared  B u e l l shows that  c a p a c i t y t o know goodness and of  the  Burnt-Out  i s the  there  nature of  i s the  Superior's  goodness  presence  of  itself.  God,  this  p i d g i n sermon i n Greene's  Case: ...because Yazu made you,  51  he i s i n you. When you  love  i t i s Yazu who who  is  l o v e s , when you are m e r c i f u l i t i s Yazu  m e r c i f u l . . . .Yazu  made  love,  mercy.... Only remember t h a t the love you mercy you show were made i n you by God God  he  made  f e e l and  the  (85-6).  i s with E l i z a b e t h Lucy. However, the  irony  of  her  s i t u a t i o n i s that  p e r s o n a l l y conscious of the extent present  i n her l i f e ,  t o which the  she  is  not  love of God  is  g i v i n g her both an a c t i v e and passive moral  o r i e n t a t i o n . A c t i v e l y , she i s impelled t o good works of c h a r i t y . Passively, sinful  she  i s given  separation  realist,  the  grace t o  from the  Elizabeth  God  harbours  who  no  know the  loves  reality  her.  illusions.  with  Jim  Rande a f f i r m s  life....She  that  faced  "she  Her  it"  (Pyx  semblance of d e n i a l i n her  life  attempt  of  at  rationalization  the  priest  who  her  helplessness  i s dispatched and  pain  knew e x a c t l y 98).  The  father, (Pyx  absence  sinfulness  t o her  were not  by  Sister  later  stood any  of  any  signals  Hildebrand  irremediable  must a c t i v a t e grace i n t o a c t i o n on her own  134)  of  devoid  but  a  for  where she  as w e l l as being her  her  Preeminently  example, remembers t h a t "she c o u l d always face t h i n g s " and  of  to  that  that  she  volition:  "You've heard the o t h e r s . . . j u s t i f y themselves... about a phoney innocence....You're not  doing  it....You  can  look r i g h t at i t . Some people don't even get t h a t f a r . Don't  you  grace?" (Pyx  think  that  kind  of  clarity  could  be  a  122)  But E l i z a b e t h , caught i n a c r i s i s of u n c e r t a i n t y , cannot at t h a t  52  moment i d e n t i f y the means t o b r i n g about a transformation life. off  The p r i e s t dissuades her o f any notion  drugs w i l l  l e a d t o a change i n her l i f e .  suggests somewhat o b l i q u e l y ,  that  i n her  simply  going  What she needs, he  i s t o be c o n t r o l l e d by her inmost  being, the d i c t a t e of her s o u l , the r u l e o f her conscience, a decisive  a c t of w i l l .  I t i s she and she alone who matters, he  i n s i s t s , and i t i s she who i n the end w i l l make a d i f f e r e n c e i n her  life.  and  will  She w i l l  be able  not be subject  d i f f e r e n c e i n her l i f e , you'll  t o determine the value o f her l i f e  t o e x t e r n a l c o n t r o l . What w i l l make the he t e l l s her, (Pyx  know a t one p o i n t "  i s "You....It's your  122). E l i z a b e t h ' s  simply t h a t a t t h a t moment she i s s t i l l the  will  t o determine  explains, the  her d e s t i n y .  i n d i c a t i n g that  grace  she w i l l  f o r resolution  a t some  response i s  incapable  of e x e r c i s i n g  "I'm not there find  the inner  future  point  yet,"  as  i n her l i f e ,  he departs,  though  "raised  blessing  she  resources o r i n time. Her  i n d i c a t i o n o f what i s y e t t o come, a moment when she w i l l fulfillment  life:  find  holds some promise f o r the p r i e s t who, h i s hand  the n i g h t " ( P y x  i n benediction 122). By  after  t h e grace  her as of  this  b l e s s i n g , B u e l l suggests, the remaining darkness i n E l i z a b e t h ' s s o u l may be d i s p e l l e d . Elizabeth's the  first  moment  identified "party,"  moment o f t r u t h occurs the next evening. From i n which  she had learned  her as a p a r t i c i p a n t  Elizabeth  that  Keerson had  i n h i s undefined  but ominous  has been f i l l e d  with  foreboding:"Fear  tried  t o d e f i n e the f u t u r e , t o put a shape on the huge nothingness o f  53  evil of  the  event  to  take  familiarity  with  information.  Likewise,  Elizabeth  is  information. Keerson's was  (Pyx  c o n f r o n t i n g her"  place  Keerson's  even She  59). She and  i s ignorant of the Meg  world,  Latimer,  will  Herby Lefram, who  more  must  highly  and  the  night's  unsupported,  has  give  must be  narcoticized,  encounter  i n v e n t i o n alone  not  who  details some  her  any  assured  that  gives dark  her  no  deeds  of  knowing t h a t  there  no a l t e r n a t i v e and yet wishing i t were otherwise: She  f e l t the longing and the f e a r of a c t i o n t h a t comes  with  great  pain;  concentrated  a l l the  i n t o one  power p o s s i b l e t o a human,  screamingly  d e s i r e d wish,  the  wish t o be something e l s e , the need, a l l t h i s she knew t o be the measure of her impotence: the great and the great i m p o s s i b i l i t y Compelled t o surrender a r r i v e s at the Cross,  (Pyx  her w i l l t o t h a t of f o r there i s , indeed,  longing  106). Keerson, E l i z a b e t h the suggestion  of a  C h r i s t o l o g i c a l dimension i n B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e of the Good F r i d a y death and sacrifice  Easter at  life  underlying  Keerson's  penthouse  darkness does not portend by Meg, choosing and  the experience  the  wherein  her  leading to Cross  hope of an easy E a s t e r .  in  power of  the  Betrayed  E l i z a b e t h moves i n e x o r a b l y towards an event not of and  her  her  from which there i s no t u r n i n g back. With her w i l l determination  for herself t o t a l l y  suspended,  she  can only face the unknown: She  was  past the point where c a r i n g can do  any  good.  Her f e a r had l o s t i t s edge and become d u l l l i k e a s o r t  54  of peace:  i t stayed on as an u n f e e l i n g preoccupation,  empty of r e a l (Pyx It  content, and  ready  for a greater void  150-1).  i s o n l y when Keerson  leaves her alone with the pyx,  bearing  the Body of C h r i s t , t h a t E l i z a b e t h can respond f r e e l y t o God  who  now  she  comes  to  her  sacramental l y .  In  a  soft  whisper,  s a y s : " I . . . d i d n ' t t h i n k . . . Y o u . . . , " ( P y x 158) thereby r e c i p r o c a t i n g the i n v i t a t i o n t o Love manifested t o her. In the r e a l i z a t i o n of the  mystical  love  of  God  for  suffering  humanity,  Elizabeth  r e c e i v e s the Real Presence  i n an a c t of s e l f l e s s l o v e . Redeemed  from the world's  her s a n c t i f i c a t i o n  sacramental  evil  infusion  and of  grace, E l i z a b e t h ,  assured through  i n keeping  with  a  the  p r a c t i c e of h e r o i c v i r t u e , becomes a martyr t o D i v i n e Love when Keerson,  d i s c o v e r i n g t h a t she has r e c e i v e d the host, throws her  t o her death from the penthouse balcony. Elizabeth's  victory  over  the drama of her redemption.  death  i s the c u l m i n a t i n g a c t i n  I t i s the d e s i r a b l e outcome of a  s o u l t h a t had longed f o r the peace o f death but of one, s a i d Jim Rande, who  "thought she couldn't d i e w e l l "  (Pyx  93). However, i n  meeting C h r i s t sacramentally and g i v i n g h e r s e l f as His p r o t e c t o r from s a c r i l e g e , she has indeed d i e d w e l l and found l a s t i n g peace in  new  life.  Elizabeth's  redemption  through the grace o f the sacrament. moments of Keerson  is  enabled  But, i n p r e s e n t i n g the dying  on the other hand, B u e l l  indicates that  mercy and grace of God extend not o n l y t o those who Him but t o those who  have hated Him as w e l l .  55  preeminently  the  have sought  There i s l i t t l e he  doubt t h a t Keerson i s e v i l  i s obsessed i n seeking  incarnate,  demonic power i n h i s l i f e  the c o n t r o l which extends through h i s syndicate:"I  But  Elizabeth's  desecration impotent  of  his  victim  powerless  has  i n preserving  sacrilegious  of  by  action  his her  own  evil  saving  has  170).  v i c t i m of  action  infidelity:  he  evil  he  i n t o the  brought should  resolution. kill  revealed the one  the  evil  should  made  him  the  She  who  was  power  of  was  receive  Keerson i n s e l f  world.  He  who  a f t e r Henderson  defence, B u e l l ' s  When Henderson  to offer,  sought.  For  reached  he  many  j u s t punishment f o r h i s  has  none i n r e t u r n . But  Immediately  stronger"  s u f f e r e v e r l a s t i n g torment  r e v e a l s a nascent presence d w e l l i n g  no  this  has  last  had  for  the  mercy  towards  i s not  Buell's  to  shoot  word about  and  Keerson  within: him  Keerson's  had  a look, perhaps of g r a t i t u d e , t h a t seemed t o come  beside him,  his  trembling;  never spoke, and  mouth  forming words t h a t  depths of  he  finally,  was  from the  B u e l l , the  grace of  God,  h i s eyes  p e r s o n a l i t y . Henderson  knelt  and as h i s t e n s i o n subsided,  r e a l i z e d he had been weeping (Pyx For  the  the  who  power he  h i s agony would appear t o be  evil  others  from  F r u s t r a t e d i n the s a c r i f i c e he intended  become the  readers,  host  has  (Pyx  ruling"  machinations.  goodness:"She," says Keerson,"she was (Pyx  the  intentions  increase  thought I had  the power," he t e l l s Henderson,"it f e l t as i f I was 169).  to  that  operating  w i t h i n the most a b j e c t s i n n e r , knows no  56  he  171-2). with  limits.  redemptive power  Four  The nature  traditional  Catholic  and grace, which  view  Buell  made e x p l i c i t i n Four Days, of  Days  o f the interdependence o f  implied  throughout  The Pyx, i s  f o r a l l humanity the source and end  l o v e i s God. To f r u s t r a t e t h i s l o v e from a t t a i n i n g i t s proper  end i s the utmost s p i r i t u a l tragedy, the o p e r a t i o n o f grace then being  short-circuited,  resulting  knowledge of God i n and through  i n the deprivation  o f the  humanity. The e x p l o i t a t i o n o f  the grace o f God, i n s o f a r as i t i s expressed i n the love of one person  f o r another,  the l i f e of  epitomizes the i r o n i c  tragedy d e p i c t e d i n  o f the Tom, B u e l l ' s p r o t a g o n i s t i n Four Days.  finding  acceptance  manipulated  through  and deceived,  h i s love,  first  Tom  Instead  i s unwittingly  by h i s s e l f - a b s o r b e d brother  Milt  and l a t e r by t h e sexual predator R i t c h who has b e f r i e n d e d  him.  Loving  but unloved,  Tom's u n f u l f i l l e d  quest  f o r meaning  through human l o v e i s the c e n t r a l i r o n y i n a novel i n which, as F.w. Watt observed, [t]here a r e submerged fragments o f an admirable theme: a  young  boy  innocence  i s denied  by a degenerate  his rights  t o childhood  background,  and a t every  t u r n when he looks f o r l o v e he meets forms o f the same denial. uses  His c r i m i n a l  him i n a  older  brother whom he worships  bank-robbery;  Ritch,  the homosexual  o l d e r man who might even then have saved t h e f u g i t i v e boy, meets h i s l o v e only with an attempt a t seduction;  57  the o l d p r i e s t i s too l a t e , or too i n e f f e c t u a l , though his l o v e — c h a r i t y — i s The twelve year o l d Tom loving  relationship.  primary  object  brother. Tom  of  t r u e enough  longs t o f i n d s e c u r i t y  However, he i s under no i l l u s i o n s about the his  affection:  Milt  is  no  idealized  older  the  ugly  M i l t , the M i l t something happened t o when he was  near  these  wanted money and  things.  assertive  He  women, but  faced  egoist,  the  the  man  job w e l l (Four Days Regardless  of  unreservedly  the  transformed  and  perceived  was  images: with  of  sexual  managed a home and h i s  his  loves the  f a u l t s : "But  brother's  needs,  Tom  human presence of M i l t  with  they  all  formed  one  dedicated a c t of f a i t h and t r u s t i n the person of M i l t and the  perpetuation  of  Milt's  man  him f u l l y " ( F D 45). I t i s t h i s  n e v e r t h e l e s s , and the boy accepted  in  the  45).  priority  accepts  that  painful  d e s i r e — a n d the calm worker who  his  i n the peace of a  knows, f o r example, t h a t  Milt  all  (398).  memory  that  gives  later  purpose  and  meaning t o Tom's l i f e . It he has that  i s t h i s love which s u s t a i n s Tom loved no  longer l i v e s . For Tom,  h i s love can  live.  His own  life  even a f t e r the one whom M i l t must l i v e i n order derives  and i s sustained by the power of t h i s l o v e . The Tom  for his  presented and  as  brother an  stability,  gives  meaning  to  a b i d i n g expression  of  principally  realized  58  his  i t s meaning  s e l f l e s s love of  entire  life,  Tom's sense of in  from  critical  being  security  moments  of  crisis  and  discovered his  fear.  Fearful,  f o r example,  that  Milt  might  as an accomplice i n c e r t a i n r e s i d e n t i a l t h e f t s  paper route,  surroundings  be  along  Tom's immediate consciousness of h i s p h y s i c a l  with  their  "well-kept  lawns,  c a r e f u l l y primmed  houses, a c l e a n unbroken pavement, t r e e s t h a t looked washed, the general  play of c o l o r t h a t seemed t o him l i k e a minor  (FD  i s d i s p l a c e d by the greater  5),  "importance Unsettled  and  paradise"  r e a l i t y of a brother  authority... j u s t i f i e d  whose  (FD  anything"  6).  by the thought t h a t M i l t might somehow be apprehended  for  c r i m i n a l involvement,  Tom "forgot  (FD  9) and searched w i t h i n  to notice  h i s paradise"  h i s mind f o r a more p a c i f y i n g image  t h a t engendered greater peace and s a t i s f a c t i o n : he  stared  as  i f he  were  trying  to  see  reality  somewhere. And beyond t h e trance o f vague f e a r was the well-known and loved r e a l i t y c a l l e d M i l t , a warm area at  the  heart  existence Later, for  suspecting  things  that  gave  imminent d i s l o c a t i o n implied  t h e way he was  substance  to  (FD 9-10).  "gonna change a l l t h i s  aroused f e a r i n Tom again his  of  threatens  i n Milt's  (FD 24),"  plans  a newly  t o upset the e q u i l i b r i u m o f  life: He  felt  threatened  a  generalized  to disturb  rooms, the food, whose l i f e  fear  for Milt,  and  this  h i s whole world: M i l t was these  the habits  of home, the person i n  he c o u l d l i v e ; he was so aware o f a l l t h i s  t h a t a f e a r f o r M i l t was a f e a r f o r himself  59  (FD 25).  With h i s own sense o f we l l - b e i n g  anchored i n M i l t ' s  Tom f i n d s purpose and meaning i n the t o t a l i t y his  brother.  gives  little  The dreary  satisfaction  disordered  actuality  overriding  love  Laurent  tediousness  of  Likewise,  life  f o r h i s brother.  o f h i s love f o r  of h i s everyday  t o Tom. Milt's  existence,  existence  the v i o l e n t  fails  and  t o dislodge h i s  H i s eventual  waiting  i nVal  f o r M i l t ' s a r r i v a l as a f u l f i l l m e n t o f t h e i r plan i s a  v a l i d expectation which gives purpose t o h i s e x i s t e n c e .  Anything  that d e t r a c t s from the promise t o which he i s committed, such as newspaper  coverage  rationalized  since  of  Milt's  death,  i t endangers for Milt.  must  the t r u s t  denied  and f a i t h  misplaced  and t h a t the loved one, as he has known him, w i l l no  gave  substance  has  been  i n h i s l i f e would be a r e f u t a t i o n  "that well-known and loved r e a l i t y . . . a t  that  trust  he has  i n h i s love  of  this  and  invested  longer be p h y s i c a l l y present  That  be  t o existence"  the heart  t o which  he had  of t h i n g s completely  given h i m s e l f . For Tom, any p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t h i s f a i t h and love centered to  i n M i l t i s a l i e and t h a t the loved one w i l l  him as planned  i s a potentially  agony t h a t threatens l i f e Somewhere  soul-destroying  not come spiritual  itself:  i n the unfaced  depths  of  h i s soul  he  r e a l i z e d q u i t e c l e a r l y t h a t he was t r y i n g t o a l t e r a f a c t t h a t would be a f a c t no matter what he w i l l e d o r how s t r o n g l y . But h i s whole person screamed with the effort and  t o do i t , i t was h i s only  when the p l a n  hold on e x i s t e n c e ;  ran out and erased  60  a l l traces of  M i l t , h i s hold would go with i t (FD To  be  so t o t a l l y  accepting  of M i l t  c o n s i d e r a b l e inner c o n f l i c t f o r Tom acceptance  does  insensitivity  not  happen  towards him.  As  to  124).  does not  s i n c e h i s own coincide  Milt  h i s own  Milt's  of  casual  upon the s t r a t e g i e s  i n v o l v e d i n h i s plans f o r a bank robbery, Tom at  expectation  with  focuses  come without  initially  l a c k of i n c l u s i o n i n M i l t ' s planning,  despairs  feeling  himself  i n c r e a s i n g l y i s o l a t e d from h i s brother's a t t e n t i o n : Things were s l i p p i n g away from him,  especially Milt,  d e s p i t e h i s f e e l i n g s : a l l M i l t ' s arrangements were f o r tomorrow, not f o r a f t e r tomorrow....(FD 47). That M i l t expects t o s u r v i v e the planned bank robbery gives  Tom  some c e r t a i n t y t h a t the o b j e c t of h i s a f f e c t i o n w i l l remain as a living  presence  presence Milt  may  will  in  his  prove  indeed  life.  But  unresponsive  survive  M i l t ' s f u t u r e l i f e may  the  be  the to  bank  love  that  this  devastates  him.  but,  Tom  believes,  one  getting  out  of  unknown  destructiveness,  A l l he  his  robbery  ...that so e a s i l y excluded  Milt.  possibility  control,  could  do  him.  The  i t was  drift  felt  tumbling  something was  boy  bigger with  reality  into  some  than  even  i t and  cling  b l i n d l y u n t i l i t stopped somewhere (FD 47-8). For  Tom,  conscious  the  corollary  t h a t he may  of  love  i s a double edged  f e a r . He  is  not be worthy enough t o g a i n M i l t ' s l o v e ;  moreover, the only p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y he knows w i l l cease t o e x i s t if  he  loses M i l t .  These f e a r s and  61  the  tension  they  induce  are  considerably  lessened  when M i l t  presents  Tom with  a c t i o n t o be played out a f t e r the robbery, fulfillment  of t h i s  plan, which  the plan o f  f o r i t i s towards the  i s effectively  an  imaginative  extension of M i l t himself, t h a t Tom can t o t a l l y commit h i m s e l f : R e a l i t y was now t h i s plan; he d i d n ' t question i t s source  o r judge i t o r choose;  offered  a  alternative  continued to  i t was there,  existence  nothingness,  like  with  and i t  Milt,  finding  a  an light  switch i n the dark (FD 52). The  love t h a t Tom bears h i s brother  will  not be withheld. I t s  expression i s i n c l u s i v e and s u b s t i t u t i v e , whether i t enjoins the p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y o f M i l t o r s u r v i v e s c o n c e p t u a l l y i n M i l t ' s plan f o r a f u t u r e reunion. whom  Tom  pretends  I t incorporates the f i c t i t i o u s  t o be  waiting  and then  uncle f o r  transfers  r e a l i t y t o R i t c h as he i s momentarily perceived  Milt's  as a surrogate  brother. U l t i m a t e l y , the s p i r i t o f t h e beloved M i l t continues t o p r e v a i l as Tom swims along the l a k e a t V a l Laurent stage  of h i s f i n a l  journey  on t h e f i r s t  back t o t h e home he had l e f t . H i s  goal i s c l e a r and the M i l t o f h i s dreams i s l o v i n g l y  envisioned  as Tom swims "reaching out i n s t r o k e s . . . f a r i n t o t h e comforting wetness,  back  into  something  as  familiar  dream...[in which] they were laughing together"  as  an  ancient  (FD 224).  From the p e r s p e c t i v e o f C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l i t y , there i s no ambiguity brother,  i n Buell's  representation  the s p i r i t u a l  objective correlative  dimension  of  o f Tom's Tom's  love  love  forhis  having i t s  i n the words o f the p a r i s h p r i e s t  62  while  addressing  a congregation  of nuns on r e t r e a t at Ste. Marie. Here  the p r i e s t ' s r e f l e c t i o n s on d i v i n e love, overheard but comprehended by unconditional  Tom,  counterpoint  the  love of h i s brother  n a r r a t i v e i n which Tom's  Milt  i s the  the c e n t r a l a c t i o n i n the n a r r a t i v e . Standing church,  Tom  hears  while  they  are  words  give  a  controlling  fragments  consciously spiritual  influence  p r i e s t considers  of  the  in  Tom's  to  life.  In  Tom,  one  the  love his  the operation of both love and  i s a mystery: no  of  d'etre  at the r e a r of the  to  that  "knows the  and,  priest's  which  is  the  exposition,  the  hate w i t h i n  the  (FD 151). E v i l ,  encompassing framework of good and e v i l priest,  raison  p r i e s t ' s conference  meaningless  dimension  scarcely  says the  purpose of e v i l ,  what  r o l e i t plays i n the development of mankind, what r o l e i t played in  Christ's l i f e . . . . "  apparent simply  to  But  the  purpose  a l l : "Anyone  can  know  t o l o v e . " Some, he  strongly  hating  evil:  However, he continues, anger,  yes,  despair, love, hating  but  and no  especially evil  is  "Hate  and  hate.  of  purpose  to  carry  hate with  disappointment,  painful  p o s i t i v e love given t o God  end  goodness i s of  goodness:  are made v i r t u o u s l y strong  i n no  A l l his  narrow,  the  seems  "there  hurt,  his  says,  and  emotion  seems  emotions...."  restrictive,  and  our  strength."  C h r i s t , there i s even  a  sort  compatible The  negation  exclusive.  by l o v i n g those He  by  But  of with in the  loves a t t a i n s i t s  proper end. Here the t r u e end and means of love i s e s t a b l i s h e d : "—what does God want with our p e t t y hatreds?  He wants  our l o v e , petty as t h a t i s , but our love given t o  63  Him  through the people we l o v e , not an e x c l u s i v e love o f Him  through  name.  the persons  and t h i n g s  And our weakness?  To  love  we  i s t o love  This love, w i t h i n a s e c u l a r context, might simply  Haroldson, viewed  obsessive,  the s o c i a l  in  clinical  perhaps  worker, terms:  But i n Four Days  even  Tom's "The  that  relationship to Milt i s boy  was  very  attached,  B u e l l works with a concept o f love t h a t r e v e a l s  Tom overheard  p r i e s t ' s epilogue  be considered  d y s f u n c t i o n a l . To Mr.  d i v i n e presence i n human l o v e . The p r i e s t ' s  love  with  rendering him "psychotic" (FD 107-8).  n e u r o t i c a l l y so," probably  the  i n His  " (FD 151)  Christ  psychologically  hate  a t t h e nun' s  which concludes  conference  r e t r e a t as w e l l  t h e novel  portray  on  as the  human love  w i t h i n a s p i r i t u a l context which i s r e c o g n i z a b l y C a t h o l i c i n the sense t h a t  i t i s not a m a n i f e s t a t i o n  love, o r philos,  suggesting  o f eros,  implying  f r i e n d s h i p , but o f caritas,  sexual  the love  of God and o f one person f o r another i n i m i t a t i o n o f the love o f Christ. When the p r i e s t looks  tells  on uncomprehendingly  the congregation from t h e r e a r  of nuns,  as Tom  o f the church,  that  "God... wants our love...given t o Him through the people we love (FD  151)," he i s reminding  them t h a t  caritas  i s "the highest  form of C h r i s t i a n love, whose o r i g i n a t i n g source  and u l t i m a t e  end  encompassing  i s God" (Wojda 300).  This i s t h e most t o t a l l y  love, i n v o l v i n g God and man: Although c h a r i t y i n i t s p r i n c i p a l sense i s the love we  64  direct  towards  God—a  whole-hearted  awakened,  sustained,  and f o r t i f i e d  for u s — i t  stands as w e l l f o r the love o f neighbour as  ourselves, continuously  Caritas,  love  love  (Wojda 300).  then,  as the p r i e s t  nuns, i s wholly  inclusive,  by God's own prevenient  informed and nourished  had i n s i s t e d  love  by t h a t  i n his talk  t o the  subsuming a l l human a c t i o n s  within  i t s moral compass: ... i t comprises i n i t s most fundamental sense the love of  God bestowed  through  C h r i s t and the Holy  upon humankind, as w e l l as the love r e q u i r e d  Spirit  of human  beings f o r both God and one another (Wojda 301). The long  conviction that tradition  succinct  i n l o v i n g others  i n Catholic  thought  one i s l o v i n g God has a and p r a c t i c e , r e c e i v i n g a  summation i n Thomas Aquinas' observation  that  caritas  meant t h a t [t]hough charity  i t s formal reaches  object  out  to  and f i n a l the  end i s God,  neighbour  as  well,  i n c l u d i n g even the enemy and the s i n n e r who are loved f o r God's sake (Wojda 301). It  i s i n the nature  of Tom's  love  not t o be d e f l e c t e d by  appearance but r e a l i s t i c a l l y t o accept the loved one as a person who  happens  to  be  a  sinner.  While  Tom  acknowledges  the  weaknesses i n M i l t ' s c h a r a c t e r , h i s love f o r h i s brother remains s t e a d f a s t d e s p i t e any o f M i l t ' s f a i l i n g s whether they be moral, social,  p s y c h o l o g i c a l , o r even r e l i g i o u s .  65  Unwavering  constancy  c h a r a c t e r i z e s Tom's l o v e . P r e f i g u r e d by is  unimpeded  by  conventional  the  love of C h r i s t , i t  a t t i t u d e s . This  i s uppermost  in  Tom's mind when, immediately a f t e r r e c e i v i n g the E u c h a r i s t while s e r v i n g at Sunday mass, he r e f l e c t s upon the s i n g u l a r nature his  love,  which  he  knows  others  may  neither  appreciate  of nor  understand: He  had  always wondered  good people,  who  about  looked  the  other  people,  so a t home at the  communion  r a i l : cleaned, composed, untroubled by what was s i n . He d i d n ' t f e e l l i k e one enough t o be t h a t way, be.  He  simply  know what  he  none of  knew, t h e i r  called  of them, they were lucky  and he was  knew t h a t  the  content  t o l e t them  them would  goodness would  like  regard  to his  goodness as bad: they wouldn't love M i l t , o r him even, no, they couldn't even t r y (FD Tom  justifies  brother.  In  potential  his particular this,  as  reflecting  he  goodness i n h i s love of  realizes,  more  46).  the  there  love  exists  of  Christ  a  a  flawed  high than  risk that  envisioned by modern Pharisees or s o c i a l workers. At no time has t h i s c h i l d of a p r o s t i t u t e mother who known the Milt The  was  love of f a m i l y or f r i e n d s . The  r e c e i v e s has reality  of  i t s origin  his  love,  s o c i a l mores or c l i n i c a l  as  i n no he  r a i s e d i n f o s t e r homes s e l f - g i v i n g love t h a t  acquired  by  psychology; r a t h e r , i t a r i s e s from  "a  67)  which gives him c e r t a i n t y  "at some high peak i n h i s s o u l " (FD 224)  66  i t , i s not  experience. defined  depth somewhere i n h i s s o u l " (FD  knows  human  even i n the hour of h i s  death. The love t h a t the nameless p r o t a g o n i s t c a l l e d Tom  manifests  i s e x t r a o r d i n a r y , e s p e c i a l l y w i t h i n the depersonalized  context  of mid-twentieth century  east-end Montreal where he i s known t o  everyone simply  as "the k i d . " This i s a love i n which one l i v e s  f o r the other,  finding self-fulfillment  is  a dependent l o v e  one's  own  efforts  outside  of o n e s e l f . I t  i n which peace and s e c u r i t y come not from but  are  reciprocated  by  the  solicitous  response of the loved one. Moreover, the c o r o l l a r y of t h i s involves  suffering  derived  from  a  perception  of  love  one's  own  inadequacy as w e l l as from a sense of the loved one's absence. Four  i s e s s e n t i a l l y a r a d i c a l love s t o r y with i t s f i c t i o n a l  Days  b a s i s suffused with C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l i t y . The kid-called-Tom i s no modern mystic, love  he  draws  but i n B u e l l ' s p r e s e n t a t i o n  upon  those  features  of  a  of the power of  Catholic  spiritual  t r a d i t i o n i n which the w r i t e r , as John W y l l i e has noted, "makes h i s reader see behind the p r i n t t o the many s u b t l e i n f e r e n c e s he injects  i n t o h i s work;  inferences  which add an e x c i t i n g t h i r d  dimension" ( 6 ) . As a  w r i t e r well-versed  imaginatively dimension" comparable unconscious singular  represents  in  images and motifs  work.  t o dream-like spiritual  love  exemplifies  his  story  the  i n Catholic s p i r i t u a l i t y ,  In  certain  emanations  experience.  respects,  from To  evoking t h i s  of  this  67  mystical  "third  these  are  the c o l l e c t i v i t y  a t the n a r r a t i v e centre  experience  Buell  end,  the  of B u e l l ' s  love.  Jungian  of  rather novel dream  theory  maintains  that  v a r i o u s l y symbolized reality  (Hall  Buell's Milt  unconscious  experience  can be  i n images r e p r e s e n t i n g a psychic denotative  19). A  Jungian  as a transformed  representation  psychic  which  is  might  well  identify  God image t o Tom, an imaginative  rationally  creates  affectively in  Tom's  experience,  becomes the o b j e c t of a type o f transcendent  love.  t h a t order,  who  but  insofar  t h e extent  Milt,  absurd  meaningful  To  as  theorist  transcendence,  order  and meaning  comprise  God's g i f t t o humanity, these q u a l i t i e s a l s o d e f i n e M i l t t o Tom. The  suggestion  distinctive indicative The  of  aspects  and enduring of the dual  writer  may  of mystical  love  u n d e r l y i n g the  l o v e of Tom f o r h i s brother  Milt i s  o p e r a t i o n o f the C a t h o l i c imagination.  unconsciously  evoke  a  familiar  pattern  of  s p i r i t u a l experience which he incorporates o r represents i n h i s fiction. creates  A t the same  the c h a r a c t e r s  that  the w r i t e r  a c t i n a manner t h a t i s c o n s i s t e n t with t h e informing  spirituality. Catholic  time,  In  Four  realization  Buell  Days  draws  o f the experience  upon  the  familiar  o f transcendental l o v e ,  that love f i r s t epitomized by the love o f C h r i s t f o r the Father and  imitated  i n the s p i r i t u a l  aspirations of  many  of the  Church's s a i n t s and v i s i o n a r i e s . T h i s i s the deep s t r u c t u r e o f the  novel  o r , as W y l l i e  has  indicated,  "an e x c i t i n g  third  dimension," the evocation o f t h i s s p i r i t u a l i t y being represented i n the p a r t i c u l a r s u s t a i n i n g l o v e o f Tom f o r M i l t . While perspectives,  this  love  can  i t s spiritual  be nature  68  appreciated suggests  from  various  an a f f i n i t y  with  that  particular  devotion, anguish his  spiritual  experienced  analogue,  in  the  Dark  not Night  unknown  in  of  Soul.  the  Catholic Tom's  about M i l t , B u e l l repeatedly p o i n t s out, i s centered  soul.  In  his  disordered  question" of M i l t ' s death (FD  dreams  137),  his  "soul  pressed  the  j u s t as e a r l i e r he had known  "from a depth somewhere i n h i s s o u l what i t a l l meant" (FD L a t e r , as Tom  languishes  in  i n the water of the lake i n h i s  67). dying  moments, B u e l l presents the d i s s i p a t i o n of the p h y s i c a l darkness of the night as a c o r r e l a t i v e t o Tom's newly r e a l i z e d c e r t a i n t y t h a t he w i l l  l i v e again with  the  loved one  i n the  home he  has  always longed f o r : Things were so s w i f t and simple, a l l the b a r r i e r s were disappearing,  inside,  dark. At  some high  was  he was  sure  soon... (FD  "can  enduring  going  the  night  was  less  giggled:  t o make i t ; he' d be  he  back home  224).  I stay, stay, now and  even  peak i n h i s s o u l , he  As the water c l o s e s over him, only  and  Tom  asks the envisioned loved  one  t h a t — , " h i s truncated p l e a f o r an  s t a b l e peace u t t e r e d p r a y e r f u l l y f o r t h a t which i n  a s p i r i t u a l context would be tantamount t o b e a t i t u d e . Before  Buell  consciousness, the  described  reaches  of  elements of  the  fictional experience  presents  a  dream  Tom's  i n terms of within  Catholic mystical  representation  final  of  (FD  a  moments of "far" return  224),  tradition  he  "back"  evokes  which i s both "the c e n t r a l experience  this  to  certain  which enhance  Tom's l o v e . Within  69  heightened  the  spiritual  of the  journey  of f a i t h and the journey of l o v e " (Doohan 228), with  God  is  found  through  stages  d i s o r i e n t a t i o n , and readjustment. union,  Tom  surrogate  longs  for  divine  satisfying (Doohan  the  seeking,  satisfaction  presence,  arriving  Paradoxically,  to  at  be  a  "very  o f t e n resent  it  is  found  thought  expect  God  impasse,  God  and  to act"  the  knowledge  was  within  does not  (Doohan 228).  lover  but  t h a t God  undergoes  permeated  "an  by  transformation of one's way  Seeking  the  religiously  this  behind"  stage  of  i s not the  God  a c t i n the way  we  a resolution  experience love  in  leaving  contentment t h a t "the b e l i e v e r d i s c o v e r s t h a t God one  satisfaction,  Drawn i n t o a type of m y s t i c a l  period that believers  228).  of  a deeper union  of  God  [which]  to based  on  to  a  leads  of e x p e r i e n c i n g God"  this  (Doohan  228).  But t h i s r e a l i z a t i o n does not come without a c e r t a i n anguish, pain r e s u l t i n g to  "from l a c k of understanding  o n e s e l f i n the  loss  of  feeling 228).  the  contemplative  former  that friends In  Four  Days,  and  religious  even God  these  of what i s happening  experience,  satisfying  resentment experience,  have abandoned one"  features  a  of  Catholic  of and  the a  (Doohan  devotional  p r a c t i c e i n the m y s t i c a l t r a d i t i o n with which B u e l l i s f a m i l i a r comprise  an e f f e c t i v e i m i t a t i v e paradigm of s p i r i t u a l l o v e .  Whether  c o n s c i o u s l y or  unconsciously,  Buell  informs  the  novel with evocative f e a t u r e s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h i s Dark Night of  the  Soul  experience.  The  love  story  representation  of  this  is  not  a  systematic  point-by-point  experience;  n e v e r t h e l e s s , the a n a l o g i c a l p a t t e r n of a tortuous  70  of  Tom  devotional  spiritual  quest  suggests  itself  throughout  the r a t h e r s i n g u l a r  love s t o r y i n Four Days.  B u e l l s i t u a t e s Tom i n i n f a n c y and e a r l y  childhood  without  child  i n a context  of a prostitute  loveless  foster  love  who abandoned  home t o another,  o r s t a b i l i t y . He i s the him, passed  on from one  seeking the s t a b i l i t y o f the  home of which he has been deprived and a love t h a t he has never known. His love does not develop familial  experience.  love i s a s o u l f u l for  any e x t e r n a l s o c i a l o r  He does not l e a r n  self-giving  h i s brother M i l t ,  Milt  from  t o l o v e . Rather,  i n which he seeks  Tom's  t o l i v e i n and  the one preeminent r e a l i t y o f h i s l i f e .  i s the q u i n t e s s e n t i a l  being  of h i s existence,  the one  person who s u s t a i n s him, e n a b l i n g him t o experience moments o f heightened awareness i n which "the excitement o f being a l i v e " i s l i k e being "on a high-wire, l o o k i n g up. But the high wire had a base: home. And home was M i l t " Milt  had been h i s determined  short totally  period  of time  satisfying.  (FD 11). To l i v e and t o be with goal  i n recent years  the attainment  In t h e midst  of t h a t  and f o r a  goal  has been  o f h i s contentment,  however,  h i s i n t e r i o r v i s i o n of M i l t as exemplar and p r o t e c t o r challenges the e x t e r n a l s o c i a l r e a l i t y o f a brother who i s d i s t a n t affections  and b a s i c a l l y  preoccupied  with  plans f o r the f u t u r e . Tom "wished M i l t seemed. But r e a l i t y was elsewhere" not  q u i t e the person  develops, person  Tom  fulfilling  h i s love  t o t h e image o r s p i r i t  (FD 61). In r e a l i t y , M i l t i s  for Milt  of M i l t ,  71  h i s own  had been r e a l l y what he  Tom had e n v i s i o n e d . As t h i s  transposes  i n his  from  realization the a c t u a l  and i t i s t h i s  single-  minded devotion, his  new  life  a f t e r he  emanating from the  i n Val  has  experienced  of the loved one. "couldn't  lived  the  to M i l t ' s  plan,  i n c o n s o l a b l e abandonment and  idea  take  hold"  (FD  68).  knows even a f t e r the p o l i c e had  bank robbery,  loss  Resolute  Tom  in  his  shot M i l t during  the  that  ...he  had  going  t o make t h i n g s  me,  orders  t o obey, a purpose, a p l a n , turn  out  were  pulling  acknowledge  at  what  by...clinging  felt him  he  physically really  t o be  days he were t o meet M i l t  saw  find  Milt  as though h i s sense of  resolutely to  something t h a t had  Milt's  a l r i g h t . . . .he' 11  b u t — He heard the shooting again and  the pavement.... He  M i l t has  according  in  Undeterred by the p h y s i c a l l o s s of M i l t ,  l e t the  f a i t h , Tom  Laurent,  s o u l , t h a t s u s t a i n s Tom  to  force  knew, but  he  the  The  plan.  fact  him  to  fought  it  plan  was  done i f at the end (FD  on  of  four  69).  been removed as a p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y  i n Tom's l i f e ,  but  M i l t ' s p l a n becomes the envisioned r e a l i t y tantamount t o a leap of f a i t h by which the attainment be  aware,  as  the  vulnerable  to  naively  i r o n y of Tom's l i f e i s t h a t he i s not as  reader  i s , that  his  God-given  exploitation. Culturally, manipulated  as  an  Tom  accessory  love  is  in  a  a  the  full  consent  of  his w i l l .  72  He  does  not  fully  makes  him  street-wise  succession  M i l t ' s c r i m i n a l e x p l o i t s . His s e r v i c e f o r M i l t i s not by  can  achieved. The dramatic  kid,  of union with the loved one  of  sustained  understand  the  moral,  l e t alone  pornographic understands  the  sexual his  c r i m i n a l , dimensions (FD  degradation  role  i n the  of  28)  l e a d i n g boys  any  he the  h e i s t at the bank. From a s o c i a l p e r s p e c t i v e , B u e l l places  Tom  development. socially,  a l l the p o t e n t i a l f o r s t u n t i n g h i s s o c i a l  Marginalized  the  theft  than  scheme or  i n a m i l i e u which has  residential  more  to  economically  sub-culture  t h a t Tom  as  well  knows may  as  well  victimized subvert  his  l e g i t i m a t e growth and development as a person of good c h a r a c t e r . That  one's  attitude  and  behavior  can  be  undermined  by  the  e f f e c t s of f a l s e s o c i a l values and economic i n e q u i t y i s a t h r e a t that  Tom,  on  the  threshold  of  maturity,  comprehend. C u l t u r a l l y and s o c i a l l y , Tom While Tom's a t t i t u d e s and manipulation,  he  does  sustained sacramentally  i s only  a  to  i s a person a t r i s k .  behavior  possess  beginning  are  moral  subject  integrity  to  Milt's  which  is  and which f i n d s expression i n h i s l o v i n g  t r u s t f i r s t of M i l t and e v e n t u a l l y of R i t c h , the M i l t a l t e r he meets i n V a l Laurent. Tom receives sacramental  the  Eucharist,  forgiveness  prays, serves as a l t a r boy at mass, and  finds  during  reconciliation  confession  just  prior  through to  death. In s p i t e of a l l the d i s r u p t i o n t h a t u n s e t t l e s h i s he  is spiritually  i n a s t a t e of grace,  small measure t o M i l t ' s socially  acceptable  r e p u t a t i o n . The  ego  use  of  front  or  the  life,  i r o n i c a l l y thanks i n no  p r a c t i c e of  cover  his  to  religion  enhance  as  his  g i f t of grace i s c e n t r a l t o Tom's c h a r a c t e r .  a own He  can love M i l t as a person yet question h i s values and p r a c t i c e s . S i m i l a r l y , he t r u s t s R i t c h as a person with the nascent love of  73  a brother y e t t o t a l l y r e j e c t s t o the death a s i n f u l a s s a u l t not only  upon h i s person but  R i t c h , Tom  a l s o upon h i s s o u l . In the  hands of  i s not only p h y s i c a l l y but s p i r i t u a l l y at r i s k .  What B u e l l d i f f e r e n t i a t e s  i n Four  i s the  Days  nature  of  love from i t s a b e r r a t i o n s . Tom's love f o r M i l t i s u n c o n d i t i o n a l , revealing  the  graced  Tom's developing openness and by  greed  takes,  but  v i o l e n c e he who  has  g i v e . Within  role  of  and  display intrusive  Tom,  even takes  Ritch's  warmth  and  degradation  Four  the  t o Tom.  A  Ritch's  the  former  agenda  Conscious  a s s a u l t upon him,  Tom  at V a l merit  perverts  a  and  i n making  hospitality  revealing  sexuality.  of the intended  and  hidden  affection,  exploitive  initiative  are p l o t t i n g against Tom  companionship  But  and  brother  p r o f f e r s considerable g e n e r o s i t y  and  confidence. of  of  e x p l o i t i v e i n s o f a r as i t the moral compass of  a surrogate  arrangements t o avenge those who  trust  Moreover,  i n i t i a t e d . A comparable f a t e a l s o awaits R i t c h  he b e f r i e n d s Tom,  To  humanity.  i n Tom's goodness, M i l t d i e s as a v i c t i m of  kindness towards him,  Laurent.  in  however, love i s d i s p l a c e d  is characteristically  assumes the  teacher,  God  In M i l t ' s case,  i t does not  centered  Days,  of  love f o r R i t c h incorporates the same s p i r i t  trust.  which  presence  his  pedophile's  of  the  moral  r e a l i z e s that  he has been betrayed ... by someone he had needed so deeply he had begun t o love him as he had  loved M i l t , someone who  could have  held him while he looked at M i l t ' s death: i t was than M i l t ' s dying, i t was  74  worse  as i f he had been knowingly  abandoned. He looked moved past  a t h i s f a c t s anyway now; he had  h i s o l d pain. Milt's  dead, you know, t h e  f a c t choked i t s way t o h i s eyes, yeah, I know, and he felt  the man's  lips  pressuring  t o remove  his last  strand of s e l f - p o s s e s s i o n (FD 197-8). Tom would  have wished  have  different.  been  that  h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with  Ritch  might  In h i s f r i e n d s h i p and a f f e c t i o n ,  Ritch  f u l f i l l e d the expectation o f s h a r i n g and t r u s t Tom had longed t o find an  i n Milt.  immoral submission  again,  as  Laurent, as  Ritch's  Tom  later  intrusive  a s s a u l t , however, n e c e s s i t a t e d  which negated the meaning o f l o v e . Once explains  t o the parish  priest  he f e e l s as abandoned by R i t c h , the surrogate  he was  by  t h e death  of M i l t  himself  on  at V a l brother,  the s t r e e t i n  Montreal: There was nobody, and he was gonna be l i k e somebody, I was counting me (FD  o n — then a l l he wanted t o do was screw  213).  For Tom, t h i s was the u l t i m a t e debasement o f the p u r i t y of l o v e . The  Catholic  provides central  a  priest  spiritual  narrative  i n whom Tom c o n f i d e s  centre  action  i n Four  Removed  Days.  o f t h e novel,  a t S t e . Marie from the  h i s i s the c l a s s i c a l  prophetic v o i c e which proclaims the t r u t h about what things a r e . During  his first  objective  appearance  correlative  to  i n the novel, Tom's  e s t a b l i s h i n g a s p i r i t u a l context the q u i n t e s s e n t i a l nature  love  for  he  presents  Milt,  an  thereby  f o r love while maintaining  that  of God i s love and t h a t God e x i s t s i n  75  and  through  there  will  a l l human l o v e . be found  Quite  the presence  v o i c e returns i n B u e l l ' s epilogue reflects Tom,  upon  the morality  of course,  Ritch's  simply,  love  o f God. The same  exists,  prophetic  t o t h e novel when the p r i e s t  of R i t c h ' s  homogential  s e x u a l i t y which i s t o be t o t a l l y  where  sexual  o r i e n t a t i o n . To  act i s a  resisted.  perversion of  From t h e s p i r i t u a l  p e r s p e c t i v e o f the p r i e s t , the a c t i o n of the pedophile, knew p e r f e c t l y w e l l , i s morally Nevertheless,  as Tom  defective i n i t s exploitation.  what the p r i e s t does recognize  i s t h a t the nature  of t h i s grave s i n l i e s i n the human p e r v e r s i o n o f d i v i n e grace. In  retrospect,  the p r i e s t  recalls:  "You were  close  t o the  boy...You were the only one who c o u l d be" (FD 231 ). In R i t c h ' s very  human,  self-giving  to  another  person,  fundamental goodness, as Tom had overheard  there  is  a  when the p r i e s t was  t e l l i n g the nuns on r e t r e a t t h a t "...anyone can know the purpose o f goodness: simply t o l o v e . Yet sometimes even love c a n — " The boy moved t o the back o f the l a s t pew and stood  still.  " — f o r our  love c a r r i e s with i t our own weaknesses...." (FD 151) What i s understood a f t e r t h e e l i s i o n love  can--"  i s that  this  same love  f o l l o w i n g "sometimes even can be obstructed,  turned  a s i d e , o r negated, e s p e c i a l l y i n s o f a r as "our love c a r r i e s it  our own weaknesses." Despite t h i s human tendency t o o b s t r u c t  a graced  gift  t o humanity, what God r e a l l y wants i s "our love  given t o him through the people we l o v e " was  with  t o pervert  God's  gift  i n order  76  (FD 151).  t o serve  Ritch's s i n  h i s own  ends.  Nevertheless, Ritch  God's love  f o r R i t c h i s not extinguished.  s u f f e r s t h e grievous  mercy f a c i l i t a t e s  temporal  loss  of h i s l i f e ,  While God's  redemption, as the p r i e s t observes t o himself  when praying f o r R i t c h ' s departed  soul:  "requiem aeternam dona e i — " ....he has p a i d f o r h i s love,  Lord,  have mercy  on him, You know t h e worst  about him, and t h a t ' s a circumstance  f o r forgiveness,  i t was t h a t way when You were on e a r t h —  (FD 231).  L i k e Tom, R i t c h has a l s o been a person a t r i s k . Whatever may be the  "worst"  known only  that  occasioned  t o God, there  Ritch's  death,  i s salvific  merit  a  "worst"  that i s  i n t h e degree t o  which the love he shared with Tom approximated the love o f God. This  i s t h e redemptive hope o f t h e p r i e s t ,  R i t c h , "the only one who c o u l d be...close an instrument prays,  lies  acknowledging  that  t o the boy," was a l s o  o r channel of God's l o v e . To t h a t end, the p r i e s t Ritch's  s a l v a t i o n : "whatever s o r t of love you had,  may i t help save you, even i f i t d i d destroy you" (FD 231).  77  The L a t e r Novels The  The recurs  Shrewsdale  s p i r i t u a l malaise  with  dramatic  Exit  that pervades  intensity  Grant's response t o the e v i l  in  The  which  The  and Four  Pyx  Shrewsdale  Days  Joe  Exit.  has beset both him  and h i s  f a m i l y a c t i v a t e s the focused n a r r a t i v e of B u e l l ' s t h i r d novel i n which  the p l i g h t  of an  individual,  reduced  t o impotence  in a  seemingly h o s t i l e world, demands r e s o l u t i o n . Subverted by an a c t of  sudden brute v i o l e n c e , the equanimity of Joe's f a m i l y l i f e i s  destroyed. L i k e Job, he experiences the abrupt r e v e r s a l o f good fortune of which the proximate c a u s e — t h e rape and murder of h i s wife and daughter by b i k e r s during a roadside ambush—leaves him ravaged i n mind and s p i r i t . U n l i k e Job, however, Joe determines to become the master of h i s own  destiny:  . . . h i s l i f e has no purpose without h i s f a m i l y , and the only meaningful course l e f t open t o him, the only way of a s s e r t i n g h i s very e x i s t e n c e , seems t o be t o punish those who were g u i l t y of the crime. But Mr. B u e l l does not  a l l o w us t o be b l i n d e d by emotional l o g i c ; f o r he  shows  how  i n pursuing  brutal,  calculating  (Rosengarten The  of  Joe  and  killers,  Joe  inhuman  as  becomes they  as are  93). c o n v e n t i o n a l values  of  middle c l a s s conformity m a r g i n a l i z e s him j u s t as e f f e c t i v e l y  as  it  alienation  the  does the b i k e r s ,  Grant  each  from  living  78  the  beyond the law  as  social  and  moral  outcasts.  What  distinguishes  however, i s the p o s s i b i l i t y irrevocably commitment moral  degenerate, to e v i l .  from  the  of redemption. B u e l l ' s  representing  a  To some degree,  dysfunction:  evolves  the one  h i s need  as a determined p l a n  brutish  to k i l l  b i k e r s are  and  Joe i s drawn the b i k e r s  other,  depraved  into  their  consciously  of a c t i o n a f t e r the l o s s o f h i s  f a m i l y . However, as purposeful  as he i s i n h i s determination  be avenged, Joe's impulse t o k i l l  to  i s momentarily i n h i b i t e d a few  days a f t e r the b i k e r s ' highway a s s a u l t upon him and h i s f a m i l y when, during a nightime ambush, he seeks t o be revenged upon the same b i k e r s who had i n i t i a l l y attacked him and murdered h i s wife and daughter: ...he  could  steadily  see f i g u r e s dashing  f o r cover....He  shot  a t the moving forms....one tough was t r y i n g  t o get back t o h i s bike, and Grant held on the moving t a r g e t , seeing him c l e a r l y , and somehow unable t o p u l l the  In  this  moment  potential Unlike  (Shrewsdale  trigger  of  truth,  exists within  the b i k e r s  Exit  Joe's  restraint  him f o r l o s t  whose a c t i o n s  144).  reveals  goodness t o be  are u n r e s t r a i n e d l y  that  the  regained. evil,  Joe  shows a t l e a s t i n one moment of h e s i t a t i o n t h a t he possesses a fundamental moral sense. Herein his  lies  the p o t e n t i a l c a p a c i t y f o r  conversion. That "somehow" which renders Joe Grant incapable o f p u l l i n g  the  trigger to k i l l  values  and  a  human  h i s murderous response  79  adversary  which  reflects  cannot  be  latent entirely  r a t i o n a l i z e d o r suppressed. Joe can shoot out the l i g h t s on t h e bikers'  motorcycles,  he  can shoot  at the  indistinguishable  "moving forms" of h i s a s s a i l a n t s , but he cannot shoot a c l e a r l y d i s c e r n i b l e human t a r g e t . In t h i s i n s t a n c e , t o spare t h e l i f e o f a  human being  perspective,  i s a particular the  a c t o f grace.  "somehow"  is  From a C a t h o l i c  indicative  of  a  moral  consciousness which, a t c r i t i c a l moments o f human experience, i s derived  from  the presence  of  divine  grace  i n one's  Although the context o f The  Shrewsdale  Catholic,  t o a p p r e c i a t e that  one cannot  fail  values with which B u e l l  life.  i s not demonstrably  Exit  himself i s f a m i l i a r  the  suggest  spiritual themselves  throughout h i s f i c t i o n , whether represented i n a novel with many C a t h o l i c a s s o c i a t i o n s o r i n the demonstrably The  Shrewsdale  s e c u l a r context o f  Exit.  Behind Joe Grant's d e c i s i o n t o k i l l deep-seated  sense  that  he had f a i l e d  the b i k e r s '  onslaught which had r e s u l t e d  t h e b i k e r s had been a  t o withstand  effectively  i n the deaths  of h i s  w i f e and daughter, the l o s s o f t h e i r l i v e s being the foundation of  h i s own g u i l t a r i s i n g from what he b e l i e v e s was h i s i n a b i l i t y  to  p r o t e c t them. F i l l e d with f e e l i n g s o f s e l f - r e c r i m i n a t i o n , he  determines, a f t e r having spoken t o the sympathetic detective,  Captain  Sparrs,  to  kill  the b i k e r s  investigating himself i n  r e t r i b u t i o n f o r the l o s s o f  f a m i l i a l love they have destroyed.  Joe  having  will  a c t on  h i s own,  appears  t o be the i n e f f e c t u a l  police.  I f the l e g a l  system  become f r u s t r a t e d  investigative cannot  80  prevail  by what  procedures against  o f the a  self-  evident e v i l , he w i l l confront i t h i m s e l f : "Maybe t h a t ' s the right  t h e r e , and  answer.... They're the  can't touch them. But up.  law  can't  Captain,  there,  touch  them, and  I can touch them. L e t  'em  gang  emotions t h a t  took  Maybe y o u ' l l get them f o r k i l l i n g  Grant spoke with animal  ferocity,  you  me."  s e l f - s a c r i f i c e f o r granted, deeper than s e l f , raw with b a s i c l o v e , dangerous....It  was  an answer, a l l r i g h t ,  it  answered Grant's f e e l i n g s . No argument could reach  it  (SE  120).  Joe a r r i v e s a t h i s "answer" a f t e r a week of anguish i n which he has  i n c r e a s i n g l y f e l t more g u i l t y . He  the  f a m i l y home, f e e l i n g  a  "guilt  e n g u l f i n g him  were abandoning them, c o l l a b o r a t i n g 84-5). Now,  had already moved out of  with  the  as  though  he  event"  (SE  clarified  his  hated  a f t e r speaking t o Sparrs, he f i n d s t h a t The  exchange... had  f e e l i n g s . . . .The I t was  cleared  day was  his  mind,  t a k i n g on a meaning f o r him.  showing him h i s own  remorse, a g u i l t t h a t  the other s i d e of love, w i t h  bitter  saying  the only one  inside  have saved seemed  like  calming (SE  h i m s e l f , I was  them, and an  I d i d n ' t , no  immense t r u t h ,  and  clarity,  one  who  else,  i t was  he  was was  could me.  it  strangely  121).  Overwhelmed by h i s acute sense of g u i l t , Joe compensates f o r h i s own  powerlessness  i n having been unable t o b r i n g the b i k e r s t o  j u s t i c e by determining t o hunt them down and k i l l  81  them h i m s e l f .  To  accomplish  this  mission,  he  buys  p e r f e c t i n g h i s shooting s k i l l s . whom one can sympathize  a  evil  which  he  and  spends  L i k e other t r a g i c  a  day  figures  with  i n the i n t e n s i t y of t h e i r s u f f e r i n g ,  makes a d e c i s i o n which i s fundamentally very  gun  seeks  to  vanquish  flawed  insofar  subverts  the  as  Joe the  otherwise  balanced moral e q u i l i b r i u m of h i s l i f e . Joe's an  determination t o undertake  attempt  loss.  t o r e s o l v e the  However,  his  anguish  "answer,"  a revenge k i l l i n g  and  suffering.  There  is  no  guilt  of h i s  comprises  the  central  which  doubt  be  unresolved  n a r r a t i v e a c t i o n of the novel, i s a p o r t r a y a l of how with  may  that  the  not t o d e a l  evil  which  has  deprived Joe of the love and s t a b i l i t y of h i s f a m i l y a l s o leaves him f l o u n d e r i n g i n a s t a t e of moral d i s s o c i a t i o n as he seeks assuage h i s p a i n . B u e l l g r i e f as a " b u f f e t i n g " and  ideas  that  realization  that  evokes the  nature  to  of h i s encompassing  (SE 78 f f . ) i n which each of the "images  necessarily suffering  came is  to  an  mind"  inherent  affirms part  of  Joe's one's  humanity: "no one i s too o l d not t o s u f f e r a l i t t l e more, or too young t o begin" (SE 78). What one seeks i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n i s , as Joe conceives i t , a " s h e l t e r " from the emotional " b u f f e t i n g " from the "winds" t h a t can leave one the  circumstances"  emotional upheaval  (SE  88).  As  and  " h e l p l e s s l y tossed about by Joe  navigates  through  the  of the t o t a l i t y of h i s l o s s , he seeks a s a f e  haven which eludes him as he u n s u c c e s s f u l l y continues t o r e s o l v e the t e n s i o n between what he knows and how All  of  i t was  still  82  with  he  him,  feels: a  fixed  conscious  knowing, always present, and charged with f e e l i n g an  obsession....The  facts  were  there,  the  were there, both r e a l , i t a l l f i t together  Increasingly,  Joe  justice  within  from  grows a  disenchanted legal  system  in  his  which  feelings  in a tight  (SE  bind, one g i v i n g strength t o the other  like  90).  expectation  appears  to  of  serve  s u b j e c t i v e human needs r a t h e r than the o b j e c t i v i t y of the  law.  For Joe, s a t i s f a c t i o n and compensation f o r the l o s s which he suffered  can  only  be  achieved  by  h i s own  violent  means,  has this  d e c i s i o n r e v e a l i n g the t r a g i c flaw i n Joe's c h a r a c t e r i n s o f a r as it  perpetuates  He  believes  t h a t k i l l i n g the b i k e r s , a l b e i t as an act of v i g i l a n t e  justice,  will  free  the l o s s he has  him  from  the  already experienced.  sense  of  guilt  which  sustains  his  s u f f e r i n g . In r e a l i t y , he w i l l become the greater v i c t i m , l o s i n g freedom r a t h e r than g a i n i n g i t . Revenge, morally Buell's  which  inappropriate theme as  transformation knew  that  readiness by  ultimately  and  he  answer  develops  victimizes to  the  human  f o r k i l l i n g was  was  different"  victim,  suffering.  narrative to  r e s o l u t i o n at the end  "everything  the  is  This  t h a t moment  and  that  the  saved  being replaced by human r e a l i t i e s ,  through  the  mediation  (SE  of  Sparrs  and  278-9). life,  from  c o r r o s i v e s t r u g g l e t o seek revenge, a s t r u g g l e which can now more p o s i t i v e l y transformed  of  "cold  At the end of the novel, Joe i s on the t h r e s h o l d of a new been  is  of the novel when Joe  another kind of s t r u g g l e t o keep them e x i s t i n g "  having  a  the be  i n t o the maintenance of those "human  83  r e a l i t i e s " newly found  i n the f a m i l i a l l o v e f o r E l l e n Shefford,  her daughter H e n r i e t t a and  her boys Tim and Bert, the  surrogate  family e p i t o m i z i n g the f a m i l y he had l o s t i n the b i k e r s ' a t t a c k . U n t i l Sparrs provides the assurance j u s t i c e does and of  will  at the end of the novel t h a t  p r e v a i l over  any  self-indulgent exercise  revenge, Joe's l i f e had been b l i g h t e d by the i n t e n s i t y of h i s  personal  agony. S u f f e r i n g has  readiness his  life  for k i l l i n g " Joe  ceases  mastered t o be  him,  but  as  the  "cold  the  determining  motive i n  f i n d s s a l v a t i o n i n mastering  suffering.  Assuredly,  the long hours of l a b o r i o u s but purposeful farm work i n which he becomes engaged a f t e r that  forbearance  and  h i s escape from p r i s o n g i v e Joe  a  sense  endurance of the s o r t of p a i n of everyday  s u f f e r i n g r e s u l t i n g from hard work i s as much a p a r t of the work experience  as  the work i t s e l f .  As  he  grows i n the  realization  t h a t s u f f e r i n g and hardship are i n t e g r a l t o human experience must be borne with a c e r t a i n d i g n i t y and  f o r t i t u d e , he  a more i n t i m a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p with E l l e n S h e f f o r d who suffered  and  agonized  over  her  own  death of her young husband, crop but  always  i n the  expectation  r e v e r s a l s of  failure,  that  develops  has h e r s e l f fortune—the  financial  future  and  setbacks—  prospects  will  be  b e t t e r and t h a t u l t i m a t e l y a l l w i l l work out f o r the best. Joe's transformation, laborious country with  and  sometimes  as w e l l as  Ellen  distilled frustrating  i n l a r g e measure from h i s work  experience  from h i s i n c r e a s i n g l y intimate  Shefford,  f u g i t i v e , r e l e a s i n g him  delivers  him  from  his  in  the  relationship  alienation  as  a  from the s e l f - r e l i a n t d i s p o s i t i o n which  84  supported  the need f o r the vengeful a c t i o n which he b e l i e v e d  the  s o l e means by  which he  could be  satisfied  f o r the  his  f a m i l y . That c o n v i c t i o n , that he would be h i s own  l o s s of  a r b i t e r of  j u s t i c e , l e d t o h i s confinement i n p r i s o n . L a t e r , as a having  escaped from p r i s o n , he experienced  on  land and  the  off  a new  was  fugitive  found  freedom  among the people i n the community near Wareby  the Shrewsdale e x i t , l i b e r a t i n g him from the perverse mental  set  and  marginalized  solitary l i f e .  physical  Here Joe  isolation  of  his  relatively  f i n d s solace i n u n r e s t r a i n e d  reflection  while working at h a r v e s t i n g E l l e n ' s crop of wheat: He gave himself t o the present and the long became s h o r t e r and go-around closely, allowed things  the  he  his  s h o r t e r . His s k i l l grew with didn't  eyes  himself freely,  did  to  have t o watch the the  think  seeing  for  unguardedly  daydreaming l i k e  paths  him, and  every so  and  he  dwell  on  a man  without  a  care  the  thought  of  his  255).  (SE  Even  and  perimeters  intrusion into  determined and  this  reverie  of  continuing plan eventually to k i l l  the b i k e r s  no  longer governs h i s t h i n k i n g as i t had done i n the past: Then h i s plans came back t o him and he became grim f o r a while, but t h a t was  soon l o s t i n the e f f o r t of work  and h i s awareness of the l i v i n g f i e l d s To  be  without which  able any "the  "to t h i n k prolonged effort  unguardedly and  and  obsessive  of work" has  dwell  on  dwelling  (SE  255).  things on  his  freely" "plans"  d i s p l a c e d i s i n d i c a t i v e of  85  the  s a l u t a r y e f f e c t experienced beyond the Shrewsdale e x i t of a new r e a l i t y found i n working the land as w e l l as i n E l l e n Shefford's own l i f e o f q u i e t desperation. B u e l l ' s c e n t r a l n a r r a t i v e motif i s focused upon Joe Grant's s u f f e r i n g and redemption, unmerited s u f f e r i n g , occasioned by the kind o f sudden and traumatic event over which he has no c o n t r o l , does not accord w i t h the otherwise s a t i s f y i n g middle c l a s s  life  s t y l e and experience of a young engineer. The challenge f o r Joe i s t o know how t o s u f f e r , but f o r t h i s he i s i l l prepared. S e l f s e r v i n g revenge provides him with an i n s t i n c t i v e what  institutional  achieving. individual  justice  Buell's  would  narrative  i n i t i a t i v e which  appear  makes  impetus t o do  t o be  clear,  incapable however,  of that  attempts t o confront one e v i l w i t h  another presupposes a personal moral a u t h o r i t y , as Joe's a c t i o n i n d i c a t e s , which does not r e a l l y e x i s t . The moral imperative i n B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e r e q u i r e s d e l i v e r a n c e from the presumption t h a t one  can save himself  him.  In the most s i m p l i s t i c  truism Grant  from whatever  o f the axiom needs  that  others  personal  terms, Joe does  man  proposes  i n the same  way  affliction  besets  not recognize the  and God d i s p o s e s . Joe that  one  possessed of  s p i r i t u a l c o n v i c t i o n s needs God. U l t i m a t e l y , B u e l l i n d i c a t e s , i t i s through others t h a t one can i n i t i a t e and b r i n g about a change of  purpose i n l i f e and r e g a i n the p r i n c i p l e d m o r a l i t y which has  been  lost.  effectively compensatory  To  this  within  end,  Joe  needs  the law and who  Sparrs mediates  who  has  worked  the promise o f  j u s t i c e t o Joe when urging him t o g i v e himself up  86  and  conform t o  family who had of the  lost  the  law.  He  also  needs E l l e n Shefford  become a s u b s t i t u t i v e compensation f o r the t o the  assault  dependencies, nature  of  a  human s u f f e r i n g  Catholicism—his no  spirituality  and  Grant has  late overt  himself,  wife  what  her  expression  of  other  at  than  pattern on  i t means informs  the  family  a s s o c i a t i o n with are  Catholic the  he  perspective  an arm's length  and  her  family  b i k e r s . Underlying t h i s  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y Catholic  n a r r a t i v e . While Joe  manifests  of the  and  Catholics—he sensibility  funeral  mass f o r  or his  wife and daughter when ...the r i t u a l spoke of them, b o l d l y presuming God, i f they were s t i l l i n existence for  the  aching  moment desires.  this He  met  and  Despite  Joe's  t h a t was  feelings  and  his  he  was  more than j u s t  nice  getting  acknowledging a gesture t h a t was and  somehow happy, and  Grant's  wasn't  religion,  a l s o s e r i o u s l y intended (SE  non-religious  n a r r a t i v e of Joe's d e s t i n y  bent,  Buell  as  79).  does  inform  the  through s u f f e r i n g t o redemption with  a p a t t e r n of experience r e f l e c t i n g a C a t h o l i c p e r s p e c t i v e  of  the  s p i r i t u a l dimension of human s u f f e r i n g . Suffering experience  of  in  itself  is  a l l humanity  an but  evil  which  is  viewed  from  the  C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l i t y s u f f e r i n g u l t i m a t e l y becomes  the  common  context  of  paradoxically  e f f i c a c i o u s i n s o f a r as i t r e v e a l s the nexus between the humanity of  C h r i s t and  a l l human experience. In C a t h o l i c  consciousness,  the f a i t h f u l b e l i e v e r accepts, both i n the s a c r i f i c e of the mass  87  as  well  as i n other  redemptive Good  forms  and s a l v i f i c  Friday  agony.  of s p i r i t u a l  E a s t e r event  The  crucifix  e x p r e s s i o n , that the  exists  only  i s not o n l y  through the  emblematic  C a t h o l i c i d e n t i t y ; i t a l s o emphasizes that the s u f f e r i n g  of  Christ  a l l i e s one most i n t i m a t e l y with God, not a t a p o i n t o f g r e a t e s t strength but o f weakness: The  crucifix  captures, human  i s , indeed, a s i g n of c o n t r a d i c t i o n . I t  we  profess,  being  greatest  who  the most  ever  triumph,  lived  perfectly  fulfilled  a t the moment through  conquering  his  of h i s impotence  (O'Malley 1 0 2 ) . Herein l i e s the c e n t r a l paradox of C h r i s t i a n experience, as Pope John  Paul  II recently  observed  i n his encyclical  Salvifici  Doloriss  Those  who  share  their  eyes  i n Christ's  the Paschal  Resurrection,  i n which  sufferings  Mystery Christ  phase, t o the u l t i m a t e l i m i t s impotence: at  the  of  have  before  the Cross  descends,  in a  and first  of human weakness and  indeed, he d i e s n a i l e d t o the Cross. But i f same  time  in  accomplished h i s l i f t i n g  up,  this  there  weakness  is  confirmed by the power o f  the R e s u r r e c t i o n , then t h i s means t h a t the weaknesses of  a l l human s u f f e r i n g s  with  the same  Cross.  power  are capable o f being i n f u s e d  o f God manifested  In such a concept,  particularly  t o suffer  means t o become  particularly  susceptible,  88  i n Christ's  open  to  the  working  of  humanity desire  the  salvific  powers  i n Christ.  of  In Him God  to act especially  God,  offered  to  has confirmed h i s  through s u f f e r i n g ,  which i s  man's weakness and emptying of s e l f , and he wishes t o make h i s power known p r e c i s e l y  i n t h i s weakness and  emptying o f s e l f (46-7). Suffering From  not only  the C a t h o l i c  has meaning point  but i s a means of redemption.  o f view t h i s  applies  t o a l l humanity  which shares i n the d i v i n e nature by p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n ...the  greatness  of  the  Redemption,  accomplished  through the s u f f e r i n g of C h r i s t . The Redeemer s u f f e r e d in  p l a c e of man and f o r man. Every man has his  share  in  the  Redemption.  share  in  that  suffering  was  accomplished.  suffering been  In  to  the  i s called  bringing Christ  level  his suffering,  to  of  about has  share  the  also  can a l s o  that  has a l s o Redemption human  Thus each man,  become a sharer (Salvifici  Doloris  i s not a s o l i t a r y experience i n C a t h o l i c  i s one l e f t on one's own t o f i n d j u s t i c e i n t a k i n g eye,  in  raised  Redemption.  redemptive s u f f e r i n g of C h r i s t Suffering  to  through which the Redemption  He  suffering,  suffering  in  called  through which a l l human s u f f e r i n g  redeemed.  through  Each one i s a l s o  own  i n the 39).  theology. Nor an eye f o r an  a tooth f o r a t o o t h . To be i d e n t i f i e d with and share i n the  suffering mystical  of others body.  i s to suffer  Spiritually,  with  Christ  incorporated  89  into  himself  in  the Body  his of  C h r i s t , C a t h o l i c s and non-Catholics a l i k e , such as Joe Grant as w e l l as h i s wife and daughter, share c o l l e c t i v e l y  i n a l l human  suffering: In t h i s  Body, C h r i s t wishes  individual, those who  and  in a  t o be  special  way  u n i t e d with every he  s u f f e r . . . . I n so f a r as man  in Christ's s u f f e r i n g s — i n  i s united  becomes a sharer  any p a r t o f the world  at any time i n h i s t o r y — t o that extent he way  the  completes  accomplished  the  Redemption, remains  always  through  Redemption  open  to  of  through all  Redemption  which  has  in  his  which  the  and own  Christ  world....the  satisfactory expressed  love  In t h i s d i m e n s i o n — t h e  suffering.  the  suffering  accomplished  with  love,  in  human  dimension of  love—  already  been  completely  accomplished i s , i n a c e r t a i n sense, c o n s t a n t l y being accomplished  In t h i s  distinctively  (Salvifici  Doloris  Catholic  view,  49-50).  suffering  humanity  shares  i n t i m a t e l y at a l l times, i n a l l p l a c e s , and with a l l persons i n the  suffering  divine  justice.  provides Grant  of  the  Christ  who  was  This c o n v i c t i o n ,  informing impetus  at the end  been s p i r i t u a l l y  prompted  by  love  to  satisfy  not a t a l l unknown t o  Buell,  t o the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n  of  Joe  of the n o v e l . At the same time t h a t  Joe  has  and  morally ravaged,  the means of  redemption  has a l s o been a v a i l a b l e t o him, o n l y t o be f u l l y r e a l i z e d i n the new  found  love  he  finds  i n the  "human r e a l i t i e s "  which  Ellen  Shefford and her family represent. What B u e l l wants us t o see i s  90  that  redeeming  love  i s the other  side  of revenge.  All  the  f a m i l i a l love t h a t Joe had formerly known with Sue and Patty, a love which i s at the b a s i s of those wants t o recapture,  "human r e a l i t i e s " which he  i s r e p l i c a t e d on the farm i n the household  of E l l e n Shefford. In t h i s l i e s Joe's s a l v a t i o n as a human being and,  i f one wishes t o view t h i s from a C a t h o l i c p e r s p e c t i v e , h i s  victory  over  suffering.  The s u f f e r i n g o f C h r i s t  remains the  model f o r B u e l l , showing ... i n an undeniably suffering,  dramatic way how t o face unmerited  an example o f d i g n i t y , t r u s t ,  and l o v e —  even i n the face o f d e s p a i r . He endured H i s passion simply t o show us that's  the  way  things  Suffering  are.  is  i n e v i t a b l e i n human life....What Calvary i s saying  is  that  soul  there  other  challenges  i s no way t o enrichment o f t h e human than  through  surmounting  unwelcome  (O'Malley 118).  Joe Grant may not be c o n s c i o u s l y aware of h i s way o f the Cross that  has brought  him t o new  Nevertheless,  the  transformation  derives  life  analogue from  on E l l e n  Shefford's  Joe's  deliverance  to a  Catholic  view  of  s u f f e r i n g , t h i s being a p a r t of C a t h o l i c experience brings  to his fiction  giving  a  meaningful  t o provide spiritual  of  and  redemptive which B u e l l  a philosophical  frame  farm.  reference  foundation t o the  narrative. The  Catholic  spirituality  which  permeates  and  fortifies  B u e l l ' s f i c t i o n i s f u r t h e r enhanced by the i n c o r p o r a t i o n w i t h i n  91  the t e x t turn, behind an  of c o n s i s t e n t patterns o f e v o c a t i v e images which, i n  owe  much  of their  form  t o the C a t h o l i c  B u e l l ' s w r i t i n g . Joe Grant's  effective  resolution  to  the  consciousness  n a r r a t i v e quest consequent  i s to find  suffering  he  experiences a f t e r the l o s s of h i s f a m i l y t o the ravaging b i k e r s . To t h i s end the remembrance o f the night o f the highway ambush motivates h i s ensuing a c t i o n s a r i s i n g out o f h i s g r i e f and p a i n : The white bodies under h i s f l a s h l i g h t , the d i s c o v e r e d horror,  untouchable  by p o l i c e  o r law, a l l t h i s  was  c e n t r a l , e v e r y t h i n g d e r i v e d from i t , h i s f e e l i n g s , h i s actions,  the d e s i r e — p e r h a p s  impossible—to  set i t  r i g h t . I t a l l came together i n him, and o n l y him. I t was p a r t o f h i s person.  So much l i v i n g  reality,  so  much good had been destroyed, he had t o keep something of  i t i n e x i s t e n c e , i n himself, he couldn't  s l i p , unfought However,  Joe's  f o r , i n t o a f i n a l nothingness  determination  to rectify  a wrong  let  i t  (SE 156).  i n order t o  preserve something o f l o s t goodness i s s u b v e r t e d — o r , on a moral plane, perverted—when  he w i l l f u l l y  decides t o k i l l  himself. This misdirected exercise of h i s w i l l  the b i k e r s  t o seek revenge  f o r the deaths of h i s w i f e and daughter by k i l l i n g t h e i r is  tantamount  explicitly implicit  to a  fall  from  c h a r a c t e r i z e Joe's  sense  o f Joe's  grace.  malaise  killer  While  Buell  i n spiritual  response  t o the e v i l  killers  does not terms, the which has  beset him i s t h a t he i s very much s p i r i t u a l l y a t r i s k . L i k e any Catholic  who  obdurately  perseveres  92  i n a state  of  unrepentant  mortal  s i n , Joe's  implacable  obsessive  to  be  revenged  renders  contrary,  Joe  in  life  can  find  i s forever l o s t (and  t o redemption. On  u l t i m a t e l y does f i n d )  of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n when he  Indeed, while  planning  becomes responsive  t o ambush the  killers,  during the weeks during h i s i n c a r c e r a t i o n and  as w e l l  his later  most o f t e n from  outside h i s consciousness,  t h a t h i s commitment t o  vengeance  i s wrong, even  as  personal  justification  for  subtlety,  Buell infuses  his  in effect  of  among  enrich  the  spiritual  Chief  imaginative dimension  of  a l l the  his  recall  these effect  are of  reality  while  actions.  t e x t with  stratagems t h a t do reality.  he  to  around as  escape  beyond the Shrewdale e x i t , Joe i s i n t e r m i t t e n t l y a f f e c t e d by moral sense, emanating from w i t h i n and  the  regeneration  the operation of d i v i n e grace i n himself and i n the world him.  him  t o the operation of s a n c t i f y i n g grace. T h i s does not  mean, however, t h a t Joe  a new  will  the  sources  death-dealing  rationalizes  a  With  considerable  seemingly  non-religious  a p a r t i c u l a r C a t h o l i c view Buell's the  which  "presences"  fiction has  an  by  which  evoking  effect  upon  a the  moral d i s p o s i t i o n of Joe Grant. The Communion of S a i n t s as a s i n g u l a r l y C a t h o l i c concept of spiritual  life  postulates  the  unity  c r e a t i o n both p h y s i c a l and metaphysical. pious  communio  sanctorum—the  holy o n e s — B u e l l  and  interaction  of a l l  From t h i s venerable  i n t e r a c t i o n of holy t h i n g s and  develops the notion of bonding between Joe  the presence of Sue  and of and  and P a t t y . Immediately a f t e r t h e i r murders,  Joe looks with a sense of u n r e a l i t y upon the s i t e of the ambush  93  where a s t a t e trooper r e d i r e c t s the a r r i v i n g p o l i c e  "away from  the marked-off space as i f i t were sacred and not t o be without murder  privilege site  spiritual and  Sue  as  a  sanctuary  domain but represent  not  only  23).  T h i s image of  suggests  that  i t a l s o i m p l i e s t h a t the  a  sacrificial  conceive of Patty and Sue assuming one  (SE  or p u r i f i c a t i o n "  entered  this  is a  deaths of  Patty  o b l a t i o n . Therefore,  one  as t a k i n g on a s p i r i t u a l nature  wants t o take the suggested  the  can even,  image of a holy p l a c e  t o an imaginative c o n c l u s i o n , with the p o s s i b i l i t y of possessing a  spiritual  power  or  influence  that  can  be  e f f e c t i n g the redemption of a s p i r i t u a l l y and and battered Joe The ordinary this  site  man  beside  spiritual  the  highway  when Joe  revisits  upon t h i s  rather ordinary  a  secular  looks at the earthen spot seeing there, and i t was  afternoon sunshine road and region  Doyle's  of  himself,  a  [Patty  and  [mortuary],  always (SE  late-  and c o u n t r y s i d e and t r a f f i c on  desire Sue]  embracing were  he knew, but  than anywhere e l s e . Presence, him,  a l l there was:  something l i k e the echo of a prayer  what. They  the  but  an  f o l l o w i n g the murders, i t again has  effect  [ j ] u s t what was  As  p h y s i c a l l y broken  of the murders i s t o a l l outward appearances  l o c a t i o n on the day  who  in  Grant.  embankment  compelling  efficacious  at  a  he  the  i n some knew  place  not  called  they were here more  memory, l o v e , a p a r t of  62).  image of the death scene as  94  a sanctuary  is  transformed  i n t o t h a t of a s h r i n e , Joe concludes  h i s v i s i t t o t h i s one  i n the world with a s a c r a l meaning which engages him in  "something  himself."  like  This  the  i s the  presence of Patty and He  walked  echo  place  of  a  prayer  where he  in  spiritually  some  could  be  as  i f he  place  region  closest  to  of the  Sue: a l l over  the  area  had  to  bring  presence t o i t and slowly went back t o the c a r and sat in  it  with  the  door  open  looking  at  nothing  in  p a r t i c u l a r (SE 62). This same sense of Patty and realities  i n his l i f e  makes h i s one  Sue  as  l i v i n g and  abiding  becomes more i n t e n s e l y focused  last v i s i t  t o the f a m i l y home two  present  when  Joe  days a f t e r  the  murders: They were there i n every way move he  except a c t u a l l y . At  could hear them, at every  t u r n he  every  could  see  them, reminders at t h i s elbow, presences j u s t over h i s shoulder,  the  involving  fullness  undone, behind  haunting  i t could (SE  patterns  of  only  family be  of  that to  left  the  brain,  could be,  never  left  the be  i n part  84).  While Joe's sense of "presences j u s t over h i s shoulder" might be thought  to  imagination,  be  only  Buell  a  manifestation  later  provides  these presences a t a c r i t i c a l  of a  a  heightened  spiritual  time f o r Joe  dimension  near the end  novel when h i s c o n t i n u i n g w i l l t o be avenged must be within  the  context  of  other  95  spiritual  romantic  and  of  for the  considered  psychological  v a r i a b l e s which have become meaningful t o him s i n c e t a k i n g the turnoff  a t the Shrewsdale  exit.  Ellen  Shefford  family engender a r e b i r t h o f love and shared  and her young  f a m i l i a l t i e s which  has  the e f f e c t  o f r e s t o r i n g a sense o f f a m i l y values  t h a t Joe  had  known with Sue and P a t t y . While l a b o r i n g i n the f i e l d s , the  r e a l i t y of the s a n c t i f y i n g presence of Sue and Patty, imaged as accessible  patron  saints,  becomes  apparent  to  Joe,  thereby  enabling the love t h a t he knew with them t o be f u l f i l l e d anew i n E l l e n Shefford and her f a m i l y : .. .he allowed  himself  t o t h i n k unguardedly and dwell  on t h i n g s freely....He was alone i n the open....And he dwelled  on Sue and Patty,  them, and t o them, pain undiminished, were present, sort  and spoke out loud  factually,  without  about  breaking, h i s  but somewhat a t peace, f o r they too  a p a r t o f him always, and they  of benediction  t o the p l a c e  though a l l he d i d was  where  were a  he was,  f o r them. And i n a way  as  i t was  t r u e (SE 255). The  e f f i c a c y of the grace e f f e c t e d i n a moment of any " s o r t of  b e n e d i c t i o n " foreshadows s p i r i t u a l d e l i v e r a n c e i n a B u e l l novel. E l i z a b e t h Lucy i n The Pyx  i s sustained by such an i n f u s i o n of  grace when, even unbeknown t o her, the p r i e s t with whom she had been meeting " r a i s e d h i s hand i n b e n e d i c t i o n a f t e r her as though blessing Within  the n i g h t "  (122).  This  ritual  hours E l i z a b e t h i s transformed  through her h e r o i c  a c t i o n i s not wasted.  from a s i n n e r t o a s a i n t  a c t i o n i n safeguarding  96  the Body of C h r i s t .  For Joe Grant, the quest f o r a j u s t r e s o l u t i o n t o the murders of his  wife  and  experienced  daughter  is  fulfilled  shortly  i n a moment of heightened  benediction"  which  has  put  him  after  devotion t h e i r  "somewhat  at  he  has  "sort  of  peace"  consequently newly disposed t o r e p l a c e h i s i n t e n t i o n of the b i k e r s by beginning a new  life  and  killing  with E l l e n S h e f f o r d and  her  family. A  further  operating  appeal  just  enhancement  as  of  to  a  romantic  effectively  the  as  fiction,  a  sensibility, paradigm  finds  for  expression  yet  one  spiritual  in  Buell"s  d e p i c t i o n of nature. The d i f f e r e n c e between the country and  the  city  the  is  classically  difference  between  seething  with  a  redeemed  from  the  represented  good  and  pervasive evils  Montreal o n l y a f t e r he has the  in The  evil. evil.  that  Buell's  In  encompass  left  i s an  Four  urban  young  Days  him  as  i n the  novel Tom  slums  is of  the c i t y and begins walking i n  countryside towards V a l Laurent.  B u e l l d e s c r i b e s Tom  Pyx  fiction  In one  incidental  scene,  l e a v i n g the highway and mounting a roadside  h i l l where amid the "strange n o i s e s " of a b i r d , the movement of branches, and the sound of bees [h]is  attention  caught  expanded  more d i s t a n t  with  sounds  the  f a r and  scenery  and  away....A  he  small  breeze nudged the hot leaves....He  watched the clouds  puffing  horizon; l i t t l e  themselves  lazily  on  the  l i t t l e h i s surroundings l o s t t h e i r i n i t i a l but  not  enough  to  leave  97  him  at  the  by  strangeness  mercy  of  his  thoughts, and he found himself l e s s u n w i l l i n g t o stay and prolong a p r e c a r i o u s moment of peace (FD  92).  This i n t e r l u d e wherein nature i s an instrument of peace t y p i f i e s the s p i r i t u a l l y e n l i v e n i n g r o l e of nature i n B u e l l ' s f i c t i o n , function  that  i s indicative  of  "the  sacramental  dimension  a of  C a t h o l i c i s m , the impulse t h a t sees a l l c r e a t i o n as a p o t e n t i a l revelation  of  God"  20).  (Allen  Tom's t u r n i n g  aside  from  the  highway and f i n d i n g a "precarious moment of peace" a t the top of a  small  spiritual fast  hill  a  direction  lanes  enveloped  is  of by  highway  rural  of  i n The  found  the a  microcosm  the  narrative  Shrewsdale  behind  him,  environment,  Exit. Joe  where  pattern  and  Leaving  the  Grant  he  becomes  seeks  refuge  d i s t a n t l y removed from urban i n f l u e n c e s . Having escaped from the regimentation  of  mind  experiences i n a new  and  body  in  the  state  prison,  he  found country area what i s tantamount t o a  conversion experience and c e r t a i n l y a new  l i f e of p o s i t i v e moral  purpose. B u e l l s i g n a l s that a new the  first  morning  after  he  life has  experience i s ahead f o r Joe  taken  the  Shrewsdale  exit  to  d r i v e Townley M i l l e r t o h i s farm. Evoking a sense of a r i t e of passage,  Buell's  narrative  depicts  Joe  i n the  early  morning  l i g h t "which i n t e n s i f i e d the greenery" making h i s way ...past the barn l o o k i n g at the u n f o l d i n g scenery. A fenced-off  cow  trail  l e d downhill and  timber bridge over a n o i s y brook. was  chewed-down  pasture  98  land  On  stopped  at  the other  spotted  with  a  side  animal  l e a v i n g s and tough bushes, i t s d i s t a n t  r i d g e s looked  as smooth as a g o l f course. I n e x p l i c a b l y i t made him remember the c i t y  with  f e a r . But he kept  looking at  the f r e s h h i l l s and he p e r c e i v e d them as they were, no cars o r f l a g p o l e s o r people, j u s t warming l i g h t on the greenness In  o f the c o u n t r y s i d e ( SE 228).  t h i s b u c o l i c s e t t i n g , suffused with greenness,  hope  begins  with  an  yesterday's blemishes  ablution,  washing  away,  a l i f e o f new as  i t were,  i n p r e p a r a t i o n f o r a new day i n a f r e s h  environment: On impulse  he k n e l t  hands. Morning  down and drank  sun and c l e a r  water  from  h i s cupped  and c o l d  on h i s  face, s h i r t wet, knees h u r t i n g on the rock, he was no place , he knew, and y e t i t was not a l i e n . reached sheer  w i t h i n him, something  welcome. A  forgetfulness....he stripped  Something moment of  t o t h e waist and  washed and soaked h i s face and went through a smarting r o u t i n e o f shaving an unsoftened  beard by feel....He  r i n s e d and s p l a s h e d . . . . I t was a l l s i l l y . And good (SE 228). This c l e a n s i n g experience i n the midst o f "the warming l i g h t o f the greenness  of the countryside," evoking the grace o f baptism,  does not s i g n a l i n s t a n t conversion from the hatred and revenge which compensates f o r h i s s u f f e r i n g , not  instrumental  While  redemption  i n perpetuating i n Buell's  j u s t as baptism  a life  fiction  99  itself i s  of continued  might  virtue.  be d r a m a t i c a l l y  r e a l i z e d i n a p a r t i c u l a r moment o r through a s i g n i f i c a n t event, it  i s preceded  incrementally mediated Buell  a l l creation.  tends  Consequently,  t o develop  gradually,  c h a r a c t e r t o be a f f e c t e d  places around  i n which  one becomes  responsive t o the o p e r a t i o n o f grace  through  novel  central  by a process o f renewal  him. The l i v i n g  which i s  the a c t i o n  thereby  and i n f l u e n c e d  in a  allowing  a  by people and  nature that Joe d i s c o v e r s beyond  the Shrewdale e x i t i s i t s e l f a p a r t i c u l a r i n f l u e n c e , h e a l i n g and gradually  assuaging  those  growth and development Still  defects  o f c h a r a c t e r which  inhibit  i n the highest and best m o r a l i t y .  determined t o exact h i s own j u s t i c e upon the b i k e r s ,  Joe i n i t i a l l y views  "the c o u n t r y s i d e from another aspect. I t was  l i k e being on v a c a t i o n , t h e i d l e n e s s , the scenery... (SE 234). For  Joe, the landscape  reality:  remains  environment  "For him i t was only an i l l u s i o n ,  Rather,  that  lacks  s t r o n g enough t o be  (SE 234). Nature i s not dead and  enjoyable, and i t soon passed" distant.  an  i t i s , as B u e l l  repeatedly mentions,  "alive"  (SE  238) i n the " l i v i n g  be"  (SE 274). I t i s not long, however, before he r e a l i z e s while  working  fields"  (SE 255) where i t was "good t o  on Charles F r a s e r ' s farm t h a t  those, l i k e  o l d Charles  himself, who are c l o s e t o nature as they work and contend with i t s l i f e - g i v i n g and p r o d u c t i v e presence are a l s o formed by i t : The  outdoors  wasn't  merely  b l i s t e r i n g work. I t was a l i v e ,  scenery,  i t  meant  i t changed d a i l y , and  i t grew constantly...and would grow w i l d i n one season i f l e f t untouched. But t h e o l d man tended i t , and made  100  it  tame, as i t had him,  and  (SE  i t d e l i v e r e d f o r him  239). As i f t o expunge whatever demons are w i t h i n , Joe devotes himself to  long days of l a b o r i o u s work, d r i v e n by h i s work i n the f i e l d s  seemingly t o f i g h t s u f f e r i n g with s u f f e r i n g . The nature  reciprocal  experience  increasingly  affects  of  Joe  taming as  his  and  being  exhausting  tamed work  by and  closeness t o the land tempers h i s outlook and draws him t o E l l e n S h e f f o r d . In the e a r l y morning, as he approaches he begins t o see,  i n a Wordsworthian sense,  Ellen's  farm,  i n t o the heart of  things: The roads weren't yet dusty and the c l e a r a i r l e t him see  the  surrounding  hills,  he  watched  them  as  he  drove. They were always an u n f o l d i n g d i s c o v e r y , they had l o s t t h e i r v a c a t i o n look and he regarded them with hard-earned What  nature  regularity  induces  that  he  respect (SE i n Joe's  had  lost  250).  life  is a  degree  of  when he decided t o be  order a law  and unto  himself with a l l of the d i s r u p t i o n t h a t had ensued i n the chase, the t r i a l ,  imprisonment  and i n h i s u n s e t t l e d l i f e as an  c o n v i c t . I t i s not necessary, B u e l l  escaped  i n d i c a t e s , t o contend  with  nature but t o harmonize one's engagement with i t t o accord with its  b e n e f i t s and demands. The taming  process f o r Joe,  developed  during the time spent working on the farms, r e c a l l s at l e a s t  one  other p r i n c i p l e d e r i v e d from Wordsworth's pantheism:  Let  be  experience  your  teacher.  Joe  i s no  p a n t h e i s t but  101  he  does  Nature  nature as  a mediator of moral development. What Joe  experiences,  then, i s a "sense of inner being  him i n the l a s t weeks" (SE chiefly  269).  i n conforming t o the  confronted  eventually  t h a t had  come t o  For Joe Grant t h i s means growth  c a r d i n a l v i r t u e of  f o r t i t u d e when  by s u f f e r i n g .  Near the  end  of  Buell's  n a r r a t i v e , Joe  meets momentarily  with h i s former f a t h e r - i n - l a w at a r e s t area alongside the highway. Returning once again the  Shrewdale e x i t  habitat,  Joe  which  the  experiences  the  pervasive  t o the s p i r i t At  last  he  be  effect  enlivened  got  started Once  and  into  drove  and  of  Joe's  and  i s not  he becomes  the  hurriedly  countryside  to  readiness,  the felt him,  There were messages from 272). be  effected  Rather,  at  the  the  vitality  his  soul  of  where  simply  appropriate  nature w i l l "messages"  be can  being. of  the  benediction Ellen  in  he  going t o  realization.  internalized  influence  of  soul  conscious  spiritual  special  fortitude  as  f r e e r , time and place once more w i t h i n  i n f l u e n c e h i s moral The  the  e a s i e r and  his  absorbed  that  exit.  t h i s , but he wasn't l i s t e n i n g (SE  moment of  natural  Shrewsdale  Restoration  off  within:  as i f h i s s o u l were h i s own.  through  surroundings  From the n a r r a t o r ' s p o i n t of view,  promptings from Joe' s soul w i l l  responsive  natural  have i n c r e a s i n g l y become h i s  environment has had upon him. the  to  state  messages  from nature,  of  and  Shefford  Sue who  102  bears  Patty, her  the the  losses  presences exemplary with  quiet  dignity  and  enables  forbearance,  Joe t o look forward  effectively sought  and  to  upon  Joe  destroy.  to  the  mediation  t o a new  save  Indeed,  him at  life:  end  Sparrs  evil  of  which  the  to  embark  upon  the  a n t i c i p a t e s when she  transformation  first  meets Joe  which  a f t e r he  he  novel,  develops a p o s i t i v e r e s o l u t i o n t o Joe's moral c r i s i s , him  which  each of these works  from the  the  of  Buell  enabling  Claire  has  had  Miller  a r r i v e d with  her husband Townley at the M i l l e r farm near the Shrewsdale e x i t : "Towny t e l l s me your wife d i e d . " "Yes,  she d i d . "  "That's too  bad.  time f o r a new That  new  life,  You're young though, got  life"(SE  however, w i l l  be  radically  "I  from  the  different has  lived  wife's death. Having a r r i v e d a t the M i l l e r farm, Joe  o u t s i d e i n Townley's t r u c k overnight and, for  of  230).  lone wolf renegade f u g i t i v e existence t h a t Joe his  plenty  the day  while  still  That's  no  everybody" (SE 229), escaping  c o n v i c t the  a i n ' t you  anybody" t o which she  attitude. Livin'  heard" (SE  is  sleeps  having readied himself  outside next morning, he t e l l s  d i d n ' t want t o bother  since  bothering  Claire:  observes:"A-ah!  somebody,  generally  a t r u i s m which r e i t e r a t e s the remark of the previous 216)?  night t h a t  In Joe's new  "A  life,  loner i s a he w i l l  loser,  indeed  be  a s s i s t e d by Sparrs i n t o r e a l i z i n g t h a t he cannot d e l i v e r himself from the  moral quagmire e f f e c t e d by  bikers.  Joe  Sparrs'  help  i s not just  as  going  t o be  he w i l l  his intention to k i l l  h i s own  need E l l e n  103  s a v i o u r . He  will  Shefford t o b r i n g  the need him  i n t o a l i f e of new found "human r e a l i t i e s . " Throughout the novel,  however, B u e l l e l i c i t s  empathy f o r a l o n e r who i s very  considerable  much a l o s e r . Indeed, were i t  not t h a t Joe Grant only experiences h i s reformation lines  of the novel,  protagonist the loss  one might  otherwise  expect  i n the l a s t that  Buell's  i s somehow j u s t i f i e d i n becoming a law unto himself:  killers  who remain a t l a r g e  of h i s family  are p a t h o l o g i c a l  i s devastating,  s a d i s t s , the  and the l e g a l  system i s  i n e f f e c t u a l . While Joe must endure the innuendo o f the coroner i m p l i c a t i n g him i n the deaths o f Sue and Patty as w e l l as submit to  h i s lawyer's  attack  upon  themselves Victimized law  recommendation  h i s attackers,  that  he plead  the b i k e r s  i n the psychotic  guilty  to his  remain  free,  of  job w e l l  pleasure  a  indulging  by the r e s t r a i n t and seeming permissiveness  as w e l l  reconstitute  as by the pain the elements  of h i s l o s s  of h i s l i f e ,  done. of the  and the n e c e s s i t y t o Joe's  grief  evokes  a  sympathetic reader response which B u e l l maintains throughout the n a r r a t i v e . T h i s empathetic i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Joe's s u f f e r i n g — we can f e e l h i s pain—seems acceptable to  the c u l t u r a l  mores  of  and j u s t i f i a b l e  our time.  What  according  Buell's  artistry  accomplishes i n t h i s n a r r a t i v e i s t h e alignment of the reader's sympathy with the smouldering angst of the p r o t a g o n i s t  i n this  revenge drama so t h a t the reader may a l s o v i c a r i o u s l y experience the i n t e n s i t y o f what conventional  wisdom, found i n t h e a r t and  s o c i a l r e a l i t y of popular s e c u l a r c u l t u r e , i n s i s t s way  to  act. Reflecting  this  104  widely  held  i s the r i g h t  opinion,  one  contemporary  journalist  observes  at  the  beginning  of  his  interpretive report: L i k e m i l l i o n s of parents, any  man  after  I have always known t h i s : I f  d e l i b e r a t e l y hurt  him.  I'd  get  him  any  of my  eventually.  c h i l d r e n , I'd And  I'd  hurt  go him  badly. I don't know whether I would act c o l d l y or i n a rage but  i t would be  much planning Hell,  c l e a r afterward  and  that  so t h a t he couldn't  of the  f e a r of me,  j u s t as  is  attitude populist  and  not  Joe's  his  voice,  personal  journalist,  he  i t is  sense will  of be  I was  coming  have a s i n g l e moment f r e e I would never be  the anguish he had caused (Province this  i t with  premeditation.  I would announce beforehand t h a t  f o r him  If  I did  an  f r e e of  A14). approximation  moral  outrage.  satisfied.  of  his  Like  the  Violence  exacerbate h i s hurt. However, as the development and  will  conclusion  of B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e shows, such an approach t o the presence of evil  i s s e l f - d e f e a t i n g . When Joe's  moral  sensibility  i s more  p o s i t i v e l y a f f e c t e d a f t e r he takes the Shrewdale e x i t i n t o a l i f e , he as w e l l as the reader who arrive  at  Christ  that  a  new the  understanding evil  that  has i d e n t i f i e d with him  exemplified  i s s u f f e r i n g can  in  the  lead  passion  to  a  new both of  greater  good. Buell's  protagonists  are  not only by t h e i r p h y s i c a l but  ultimately  be  affected  a l s o by t h e i r s p i r i t u a l  natures.  105  shown t o  More  than  simply  experiencing  personal  and  development, the l i v e s of B u e l l ' s characters  psychological  have meaning t o  the  extent t h a t they are s p i r i t u a l l y r e v i t a l i z e d by the i n c u r s i o n of grace,  sometimes  mediated  through l o v e . This exist  in  Catholic  the or  spiritual  spiritual  fiction even  sacramentally, presence or  because  Buell's  demonstrably  paradigm w i t h i n  sometimes  the  i n t e r v e n t i o n does characters  r e l i g i o u s . Rather, novel,  activated  are it  not  always forms  analogously extending  a the  sense of the f i c t i o n by means of s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t i e s p e c u l i a r t o C a t h o l i c d o c t r i n e , theology, or c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n . As such, the C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l i t y i n a B u e l l novel i s not merely a c o n t r i v e d or  superficial  character  overlay  but  development and  exists  as  an  integral  r e l a t i o n s h i p between the  character's  actions  which are  Lucy,  B u e l l had  occasioned by  whose  unanticipated the  shown i n The  life  was  heroic  Pyx,  blighted  evil,  she  killing  of  satisfaction fulfilled  prompted Ritch,  confess  pattern  to  experiences  before c o n t i n u i n g  l o v e . Joe  a narrative  to  his  was  attained impelled  the  the  sudden to  priest grace  t r a g i c quest  his  of  and  safeguard  as w e l l , the  kid-  defensive  penitential  for a  development from b u f f e t i n g t o  106  spiritual  Elizabeth  Grant's c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s i m i l a r l y of  in a  p r a c t i c e . In h i s e a r l i e s t f o r example, how  by  s a n c t i t y as  internal  sacramental Body of C h r i s t . In Four Days  called-Tom,  symbiotic  e x t e r n a l i z a t i o n expressed  promptings found i n C a t h o l i c f a i t h and novels,  of  u l t i m a t e l y determines the moral sense  of the novel i t s e l f . C e n t r a l t o any B u e l l novel i s the causal  part  life  of  reflects blessing.  The  turmoil  o f Joe's post  traumatic  dysfunction  has  destroyed  him much  more than i t has l e d t o the d e s t r u c t i o n of the b i k e r s  whom  seeks  he  to  kill.  What  Buell  establishes  in  Joe's  c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n as an obsessed renegade f u g i t i v e i s t h a t he i s as  much  a v i c t i m of the b i k e r s '  daughter.  His r e n u n c i a t i o n  bikers w i l l , him  as were  h i s wife  and  o f h i s determination  to k i l l  the  as the c o n c l u s i o n  t o recover  some p a r t  evil  t o the novel  i n d i c a t e s , enable  o f what he had l o s t  t o the b i k e r s .  Insofar as Joe "somehow...had managed not t o choose f o r death" (SE  279),  he has achieved  new l i f e i n which, having  gained  some  i n s i g h t i n t o human s u f f e r i n g , he w i l l cease t o be v i c t i m i z e d by the  bikers'  gratuitous  evil  as  he  forsakes  death  dealing  vengeance f o r the love and f u l f i l l m e n t t o be found i n the "human realities"  o f E l l e n Shefford and her f a m i l y .  In order t o convey the d i f f e r i n g a t t i t u d e s o f Joe Grant and Detective  Sparrs  as  they  confront  the  unconscionable  evil  wrought by the b i k e r s upon Joe's f a m i l y , B u e l l juxtaposes intuitive,  affective  response  to  the  violence  Joe's as  a  c o u n t e r v a i l i n g balance t o Sparrs' more reasoned d e t a i l i n g o f the case  which  principles  will  establish  of j u s t i c e .  legal  culpability  From the outset,  predicated  Joe focuses  on  upon the  b i k e r s themselves as p e r p e t r a t o r s o f an a r b i t r a r y e v i l which has deprived  him o f the love and s t a b i l i t y  immediately  and  retributive  justice  the  subjectively, against  murders. The f a c t  that  o f a f a m i l y . Joe r e a c t s  directing  his  demand  for  the b i k e r s who are r e s p o n s i b l e f o r they  107  have no charges  laid  against  them and that  they are f r e e  from  any a c c o u n t a b i l i t y  for their  a c t i o n s o n l y exacerbates Joe's sense o f moral outrage. He wants j u s t i c e , he wants i t immediately, to  a  course  of revenge  which  and t h e r e f o r e commits himself he b e l i e v e s  will  r e c t i f y the  imbalance he has experienced o f the power o f e v i l over good. For Joe,  justice  can best  perpetrators of e v i l  be  served  by t h e e l i m i n a t i o n  o f the  i n order t o e r a d i c a t e the presence of e v i l  itself. Of course Joe i s not alone i n h i s quest f o r j u s t i c e . Sparrs is  equally  their but  concerned  evil  the b i k e r s  i n confronting this  t o i t are r a d i c a l l y  reaction.  be held  a c t i o n s which they have unleashed  h i s strategy  response  that  responsible  for  i n the community  evil  and h i s ensuing  from  Joe's  different  Sparrs' outlook, by the nature  subjective  of h i s p o s i t i o n , i s  determined by h i s r o l e as an o f f i c e r o f the law. He needs f a c t s and evidence which w i l l o b j e c t i v e l y d e f i n e t h e e v i l a s s a u l t t h a t has taken p l a c e . His i s a long range p l a n f o r c o n f r o n t i n g e v i l , making  i t requisite  that  any a c t i o n  i n opposition  gauged  i n relation  t o the a u t h o r i t y  to evil  be  o f the law. For Joe,  a u t h o r i t y r e s t s w i t h i n t h e i n d i v i d u a l , thus j u s t i f y i n g p e r s o n a l r e t a l i a t o r y revenge without being h e l d accountable t o any moral code other than h i s own. Consequently, he i s f r u s t r a t e d by l e g a l strategies, was  " f e e l i n g that  o u t s i d e the law" (SE  somehow t h e human c o u l d n ' t count, i t 151). Although  Joe Grant  has been  suddenly and savagely engulfed by t h e ravaging presence of e v i l , Sparrs' everyday  e x i s t e n c e i s pervaded  108  by e v i l ,  even extending  to  the  precincts  remembers,  used  to  of  his  local  police  be  the  "safest  station,  place  i n the  which  world,  he some  people t h i n k . " In f a c t , Sparrs t e l l s Joe, " I t never was...not i n t h i s country" (SE 93). The ever present r e a l i t y of e v i l which i s commonplace f o r Sparrs life  of l e s s  Only  after  happy  than  i s f a r removed  h i s encounter  with  f a m i l y v a c a t i o n does  traumatic  universe, if  not  revelation  to  Sparrs counsels  forsake,  perpetrators  of  recourse t o the  119)  sense  119), Joe.  secure  t h a t Joe  the  on  enjoyed.  anticipating  new  reality  In  confronting  forbearance, urging Joe  simply  had  casual  of  a "a  long f a m i l i a r t o Sparrs but  h i s determination evil  "the  the b i k e r s while  Joe  vaguely h o s t i l e universe" (SE a  (SE  a week ago"  from  this to  hostile restrain,  t o p e r s o n a l l y confront a  human  level  and  the  without  law:  "I shouldn't be t e l l i n g you t h i s , " s a i d Sparrs."Why not l e t i t r e s t ? " "No.  I t happened. I want the whole p i c t u r e . "  "Why  bother? There's no p o i n t t o i t . "  "Leave i t behind, Joe. Go back t o your job." "I'm  on v a c a t i o n . "  Sparrs sighed and more t o say (SE The  s a t back as i f there was  nothing  95).  i r r e c o n c i l a b l e d i f f e r e n c e i n p r i n c i p l e s and outlook between  Joe and Captain Sparrs becomes the n a r r a t i v e crux from which Joe will  pursue h i s human response  b i k e r s whose e v i l presence  t o c o n f r o n t and  v i c t i m i z e s him  109  e l i m i n a t e those  j u s t as i t v i c t i m i z e d  his  wife and daughter.  from  a moral  good w i l l  Sparrs meanwhile regards the present  p e r s p e c t i v e p r e d i c a t e d on  the  evil  expectation  that  p r e v a i l a f t e r the ever present r e a l i t y of e v i l , which  confronts both himself as w e l l as Joe, s e l f - d e s t r u c t s of i t s own accord.  This  strategy  of  forbearance,  as  Buell  develops i t ,  u l t i m a t e l y proves t o be the r i g h t course of a c t i o n . As  a  significant stance  foil  to  Joe  Grant,  figure  i n the  novel  i n relation  t o the  presence  doubt t h a t Joe' s determination midst through ill  Sparrs  is  exemplifying  a  particularly  a positive  of e v i l .  I f there  t o e r a d i c a t e the  evil  moral is  any  in their  an act of r e t r i b u t i v e revenge i s wrong headed  and  advised, l e t alone morally r e p r e h e n s i b l e , Sparrs provides a  c o u n t e r v a i l i n g balance by upholding p r i n c i p l e s of j u s t i c e and  by  working w i t h i n the l e g a l system. At the same time, there i s an ambivalence  i n Sparrs' approach. While he  law,  he a l s o understands  the  why  Joe  plan  undertakes  Nevertheless, course  his  Sparrs  of conduct:  cannot condone them. He working 101).  on  i t , and  Working  recognizing immediate  the  and  action  against  waiting  retribution,  define  a  find  principled  just  We  he  keep  work"  (SE  However,  in  satisfaction  in  police  approach  i n the world t h a t Sparrs advocates  a challenge t o one's f i r m purpose of commitment t o  110  bikers.  a c t i o n s but  endurance. to  of  knows  to a  Joe:"You never can t e l l .  proclivity such  the  a commitment  waiting, that's basic to  human  containment of e v i l  of  sympathize with Joe's  tells  rule  f r a i l t y of human nature. He  himself maintains  he can  upholds the  the  to  the  presents highest  and  best  m o r a l i t y . As  detailed like  a  the  his investigation man  between  trying  to  maintaining  sympathizing  with  narrator explains i n t o the  keep order  a  (SE  due  101).  process  Joe's moral f r u s t r a t i o n  This  of  Sparrs  and  were p r o f e s s i o n a l s , o f f the  record  they  "On  as w e l l  nature of the  the  were  spoke  humanly  i s reflected  h i s f e l l o w agents:  has  tension  while  i n the n a r r a t o r ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the ambivalent conduct  Sparrs  b i k e r s ' a c t i o n s : "He  faith"  and  after  record  they (SE  themselves"  151). More  than  signifies  a  just  a  presence  character  i n the  foil  novel  of  to a  Joe  Grant,  Sparrs  steadfastness  arising  from a s o l i d moral foundation. His values are not only the best but a l s o , as the end of the novel i n d i c a t e s , the most e f f e c t i v e . Sparrs'  visit  manner of  to  Joe  a deus  ex  on  E l l e n ' s farm, a l b e i t i s the  machina,  proximate cause of  redemption. While Joe's r e s t o r a t i o n has new  found  exit,  reality  the  of persons and  controlling  impetus  been prepared  places  in  somewhat i n  his  right  his plan to k i l l  the  t o be  bikers.  climactic  encounter with  d e t a i l s how violence Sparrs'  vision  narrative: e v i l  meaning not  but  up  Joe,  Sparrs  the b i k e r s ' e v i l has redounded upon them, t h e i r  being  ultimately  last  Shrewsdale the  continues  his  the  means of  throughout  the  their  own  prevail.  The  moral  defeat.  trajectory  i s self-destructive;  only i n reference t o the  111  of  justice  efficacy  a  to  moment of Sparrs' v i s i t , In  Joe's  f o r by  beyond the  life,  the  of  This  his and  his  has  role  in  goodness conviction  demise of the  bikers  own been the will has but  also  f o r the  destiny  of  Joe  Grant  who  is  immediately  rehabilitated: Joe watched him as he went down the s l o p e . Diminishing f i g u r e , dust, the s e t t l i n g of i t , and nothing, as i f he  had not come. But e v e r y t h i n g was  different  (SE  278). In making " e v e r y t h i n g — d i f f e r e n t " f o r Joe, Sparrs maintains the i n t e g r i t y o f h i s p r i n c i p l e s while a t t h e same time strategy  which  has subverted  revenge.  L o n g - s u f f e r i n g but v i g i l a n t  long term proved  efficacious;  the p r i n c i p a l  following a  reason  forbearance  f o r Joe's  has over the  j u s t i c e has been served; and t h e  death-dealing b i k e r s have become v i c t i m s of t h e i r own v i o l e n c e . Being  solely  confronting attributes  responsible f o r t h i s evil,  of justice  w i t h i n t h e context novel  would abrogate  represents  a  conflation  and mercy. He upholds  justice,  consistently  right  he works  i n h i s approach t o  Yet on a human l e v e l he understands  the moral as w e l l as c i v i l  but he i s understanding  why Joe  law i n h i s v i o l e n t  f o r vengeance. Sparrs' outlook may r e f l e c t  justice  of several  o f the law, and, as the c o n c l u s i o n o f the  r e v e a l s , he was  forestalling evil.  quest  Sparrs  r e s o l u t i o n o f the problem o f  the i d e a l s o f  and compassionate enough on a  human l e v e l t o know t h a t a good cause such as the love o f one's family may a l s o serve a bad end such as death-dealing If Rather, Joe's  Joe forsakes Sparrs, Sparrs  revenge.  does not give up on him.  he continues working on the case a g a i n s t t h e b i k e r s t o eventual  advantage.  In h i s f i n a l  112  meeting  with  Joe he  v i n d i c a t e s the way i n which he has d e a l t with the e v i l which has affected  their  freedom  At the same  f o r Joe which  readiness future  lives.  for killing"  "human  will  enable  time,  with the p o s s i b i l i t y  realities"  one who f a c i l i t a t e s  which w i l l  Sparrs  a new l i f e  can e n v i s i o n  him t o r e p l a c e  "another  those  kind o f  Effective i n his role  f o r the f u g i t i v e  Joe Grant,  takes on a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l dimension i n c o r p o r a t i n g  compassion  and  moral  rectitude.  a  "the c o l d  of r e a l i z i n g  require  s t r u g g l e t o keep them e x i s t i n g " (SE 279). as  he  Buell's  colleague,  both  Gilbert  D r o l e t , once mentioned t o him that the policemen i n h i s novels were  "very  so....you  sympathetic, seem  to  very  stress  understanding,  the  compassion  been t r a n s f e r r e d i n t o the character as much the p r i e s t  these  people"  who loves  the sinner  his adversity  of Sparrs  which  represents  as the policeman, e f f e c t i v e i n h i s r o l e as  acts o f revenge, Sparrs in  of  too much  65). C e r t a i n l y a good p a r t o f t h i s a f f e c t i o n has  (Conversation  one  perhaps  but hates the s i n . Dismayed by Joe's  remains c o n s i s t e n t l y s o l i c i t o u s f o r Joe  as he s t r u g g l e s  morally  and p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y  with the sudden and unexpected i n c u r s i o n o f e v i l i n t o h i s l i f e . Sparrs'  i n s i g h t i n t o the nature o f moral d e b i l i t y takes on the  q u a l i t y o f mercy i n the c l o s i n g moments of h i s o f f the record v i s i t t o Joe a t E l l e n Shefford's Joe,  i s a real  farm. Forgiveness,  p r o b a b i l i t y i f Joe w i l l  avail  himself  means t o a t t a i n i t . The wheels o f j u s t i c e may g r i n d slowly but i t i s only because Sparrs for  j u s t i c e that  tells o f the  exceedingly  has persevered i n h i s quest  Joe can a n t i c i p a t e a future  113  Sparrs  i n which so much  goodness t h a t has From being  a  been  lost  p r i s o n e r and  can  be  r e s t o r e d i f not  fugitive,  Joe  can  look  regained. forward  to  freedom; what he has l o s t t o the e v i l which has deprived him of Sue  and  Patty he  can  hope t o r e g a i n i n the  goodness of  Ellen  Shefford, H e n r i e t t a and her b r o t h e r s ; i n p l a c e of the c o r r o s i v e angst  of  revenge,  themselves Sparrs'  become  role  can  be  victims  ensures  p r e v a i l . While for  he  of  that  assured the  such  that  the  they  bore  evil  justice  and  to  have  others.  goodness  will  he epitomizes a l l t h a t i s best i n one who  justice,  he  persuasiveness  and  also  represents  a  position  I n d i c a t i o n s of adherence t o  religion  minor  are  of of  seeks  of  moral  l e a d e r s h i p o f f s e t t i n g a l l manner of v i c e  upholding v i r t u e .  institution  bikers  law,  significance  order,  and  in  justice  by  institutionalized  the  novel,  which  but  Sparrs  the  serves  evokes a sense of personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and a c c o u n t a b i l i t y i n its  s e c u l a r context  analogously  approximating  the  role  of  the  s p i r i t u a l mission of the Church i t s e l f . Both e x i s t as corporate e n t i t i e s , the one upholding the laws of man, of God; and  each i s empowered by the e x e r c i s e of j u s t i c e and mercy;  both work t o ensure  evil.  As  the other the laws  the instrument  t h a t u l t i m a t e l y good w i l l p r e v a i l of Joe's  over  redemption,  Sparrs himself i s  the compassionate y e t p r i n c i p l e d mediator who  bears a compelling  message t o Joe of the prospects f o r forgiveness with the ensuing promise of new  life.  Set against a world  d e p r i v a t i o n occasioned by e v i l , himself,  had  urged  Joe  Grant  still  s u b j e c t t o the  Sparrs, i n the manner of C h r i s t to  114  conform  to  virtue  and  avoid  vice.  While  Joe  falls  from  grace,  forgiveness  and  become a c c e s s i b l e t o him only through the mediation  redemption  of Sparrs.  Having created a moral c r i s i s i n the n a r r a t i v e by s e t t i n g a misguided Joe Grant i n o p p o s i t i o n t o the perpetrators the  reader  of  unconscionable  imaginatively  a g a i n s t e v i l . I f The adhering  to  vengeful  act  i n the  Shrewsdale  standard and  evil,  of  Joe's  struggle  were simply another f i c t i o n  Exit  of  murderous  the  B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e engages  experience  conventions  the  law as w e l l as t o  the  intent  thriller  genre,  epitomized  in  the  Joe' s  a c t i o n s might s a t i s f y a t a s t e f o r mere sensation. However, while exploiting moral  the  end  sensation  of  vengeance,  i n view towards which  throughout  the  he  leads  compelling  Joe  Grant. Having been s y m p a t h e t i c a l l y  fictional  of  the  but  nevertheless  Joe's  moral  protagonist  morally  dislocation,  himself,  should  an  the  who  t o the  as  with  actions  of  apparent  reader,  realize,  has  himself  misdirected partial  implicit  reader  narrative imaginatively i d e n t i f i e d  the  justice  B u e l l has  like  Sparrs  the does,  t h a t the p o s s i b i l i t y e x i s t s f o r the conversion of anyone who well  disposed,  realization,  matter how  grievous  the  fault.  Through  this  B u e l l ' s novel, as Rosengarten has observed, works  ...at and  no  is  the  level  suspense.  of moral f a b l e as w e l l as  The  author's  of a c t i o n  intention i s to  take  beyond the e x t e r n a l manifestations  of v i o l e n c e t o  effects  ordinary,  of  such v i o l e n c e upon an  member of s o c i e t y who he wishes t o  us the  "decent"  becomes t a i n t e d by the very e v i l  destroy....(94)  115  It  had been Joe's  would  mitigate  c o n v i c t i o n that an a c t o f personal vengeance  suffering  and t h a t  a l l he needed  t o do t o be  s a t i s f i e d according t o h i s own sense o f j u s t i c e would be t o k i l l the k i l l e r s . However, i n the l a s t Joe  has been assured  by Sparrs  few words o f the novel  t h a t the s u r v i v i n g  after  b i k e r s are  under s u r v e i l l a n c e and t h a t there i s a strong p o s s i b i l i t y Joe w i l l  be exculpated,  B u e l l presents  an e x p l i c i t l y  response  t o the conventional need t o f i n d  that  different  satisfaction  through  revenge. Here, Joe r e f l e c t s upon the v a c u i t y of h i s l i f e  since  the b i k e r s ' onslaught on the highway. H i s d e s i r e f o r revenge has been s e l f - d e f e a t i n g , r e s u l t i n g i n h i s own v i c t i m i z a t i o n . Joe has been  imprisoned  not  only  i n t e r n a l l y by h i s misguided kind  of j u s t i c e .  He  e r a d i c a t e the e v i l  externally  by  the  obsessive compulsion  i s aware  that  may e v e n t u a l l y defeat  body  as i t has already  him as w e l l ,  done  in spirit.  f a m i l i a l love which he seemingly  but  also  t o seek h i s own  h i s vengeful  t h a t has adversely a f f e c t e d  life  law  attempts t o  so much o f h i s  assuredly Restored  as much i n t o the same  l o s t with Patty and Sue on the  highway and which a t the end of the novel i s r e a c t i v a t e d through his her  engagement w i t h i n the surrogate f a m i l y o f E l l e n S h e f f o r d and three  young  children,  Joe  forsakes  his  dehumanizing  determination t o seek out and k i l l the b i k e r s : G r i e f and danger and f l i g h t were over as t h i n g s past, the  grief  still for  never t o go f u l l y ,  and the s t r a i n ,  present, had l o s t i t s r o o t s . The c o l d  though  readiness  k i l l i n g was being r e p l a c e d by human r e a l i t i e s , and  116  by  another  kind  of  e x i s t i n g . . . .Somehow he  struggle  had  to  keep  them  managed not t o choose f o r  death (SE 278-9). As t h i s r e s o l u t i o n at the end of the novel i n d i c a t e s , made  the  justice  wrong to  decision  satisfy  the  in  his  suffering  attempt and  to  loss  a f t e r the b i k e r s had k i l l e d Patty and Sue. c l e a r , i s a morally bankrupt a moral c o r r e c t i v e fulfilling  exists  response,  of  Joe  seek  retributive  had  experienced  he  Revenge, B u e l l makes  the c o r o l l a r y being t h a t  a more ennobling  nature. Such a moral touchstone  and  spiritually  against which  Joe's  deviant d e c i s i o n and consequent a c t i o n s can be measured forms an i n t e g r a l p a r t of a C a t h o l i c p e r c e p t i o n of the s p i r i t u a l meaning of  human  suffering.  It  is  by  drawing  upon  this  Catholic  consciousness of the r o l e of s u f f e r i n g i n human l i f e t h a t B u e l l can p o r t r a y a Joe Grant who again that  i n those had  i s saved from himself t o share once  "human r e a l i t i e s "  been destroyed by  of  shared  suffering  and  love  the b i k e r s . The  assurance  given  by  Captain Sparrs a t the c o n c l u s i o n of the novel t h a t the c o u r t s will  prosecute  the  surviving  bikers for their  Joe himself w i l l most probably be exonerated s o c i a l redemption. to  experience  the  last  the  apparent  crimes  promises  and  that  legal  P r i o r t o t h i s , however, Joe had already begun  "the sense of i n n e r being t h a t had come t o him i n  weeks"  (SE  269)  realization  and that  i t i s this life  not  interior death,  restoration,  love  not  hate,  l i v i n g f o r others and not t o o n e s e l f , t h a t produces the new who,  and  i n the l a s t  l i n e of the novel, with the determination  117  man to  r e v e a l t o E l l e n Shefford the "discovery of who he was" has  regained  that  hope  f o r the f u t u r e  that  v i o l e n c e one dark night beside the highway.  118  had been  (SE 279), lost in  Playground  S u r v i v a l i s not the only game i n Playground. an end, plane  Spence Morison's determined w i l l t o l i v e a f t e r h i s f l o a t  had  crash landed  initially  sustains  rescue  his  by  prepare  for  paradise"  has  a  then,  him  in  vacation  his  that  will  had  of  holiday  rescued  attempt  and  everything  appears  towards  he  futile.  in  this  he  his  has  The  done  crisis  he  station,  initiates  in  i n Morison's  a  Salvation,  faces  assist  to  survive i n  deliverance.  to  area  "sportsman's  might  is lost,  Quebec  anticipated  i n t o the  unless  i s what Morison r e a l l y needs. He  death,  an  catchment area of a rescue  being  work  of  preceded  However, while  o u t s i d e the hope  lake i n northern  expectation  fishing  14).  (Playground  little  strategy  i n a wilderness  f r i e n d s whom he  the wilderness he  As a means t o  imminent  any  life  rescue requires  more than s u r v i v a l i n order t o e f f e c t a r e s o l u t i o n , the crash of his  plane  into  epitomizing  the  the  wind  swept  disintegration  p r i n c i p l e s and p r a c t i c e s which had his  in  of  a  mid-life  woodland of  given meaning and  long  lake held  purpose t o  life: The  plane  more.  It  had  carried  summarized  his  his  though  i t were h i s very  i n the  status,  a l l his  plans,  (Plgd  Lost  depths  the  immediate  resources capacity self.  And  and  to  be  needs skills  and and  and  do,  as  i n a way  it  was  45).  Quebec wilderness,  Morison must be  119  saved not  only  from a paradise l o s t but a l s o from h i m s e l f . As  a stereotype  determined  sense  o f the o r g a n i z a t i o n man,  of purpose.  An  event  or  Morison  activity  has a  has had  meaning f o r him only according t o i t s e f f e c t i v e n e s s i n a t t a i n i n g a predetermined  end. For example, while d r i v i n g  collar traffic"  t o Quebec C i t y ,  on  a business  trip  he would  i n the "white-  he t h i n k s t h a t " [ i ] f he'd been  have  stayed  i n the t r a f f i c , o r ,  having p u l l e d out, would have wanted t o get back i n . But now [on vacation]  he was  regarding  something he shouldn't  i t as  have been i n a t a l l "  now perceives as a depersonalized him  feel  something  "uncomfortable,  t o get out o f , 8-9). What he  (Plgd  "stampede o f horsepower" makes  i t was sudden and new, so i t seemed,  and there was something wrong. I once l i k e d t h i s . Whatever made me  think  culture  that  I liked  i t ? " (Plgd  p r e d i c a t e d on e f f i c i e n c y ,  principle  that  He  t o run h i s l i f e ,  tried  9). A  Morison  true  believer i n a  i s committed  t o the  " [ t ] h i n g s are done c o n s c i o u s l y and e f f i c i e n t l y . life,  that  way"  7 ) . He i s  (Plgd  e q u a l l y i n s i s t e n t on the e f f i c i e n t use of time "as i f time were a t h i n g and had an i d e a l use" (Plgd 10). While d r i v i n g t o the north country, for  he opted out o f h i s prearranged  driving  schedule  about two hours and "chose t o see the s i g h t s o f Quebec C i t y .  It  was a small p r i v a t e , s u b j e c t i v e r e b e l l i o n , nothing  a  mild  assertion  insignificant  of  freedom,  willfulness  s h u f f l i n g o f plans, h i s own plans  10). But the w i l l f u l nonconformity desired  a  i t , does not s a t i s f y : "he  120  dramatic,  perhaps, at that"  an (Plgd  o f the c i t y t o u r , much as he thought of i t as having  lost  time, d e l i b e r a t e l y , and by c h o i c e , yes, but l o s t . . . " The  same sense  professional  of  obligation  career  as  an  to  satisfy  engineer  a  commitment  undermines  10).  (Plgd  to his  what  would  otherwise be a r e s t f u l stopover f o r a night i n S t . F e l i c i e n : "It  didn't  read  feel  reports,  lunch.... He  right  or go was  not having t o phone somebody, or t o a meeting,  or  see  i n a vacuum of unoccupied  people  time....  r e g r e t t e d stopping. And having stopped on the way. had  been  no  reason  for  i t , no  purpose.  There didn't  accomplish anything, he hadn't r e a l l y enjoyed i t ,  and i t  Morison  i s aware t h a t  avoiding  avoid  He  It  l e f t him i n a motel with nothing t o do"  getting  over  this. up  and  i s any  h i s own  "scheduling had  Avoiding what?—he going out"  (Plgd  ducked 11-2).  conscious r e a l i z a t i o n  from  been the  a way  of  inquiry  by  What Morison  that  b e t t e r p a r t of h i s human values beneath  11).  (Plgd  he  has  seeks  suppressed  to the  an acquired, r i g o r o u s l y  d i s c i p l i n e d and ordered persona of the market p l a c e . L e f t t o h i s own  i n c l i n a t i o n s , such a s  overnight bored, used  stay  guilt-ridden  without  achieving Morison  in a  the  any  a non-scheduled  motel,  Morison  t o u r or an  becomes  unplanned  dissatisfied  and  a t the l o s s of time which c o u l d have been  alteration  objective  i s no hollow man.  or  deviation  realization  of  i n more  his  goals  effectively and  plans.  However, he i s a t a juncture i n h i s  l i f e where h i s i n t u i t i v e self-knowledge of what i t means t o be unabashedly  human and not a technocrat i s beginning t o subvert  the order and e f f i c i e n c y of a very r e g u l a t e d e x i s t e n c e .  121  What  Morison  seeks  to  avoid  in  his  commitment  to  c o n t r o l l i n g demands of time and p l a c e i s what he w i l l e v e n t u a l l y r e a l i z e more f u l l y through h i s o r d e a l i n the Quebec w i l d e r n e s s : the primacy of the s u b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of h i s i n n e r l i f e , not the o b j e c t i v e c u l t u r a l facade of power and c o n t r o l . Even before h i s flight  i n t o the wilderness, Morison  i s conscious of a c u l t u r a l  detachment which i s o l a t e s him from o t h e r s . The c e n t r a l i r o n y o f his  l i f e i s t h a t he knows that another and b e t t e r r e a l i t y  exists  but t h a t i t i s the one goal t h a t he i s incapable of a t t a i n i n g . Having  arrived  i n Chibougamau, he i s r e c e i v e d with  accustomed  deference by the guide and outdoorsman Henri T ^ t r a u l t : He had t r i e d t o get Henri t o c a l l him Spence, but the r e l a t i o n s h i p stayed a t Henri-and-Mister-Morison. were  i n different  bridgeable merely way of l i f e  worlds,  as  they  by an i n t e r e s t  was Morison's  both  They  knew, not  i n fishing.  Henri's  r e c r e a t i o n , one man's work  was the other man's s p o r t , a pastime that took as much c a p i t a l as a small business. No resentment,  j u s t the  d i f f e r e n c e . And Henri had no way of knowing how much Morison  admired  these men (Plgd In  Henri, Morison admires  perceive  behind  himself cannot  Morison's  the  enterprise  and  achievement  of  15). the " r e a l person" t h a t H e n r i f a i l s t o cultural  demeanor,  i d e n t i f y with any f a m i l i a r i t y  just  as  Morison  the " r e a l  person"  i n any of the business executives with whom he works: He c o u l d d r i n k with them, they a l l drank, but with  122  their  social  faces  play,  using  their  getting always  on, always i n work r o l e s even a t p e r s o n a l i t i e s as  and keeping alert  genuiness  goodness, the r e a l  in  p o s i t i o n o r a u t h o r i t y o r power,  f o r advantage,  the way  instruments  people  constantly  once  simulating  had t o f e i g n  persons submerged perhaps  moral  forever  under a way o f l i f e t h a t d i c t a t e d e v e r y t h i n g they d i d , as r i g i d as an ancient p r i e s t l y caste (Plgd In the company of h i s executive his  17).  a s s o c i a t e s , Morison  recognizes  own dilemma: he would be a " r e a l person" l i k e Henri T ^ t r a u l t  but h i s own s o c i a l pretense, inhibits  the attainment  hypocrisy  i n others  fulfillment  l i k e t h a t of h i s f e l l o w executives,  of t h i s  as  well  reality. as  i n himself  of t h e u n r e a l i z e d d e s i r e  responsiveness  Pretense  and s o c i a l  precludes  f o r a new l i f e  the  o f human  and engagement which would r e p l a c e the a r t i f i c e  of s o c i a l p o s t u r i n g . Such  a hope o f a t t a i n i n g an a l t e r n a t e r e a l i t y  Morison's t h i n k i n g as he prepares his  f o r a l a t e evening  dominates meal a f t e r  a r r i v a l i n Chibougamau: He  ordered  the steak  dinner  and two d r a f t  beers,  something he wouldn't do i n Montreal,  a t l e a s t not i n  a working man's t a v e r n . . . . He sipped  then drank from  one  of the glasses,  placed  i t on the t a b l e with  a  d e f i n i t e a i r of contentment... and t o l d himself t h a t he was here i n r e a l country But  at last....yeah, t h i s i s i t .  h i s mind wouldn't l e t go, i t seemed t o i n s i s t on  123  t h i n g s . He f e l t  i t forming  a query, a doubt, what i s  t h i s i t ? — a s o r t o f gentle pressure if  d e s i r e stood  frozen  frame  briefly  i n an  still  already  from r e a l i t y , as  and could familiar  be seen, a  replay...  He  looked around again t o r e a f f i r m h i s contentment. Yes, he s a i d t o himself with emphatically c l e a r meaning, I want t h i s (Plgd Morison can c l e a r l y  16-7).  envisage  the hidden r e a l i t y o f h i s d e s i r e .  From w i t h i n h i s t e c h n o l o g i c a l l y c o n d i t i o n e d is  "the frozen  frame i n an already  consciousness  familiar  this  r e p l a y . " What he  needs i s d e l i v e r a n c e from the same t e c h n o c r a t i c a r t i f i c e of h i s present l i f e , a moribund and d e s e n s i t i z e d r e a l t y o f pretense and s i m u l a t i o n . F a i l i n g t o achieve t h i s i n t e g r i t y i n h i s own person, he must s u f f e r inwardly  and i n s i l e n c e l i k e the o l d sweeper a t  the  Chibougamau tavern  his  way through each day: You  who a l s o endures, working  and d r i n k i n g  d r i n k too much, o l d man, maybe I should  t e l l you  t h a t , as i f you d i d n ' t know i t , maybe we c o u l d have a s e n s i b i l i t y s e s s i o n . Yeah, maybe. I t ' s a s o p h i s t i c a t e d way o f f a k i n g genuiness, you t e l l  the other  guy what  you r e a l l y t h i n k of him, always bad, and he t e l l s you, and the ensuing  hatred passes o f f as honesty. But the  guys i n t h i s room are simple, they'd and  i t ' d come t o f i s t s ,  swallowed and d i s t i l l e d If  I t o l d you anything,  124  spot the hatred,  not venom choked  back, and  i n t o a s p e c i a l kind o f s m i l e . o l d man, I'd t e l l  you t h a t I  l i k e you, I l i k e the way you s u f f e r , yes, s u f f e r , and yes,  like,  that's  something you don't  would be something good t o know (Plgd In t h e o l d sweeper Morison  know, and i t  18).  f i n d s t h e flawed but simple c h a r a c t e r  of a worker who s u f f e r s with q u i e t d i g n i t y , a foreshadowing t h a t grace  under pressure which Morison  i s l o s t i n the woods. To Morison, the  sweeper's  suffering,  experienced  scenario  of a s e n s i t i v i t y  deception  of  suffering  humanity.  that  one  such  is  by  there i s a human dimension i n  those  engaged  session.  popularized Real  loved  l a t e r emulates when he  not the hypocrisy  artifice  of  regardless  clinical  i n h i s extrapolated  I t i s not the c o n t r o l l e d  psychology  goodness  of the  derives of  that  i s good f o r  from  the knowledge  one's  helplessness  and  imperfection. The  o l d sweeper i s i r r e t r i e v a b l y and e x i s t e n t i a l l y l o s t i n  a c y c l e o f mindless work and an a l c o h o l i c stupor. In him Morison clearly  recognizes much o f himself f o r he, t o o , not only knows  the dehumanizing e f f e c t o f h i s own d a i l y s t r i v i n g f o r t e c h n i c a l e f f i c i e n c y but a l s o f i n d s a s o c i a l anodyne i n the case o f B e l l ' s Scotch  whiskey  which  was  t o be  h i s most  highly  prized  and  p r i v i l e g e d companionable possession on h i s v a c a t i o n but which i n fact  betrays  him by c o n t r i b u t i n g t o h i s very  literal  downfall  when he crashes the f l o a t plane he has rented i n t o the submerged rocks  of  a  wilderness  lake.  Given  h i s own  proclivity for  i n d u l g i n g himself i n heavy d r i n k i n g as w e l l as h i s s o c i a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l malaise,  there i s much i n h i s personal l i f e  125  from  which Spence Morison would be saved. Even a t home h i s domestic life to  i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a comfortable  depart  sleeps  f o r h i s holiday,  in a  different  domestic d e b r i s "  (Plgd  b a n a l i t y . As he prepares  he avoids  d i s t u r b i n g h i s wife  bed, proceeds  through  3) i n the living-room,  a v o i d i n g any of t h e "domestic barbed wire" restrict that  h i s scheduled  departure  h i s son Tom would  Tom's l a c k of i n t e r e s t :  "the  who  constant  and succeeds i n 6) t h a t might  (Plgd  from the house. He had hoped  accompany  him but r e s i g n s  himself t o  "There had been no q u a r r e l , j u s t h i s  e x p e c t a t i o n and h i s son's apparent i n d i f f e r e n c e , a s u b t l e p a i n . But  he was used t o i t , he thought"  context  of f a m i l i a l  Morison  f i n d s some d e l i v e r a n c e  5 ) . From w i t h i n t h e  (Plgd  " d e b r i s , " "barbed wire,"  and "subtle p a i n , "  i n h i s long-planned  dream of a  "playground" h o l i d a y . B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e motif takes i t s p a t t e r n from the progress towards rescue and d e l i v e r a n c e o f a s e c u l a r technocrat who a f t e r enduring human  a time of t r i a l comes t o know a r e a l i t y p r e d i c a t e d upon  needs  rather  than  upon  those  Morison's dream has been t o f u l f i l l his  summer v a c a t i o n  affluent  life  style  of concepts  himself, as l e a s t so f a r as  i s concerned, with can provide.  and systems.  a l l the goods t h a t an  The woodland  "playground" of  northern Quebec f o r e s t and lakes holds the promise o f indulgent recreational Morison's best rescue  after  initiates  pleasure. laid he  a course  However,  instead  of  certain  joy,  plans change d r a m a t i c a l l y i n t o a quest f o r  survives  the c r a s h  of action that  126  of  h i s plane.  he hopes w i l l  lead  He  then  to his  rescue p r i n c i p a l l y he  believes w i l l  by walking  be  the  seventy miles southwards t o what  search area. Despite t h i s ,  a l l of h i s  planning does not culminate i n h i s being rescued by the who  he b e l i e v e s are searching f o r him.  his  fortuitous  rescue  who  r e v i v e him  and  can  recuperate  i s effected  t r a n s p o r t him  before  by  At the p o i n t of  death,  a group of n a t i v e  people  to a forest  returning to  friends  outpost where  Montreal,  albeit  with  he a  r a d i c a l l y changed p e r c e p t i o n of r e a l i t y . Essentially,  the  p a t t e r n i n Playground  narrative  focuses  upon the inner l i f e  and conversion of an o r g a n i z a t i o n man.  desire  is  for  change  evident  throughout  Morison's  The  interior  dialogue as he r e f l e c t s upon an e a r l i e r r e a l i t y than t h a t which presently exists  f o r him.  A f t e r the crash of h i s plane, he i s  immersed i n the water of the t r i b u l a t i o n of h i s quest saved by those who Whether  which e n v i s i o n s the  with  Certainly  after  t o experience  the  f o r d e l i v e r a n c e which ends when he i s  not,  Buell  spiritual  a s e c u l a r man  efficiency,  rises  l i v e most i n t i m a t e l y i n harmony with nature.  c o n s c i o u s l y or  s a l v a t i o n . As  lake but  crash  structured a  analogue of a  of the world who  Spence Morison's the  has  he  life is  lost  s o u l seeking  manages h i s  i s largely  very  narrative  lost  a  life  pretense.  indeed,  both  p h y s i c a l l y and s p i r i t u a l l y . While he r i s e s from the water of the lake t o a new he  life,  hopes t o be  i t is a life  saved  as  he  lived  prepares  i n the wilderness where himself  for deliverance.  E v e n t u a l l y s a l v a t i o n comes t o Morison from a most unexpected compassionate source and i t i s only then t h a t he can  127  yet  articulate  to  h i s wife who  has come t o meet him some expression of what h i s  experience has meant: "It's  a  of...  good  I  t h i n g they  can't  quite  came.... There  say  it  yet.  were moments  I'm  still  t h e r e . . . . I've...come t o know...things. I'11 about i t when I'm  out  tell  you  ready. I f I ever can."  "What s o r t of t h i n g s ? " She sounded worried f o r him. "Not now.  Things  She looked a t him, knowing a depth, and d i d n ' t ask f o r a meaning....Reentry was  beginning (Plgd  246).  Within the context of the n a r r a t i v e , these u n i d e n t i f i e d "things" constitute  the  insights  death experience.  of  Morison's  As Bauer has  new  life  after  his  near  observed:  It  seems f a i r t o say...that some of those t h i n g s have  to  do with what has been reported t o us  play  of  mind  f o r a l l the  playground—that  the  chips  pithy  i n this  never  quite  been  and  value  derailed  wilderness  philosophic  u t t e r e d i n t e r n a l l y under the duress have a p p l i c a t i o n  tellingly—the  of p r i m a l danger  t o those from  insights  our  of  us  who  have  delusory  sure  routes and r o u t i n e s (78). On the n a r r a t i v e l e v e l , Morison live  i s rescued i n order t h a t he  again. More than t h a t , however, h i s wilderness  suggests a s p i r i t u a l transformation wherein to new  may  experience  he s y m b o l i c a l l y d i e s  himself and i s born again i n order t o r e a l i z e a more abundant life.  From t h i s  s p i r i t u a l p e r s p e c t i v e , the quest of Spence  128  Morison i s more than an adventure is  fortuitously  evoked  by  rescued.  Insofar  novel  embodies  the  characteristics  of  Morison's  assertion  resonates  in  profound  s t o r y of a l o s t technocrat  Catholic that  several  as  the  spiritual  many  of  the  justification  he  ways:  has Morison  to  analogue principal  and  "come  redemption,  know...things"  himself  experiences  a  change w i t h i n himself; h i s w i f e perceives the depth of  t h i s transformation but does not know what i t s i g n i f i e s ; responsive reader can d i s c e r n a s p i r i t u a l the  who  patterned  structure  of  the  analogy  narrative  and the  arising  which  from  suggests  a  transcendental meaning. A r i s i n g out of the n a r r a t i v e motif of a cleansing and  baptism  transforming  wilderness salvation after  quest  followed by salvation,  h i s rescue o f  things.  as  parallel  the  to Catholic any  well  Nevertheless,  throughout  the  approximates  intrinsic  consciousness  a p e r i o d of purgative  as  i n his  after  Spence  Morison  dimension newly  towards  be  i n his  unaware  heightened  insight  Morison's  into  progress  the n a r r a t i v e one senses t h a t whatever he has come t o efficacy  approximating  a  as  i t does  j u s t i f i c a t i o n , s u f f e r i n g , and  of a r e l i g i o u s  demonstrably  Catholic  to  which  a l l the  f e a t u r e s of  r e l a t e d . In general terms, j u s t i f i c a t i o n i s accepted by God  experience, pattern  of  redemption.  From a C a t h o l i c p e r s p e c t i v e , j u s t i f i c a t i o n  person  may  realized  observing  know i s comparable t o the  continuum  Morison's  fundamental progress  faith.  spiritual  of  suffering  a  life  is a of  spiritual faith  i s "the a c t by which a  or made worthy of s a l v a t i o n "  129  are  (Nevins  317).  More  specifically,  in  a  Catholic  s p i r i t u a l experience generated by in  baptism and  reactivated  r e c o n c i l i a t i o n . For in  baptism  by  the  means  context  it  f a i t h , sacramentally  throughout one's l i f e by  Catholic  of  the  believer,  fulfilled  sacramental  justification  s a n c t i f i e s the s o u l and makes i t holy and p l e a s i n g t o God.  After  perpetuated  works  of  i n two  virtue  and  grace of baptism, s a n c t i f i c a t i o n can  ways: through meritorious charity  and,  whenever  c o n t r i t e r e s t o r a t i o n by means of the Catholic  view of  the  s a l v a t i o n envisions of  growth  in  diminishing Nevertheless, freely  place  the  of  effect  the  available  required,  order  which  i n the  to  which  find  through  a  economy  of  s o u l by means  can  sanctifying  grace  in  sacrament of penance. This  justification  growth  of  divine in  engagement  s p i r i t u a l progress of the  perfection,  the  divine  begins which  be  of  the  grace  the r e c e p t i o n of the saving  infusion  is  be  grace  halted  through  by sin.  justifies  also  remains  restoration  to  holiness  w i t h i n the Church which i s the Body of C h r i s t . Implicit  in  this  process  s p i r i t u a l p e r f e c t i o n i s the mercy of  God.  Ultimately,  that  soul  may  the  perfection,  salvation  such  saints. fait  In the  accompli  simply,  salvation  Catholic  which  progress  to  presumption upon  the  i s attained  before  the  view, the  of assurance during  i t i s not  Catholic  pleasing  determined  that  a  absence of any  become wholly  spiritual  as  of  to  God.  death,  Church  The may  recognizes  s a l v a t i o n of  souls  trust  path  of  assure in  spiritual  a  its  i s not  one's l i f e t i m e on e a r t h .  a known c e r t a i n t y . Given the  130  i n the  a  Quite life  enlivened  by grace mediated sacramentally,  the C a t h o l i c b e l i e v e r  d e s i r e s s a l v a t i o n , a n t i c i p a t e s s a l v a t i o n , and is  justified  i n his  salvation,  achieved on h i s own  accord  God  a l l can  who  quest  wills for  that  spiritual  justification  and  a  has  deliverance  f a i t h that  which  be  saved. Such an  perfection  leading  to  salvation  is  the  the  p e r f e c t i o n and of  deliverance  Catholic  patterns  be  loss  recovery  and  spiritual  i n t o a new  faith;  of  foundation  of  it  to  of  a  than  in  enduring  century  shapes the  at  the  source  of that  motif of  Everyman  narrative  "come t o  in  the  in  and  a  gives  know...things"  novel.  stories  enriched  correspondences of  only  I t i s w i t h i n t h i s context  s i m i l i t u d e s , a l l analogies  symbolically  an  mid-twentieth  which both  This  growth  i s not  also  and  life.  baptism,  life  Spence Morison's having  at the end of the  where  or  leak. the  Nowhere i s t h i s literal  augmented  a p h i l o s o p h i c a l or  by i m p l i c a t i o n or evocative  by  spiritual  narrative more  more is  abstract  nature,  either  suggestion. A p o i n t by p o i n t analogy  would r e s u l t i n a l l e g o r y and Playground.  is  consciousness  seen i n f u s i n g h i s n a r r a t i v e with the  evocation  credibility  apparent  through  of c r e a t i v e expression.  B u e l l can  As  rebirth  Catholic  the  grace  the b a s i s of meaning i n C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l spiritual  the  upon  providing  core  informing  following  overview of  faith,  of  be  but only through the m e r c i f u l love of  Catholic  pattern  cannot  he  What i s perceived  t h a t i s not what B u e l l achieves i n i n the novel by the evocation  of a  s p i r i t u a l dimension analogous t o Spence Morison's experience i s  131  the  realization  that  his  quest  is  more  than  a  superficial  outdoors saga. The s t r u c t u r e of B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e enables  one  sense t h a t  have  significant  dimension  which  spirituality,  moments i n Morison's experience  evoke  at  especially  least those  certain  aspects  relating  to  of  to a  Catholic  progress  towards  s a l v a t i o n . At the outset, Morison*s entry i n t o h i s e x p e r i e n t i a l playground occurs  a f t e r a p e r i o d of s o u l searching. His l i f e  g e n e r a l l y b l i g h t e d by the l i e of pretense, masks  and  inhibits  relationship faith  with  the  truth  others.  i n a newer and  He  both  has  is  the f a l s e face which  about  himself  and  his  some l a t e n t expectation  better r e a l i t y ,  as  revealed  i n his  and inner  dialogue, but h i s thoughts have not been e x t e r n a l i z e d i n a c t i o n . His  lifestyle  i s predicated  mechanistic  efficiency  preparation  for  logistical familiar  his  operation  upon  a  which  gives  vacation  on  undertaken  urban comfort  and  resolute order Lac  with  stability  to  des a  commitment his  life,  Grises  view  to  to  a the  being  a  replicating  i n a wilderness  setting.  While he possesses the c a p a c i t y t o escape from t h i s p a t t e r n of predetermined r e g u l a r i t y as i n h i s s i d e t r i p around Quebec c i t y or  in  his  preordained for  digression flight  to  path,  view  Lake  Mistassini  his decisions result  from  either in  the guilt  having wasted time or i n a d i s a s t r o u s consequence. He knows  there  are  extract  alternatives to himself  horsepower pretense,  during  from his  be more openly  the  his  restrictive  dehumanized  working  day,  responsive  132  outlook: daily  forsake t o people,  the  he  would  stampede  of  artifice  of  r e g a i n the  love  that used t o e x i s t w i t h i n h i s f a m i l y , and r e l e a s e himself from the d i s c i p l i n e of a managed l i f e . at  nonconformity  possibilities life  indicate,  he  for fulfillment  As  his intermittent  i s prepared t o be in life.  At the  attempts  open t o other  juncture i n h i s  when he enters upon h i s annual v a c a t i o n , Spence Morison i s  disposed towards a change i n h i s l i f e ,  a conversion from the  way  t h i n g s are towards a realignment of thought and a c t i o n which i s comparable t o s p i r i t u a l As  he  Morison \s  pilots  renewal.  his  airplane  over  sense of personal freedom  the  Quebec  wilderness,  expands w i t h i n him  just  as  the v a s t area of the land below him becomes more expansive: He  felt  more  and  more  l e t out,  r e l e a s e d . He  sensed  that  feeling,  f o r an  instant  was  and  being r e l e a s e d  And the f e e l i n g was expanding  on  from.  i t was  almost  a slightly  almost  Free  dwelt  i s better.  a l l sides,  awareness (Plgd  negative  on what Free  he  then.  made more p o s i t i v e by the h o r i z o n a  thing  of  h i s own  r i d i n g the apex of a huge and growing and  completely  doing,  cone of v i s i o n  25).  He has confidence i n himself and t r u s t i n others, such as H e n r i T^trault with  his  and  the workers at Chibougamau who  flight  plans.  Aside  from  the  have a s s i s t e d  immediate  sense  him of  p s y c h o l o g i c a l openness and r e l e a s e , Morison has grown i n t o what i s tantamount t o a f a i t h experience. He i n c r e a s i n g l y b e l i e v e s i n other  people  including  the  o l d sweeper,  Benoit, as w e l l as Henri T ^ t r a u l t :  133  his  local  guide  " a l l of them good men"  Gus (Plgd  26). Moreover, he can a f f i r m a value system r a d i c a l l y from  that  spiritual  which  has informed  analogue  to this  so much o f h i s past  s t a t e of preparedness  i n t i m a t i o n o r grasp o f f a i t h which leads t o the  soul  t o undertake  sanctification develops,  the  counterpoint incrementally insight  quest  leading  to  story  and  one another taking  redemption.  As  the events  The  suggests  that  perfection  Buell's  i t s implied  with  life.  baptism and prompts  for spiritual  on g r e a t e r  towards t h a t  know...things"  a  different  narrative  religious  246). Unbeknown  to  life,  as he grows i n  t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i n which he w i l l  (Plgd  meaning  i n Morison's  significance  and  himself,  "come t o Morison's  experience i s e s s e n t i a l l y s p i r i t u a l . He i s d i s s a t i s f i e d with h i s past,  finds  increasing  satisfaction  i n h i s present,  and w i l l  undergo a wilderness experience t h a t w i l l enable him t o see i n t o the heart o f t h i n g s . By drawing upon the schema o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n which i s a t the core of C a t h o l i c consciousness, B u e l l the imaginative sense  o f the n a r r a t i v e t o i n c l u d e  and  spiritual  notably C a t h o l i c  insight  into  himself,  which i s i n t e n s i f i e d Following wilderness  upon t h i s  an  inner  rationale  a plausible  underlying  realignment  broadens  Morison's  o f consciousness  a f t e r h i s c r a s h i n t o the wilderness l a k e . symbolic  experience,  baptism,  Morison  a c h a l l e n g e of a type  enters upon h i s not unknown t o  Jesus himself a f t e r being l e d i n t o h i s wilderness a f t e r h i s own baptism. As a r i t e of i n i t i a t i o n , baptism generates new l i f e  i n the  s o u l . For Morison, from the moment he f l o a t s t o the shore of the  134  lake from the s i t e of the plane c r a s h , h i s l i f e w i l l never again be the same. Such an epochal event, l i t e r a l l y t o r i s e  from the  water of the lake i n order t o l i v e again, i s portrayed not as an end  in itself  point  but  a beginning. Just  of departure f o r growth and  sanctity,  so  Morison's  rising  as baptism  is a  Catholic  in  spiritual  of  a  perfectibility  from  the  waters  Quebec  wilderness l a k e becomes the f i r s t stage i n the l i f e of a new who  develops  insights  a  into  Catholicism, spiritual been  justified  soul  becomes  consciousness  himself  a  life  new  and  fundamental after  his tenet  baptism  through place  of  i n the  in  belief  philosophic  the holds  i s a pilgrimage of  through the i n c u r s i o n engaged  his  world.  In  that  the  faith.  Having  of grace a t baptism,  process  of  man  spiritual  the  perfection  throughout one's l i f e . This i s not a complacent time of s e c u r i t y in  the  absolute c e r t a i n t y  arising  from  imputed  justification  a s s u r i n g s a l v a t i o n . Rather, the path t o s p i r i t u a l p e r f e c t i o n i s beset by a l l the t r i a l s and t r i b u l a t i o n s of human l i f e which are manifestations condition,  a  of  the  theme that  suffering pervades  that a l l of  defines Buell's  the  human  fiction.  In  a d d i t i o n t o knowing t h a t type of s u f f e r i n g which Spence Morison had recognized e a r l i e r t h a t enables one  i n the o l d sweeper, s p i r i t u a l  t o "come t o know...things"  development  i s p r e d i c a t e d upon  keeping the f a i t h , d i s c e r n i n g the w i l l of God and endeavoring t o conform  to  i t . In  Buell's  narrative,  present t o Morison. However, by drawing of  God  i s not  manifestly  upon the C a t h o l i c  view  the process of redemption which i n v o l v e s s u f f e r i n g towards  135  a  greater  good,  Buell  suggests  a  spiritual  matrix  within  which  Spence Morison's o r d e a l can be understood. Ultimately, portrayal levels  of  of  his  Morison's  deliverance  wilderness  experience  associative  Morison's  isolation  incapable  of  Morison  being  responds  meaning.  in  the  the  by  a  survival  search  challenge  develops a plan whereby he can  be  hard  won,  r e g i s t e r i n g on  wilderness  rescued  to  The  is  of  several  story  relates  where  he  team.  Psychologically,  his  is  the  lost  environment  rescued. His only  and  as  he  comfort i s  the inner v o i c e of h i s a l t e r ego which serves as a r e a l i t y check on  his  thoughts,  behavioral the and  feelings,  and  actions.  i n s i g h t s i n t o Morison's adventure, the  left  naked  discovery  at  i s as  the  side  of  the  much f o r meaning  i n s o f a r as  what he  lake, as  been r a i s e d  to  a  new  to  structure  of  level  of  man  motif  which  the  can  comparison  with  in  the  survival  and  wilderness  is a  whose consciousness  perception.  means which  suggests  search  for  undergoes i n the  s u r v i v a l from being i n the lake which was must work out  his  i t is  s p i r i t u a l e x e r c i s e which produces a new  he  addition  n a r r a t i v e evokes a m y s t i c a l quest. A f t e r being washed c l e a n  wilderness  has  In  It  i s not  his  h i s s a l v a t i o n . Rather, lead  to  the  deliverance,  Catholic  a  process  l e a d i n g t o redemption. Baptism j u s t i f i e s but i n a d d i t i o n t o t h i s grace C a t h o l i c b e l i e f holds f i r m l y t o the c o n v i c t i o n that human action,  fides  attaining traces  the  not  formata  s a l v a t i o n . The analogous  sola  structure  Catholic  fides,  of  Buell's  perception  136  is  of  meritorious narrative, a  progress  in  then, from  faith  e n l i v e n e d conversion followed by the grace  o f baptism  through the ensuing human drama l e a d i n g t o s a l v a t i o n , with the t e n s i o n and c o n f l i c t s o f the drama i t s e l f  forming the p r i n c i p a l  p a r t o f the n o v e l . The wilderness experience i s the r e a l f o r the p l a y of l i f e action being  o f the p l a y exploited  i n which itself,  f o r human  Morison's penchant  the a c t o r i s d i s c i p l i n e d  a playground pleasure  ground by the  not o n l y capable of  but  also  one  in  which  f o r e f f i c i e n c y focuses h i s mind upon the most  e f f e c t i v e means by which d e l i v e r a n c e can be achieved. Throughout  the n a r r a t i v e , t h i s C a t h o l i c schema o f s a l v a t i o n  f u n c t i o n s e f f e c t i v e l y i n s o f a r as i t e x t r a p o l a t e s the s i g n i f i c a n t moments i n Morison's dimension. This  progress, i n f u s i n g  i s especially  them with a  important f o r the f i n a l  spiritual scenario  i n the wilderness a t the moment when Morison i s rescued by John Sweetgrass  and  physically  saving  imaginatively salvation  h i s companions,  from  certain  itself  not  through  through  but  also  T h i s conceptual  Morison's  the compassionate  not o n l y  death  suggesting an a c t o f s a l v a t i o n .  occurs  gratuitously  Morison  the rescue  own  action  means  but  o f one who i s  n a t i v e t o the r e g i o n where Morison l a y dying. By h i s own means Morison cannot  effect  the rescue which  T h i s depends upon the good w i l l  o f John  will  be h i s s a l v a t i o n .  Sweetgrass  just  as i n  C h r i s t i a n b e l i e f a saving a c t i o n i s always i n i t i a t e d by God. Such a n a r r a t i v e  action  of d e l i v e r a n c e ,  not by one's own  means but through the i n t e r v e n t i o n o f another, r e c a l l s a s i m i l a r event i n The  Shrewsdale  Exit  when Joe Grant  137  i s saved  from h i s  misguided  life  by the i n t e r v e n t i o n o f Captain Sparrs.  novels, the c l i m a c t i c moment o f d e l i v e r a n c e evokes tenet  of Christian  entirely  dependent  faith:  man cannot  save  upon another f o r that  an i n t e g r a l  himself,  one being  type o f rescue which  s i g n i f i e s s a l v a t i o n . In both The Shrewsdale Playground,  In both  as w e l l as i n  Exit  the p r o t a g o n i s t depends a t a c r i t i c a l moment a t the  very end o f t h e novel upon another person who i s t h e instrument of h i s d e l i v e r a n c e , a n a r r a t i v e technique t h a t apparently proves problematic reader  f o r some readers.  noted  perhaps raised  that  For example,  i n Playground  "[t]he  a concession..." (21). about  reviewer  the ending  for  satisfactory"  of  Publisher's  Similar  The Weekly  the Kirkus  fortuitous  Reviews  rescue i s  reservations  Shrewsdale  Exit  judged  "not  have  which  been the  altogether  (74) and which caused Roger Baker t o b e l i e v e t h a t  "the golden rays of hope with which the saga ends seem c o n t r i v e d and,  i n fact,  render  suspect  the h i t h e r t o  fairly  rigid  and  c o n s i s t e n t l y c r i t i c a l view o f s o c i e t y p r o j e c t e d " (102). However, the  analogous  Catholic  imaginatively  infuses  spirituality the  that  climactic  pervades narrative  l i b e r a t i o n and d e l i v e r a n c e w i t h a comparable salvation  which  enhances  and  enriches  both novels moment  of  s p i r i t u a l state of  the meaning  of t h e  n a r r a t i v e event i t s e l f . I f t h e d e l i v e r a n c e o f the p r o t a g o n i s t a t the end of each o f the novels was not enabled and accomplished through the m i n i s t r y o f a Captain Sparrs o r John Sweetgrass, the evocation o f s p i r i t u a l meaning would be confounded by a l a c k o f resolution.  In  Playground,  as  138  in  The  Shrewsdale  Exit,  the  suffering the  of  the  protagonist,  r e s p e c t i v e novels,  has  which comprises  meaning only  a large part  i f there  of  i s something  worth s u f f e r i n g f o r . Spence Morison's t r i a l i n the wilderness i s not an end i n i t s e l f . Rather, i t i s a p u r i f y i n g experience  which  leads not simply t o s u r v i v a l but t o h i s rescue and i t i s towards t h i s rescue, the  as g r a t u i t o u s as i t may  protagonist  strives.  Spence  be  i n the n a r r a t i v e , t h a t  Morison  is  v i c t i m i z e d by  i n d i f f e r e n t n a t u r a l environment i n Playground, loses  out  t o the  system i n The  j u s t as Joe Grant  seeming i n d i f f e r e n c e of  Shrewsdale  a bureaucratic  For each of these  Exit.  an  legal  protagonists,  however, the r e a l s t r u g g l e i n v o l v e s the r e s o l u t i o n of a c o n f l i c t between past misguided values  and  a t t i t u d e s and the prospect  l i b e r a t i o n and d e l i v e r a n c e i n a new For  Morison,  determination life  his  Everyman"  the  i n t o the man,  is  a  vindication  one  contingency  his  float  had  described,  resulted  i n his  fortyish whose  death  almost t o the  f o r which he was in  a  desolate  not prepared northern  Morison, the  his role  as  the  139  efficient  and  crashing  successful  arrogance.  The  ("Bush" 127).  The  was  Quebec  s u r v i v o r on  ordinary  bravado  "a  his  Citified  after  p o i n t of  of  t o choose  been a r a t h e r  ready f o r a l l c o n t i n g e n c i e s "  Initially,  fulfills  had  been, i n D r o l e t ' s terms,  efficient  plane  he  experience  well-organized  has  almost  l a k e . He  o r g a n i z a t i o n man  lake,  Guidry  had  capable,  vacation.  to t h i s  "well-heeled,  that  recklessness  life.  a r i s i n g out of h i s wilderness  over death. P r i o r  figure,  rescue  of  the crash lake  the  while  of on  edge of  the  o r g a n i z a t i o n man.  He  builds finds  a s h e l t e r f o r himself, that  searches  f o r something  he can make i t e d i b l e by cooking  to eat,  i t , and b u i l d s a  smoke s i g n a l a t the r i g h t moment f o r any passing rescue to  notice.  survivor's him  He  i s momentarily  safe  however,  of  certainties  of l i f e  only  expectations,  false  the  cruel  are i l l u s o r y : hope  t o walk out of the wilderness possibility,  he t h i n k s  experience  paradox  t h e best  i s wishful  seeming permanence of l i f e i s subverted  real  i n the s e c u r i t y  camp. Time and the wilderness  aware,  aircraft  that  of h i s  soon make all  made plans thinking,  the  become  even the  by death. As he attempts  t o a p o i n t where rescue would be a back  to his first  s i x days o f  survival: For  a  moment  he  longed  f o r the  lake  and i t s  c e r t a i n t i e s : water, and landmarks, and food such as i t was,  and knowing where south was, and...nothing e l s e ,  i t wasn't enough, i t had been a c l o s e d system, a s e l f contained  illusion,  the long run. L i k e  a r o u t i n e t h a t would be deadly i n life.  "Life?" Yes,  l i f e . That's what brought you here i n t h e f i r s t  place. "Yeah, I guess i t d i d . " He shook o f f the i d e a and looked up a t the sky. " I t ' l l come up, i t has t o . " There a t l e a s t was a c e r t a i n t y , a r e a l one (Plgd The  181)  personal and p r o f e s s i o n a l l i f e t h a t Morison had known before  140  his  c r a s h l a n d i n g approximates  the q u a l i t y o f l i f e  i n his first  s h e l t e r , i t t o o having been the same "closed system" and " s e l f contained  illusion"  t h a t was e q u a l l y "deadly."  While  he might  w i s t f u l l y long f o r the s e c u r i t y of the " s e l f - c o n t a i n e d i l l u s i o n " on the edge o f the l a k e , he knows t h a t " i t wasn't enough." In the wilderness, Morison has "come t o know...things," p r i n c i p a l l y his  realization  that l i f e  has meaning through  engagement  with  r e a l i t y , as evidenced i n h i s determination t o hike seventy miles through the f o r e s t and along the r i v e r s i n the hope t h a t he w i l l be rescued. Without any i l l u s i o n s , in  the e r s t w h i l e playground  he can now accept h i s p l a c e  with the same r e a l i s m t h a t the o l d  sweeper gave t o h i s job i n Chibougamau: The  stillness  suffering,  a  of endurance, self  couldn't complain  who  sell  More  litter,  than  new  seemed  t o the f o r e s t  sky, the playground to  the harsh  identity  t o have  no  of  ego. He  o r the water o r the  had no manager, no fun-maker p a i d  nature  had no wastes,  experience.  I t was  not even  a  new  way  me. of  experiencing. He c o u l d o n l y accept. And ask. The low p o i n t was a high p o i n t . I t would get lower Ironically,  Morison  experiencing" l i f e  learns  to  value  the  (Plgd  "new  195).  way  of  j u s t as he i s p o s s i b l y about t o l o s e i t : the  thought o f dying w i t h i n a few days, t o rephrase Samuel Johnson's memorable dictum,  concentrates the mind wonderfully. Facing the  r e a l i t y of death, Morison has  been seemingly  perseveres even when a l l of h i s hope  unfulfilled  and a l l of h i s determination t o  14.1  live  has  death.  been subverted by the p o s s i b l i t y He  accepts  nevertheless  the  agonizing  death at  he  his  of the imminence of  believes  final  to  be  stopping  inevitable,  place  at  the  prospect of l o s i n g the l i f e t h a t he had sought t o preserve: ...he  had already spent himself....He managed t o move  away from the f i r e and he crawled more and more i n t o nothingness....He...drifted  into  vague  dreams,  memories he couldn't be sure of....He kept s l i p p i n g i n and out of consciousness....The waking t o l d him he still  was  a l i v e . The other kept a r r i v i n g l i k e nothing. At  any moment i t would s t a y . " I—won' t—know." But  somewhere w i t h i n himself he thought  he d i d  (Plgd  230-1) In  the "new  way  of e x p e r i e n c i n g , " Morison has had t o acknowledge  t h a t on the playground of l i f e the new  r e a l i t y e x i s t s of l o s i n g  out t o death. In what he a n t i c i p a t e s as the hour of h i s death, his  c e r t a i n t y t h a t he has the c a p a b i l i t y t o preserve h i s l i f e i s  c o n t i n u a l l y undermined as he i n t e r m i t t e n t l y l o s e s consciousness. Increasingly, nothing.  a l l of  his  "Somewhere w i t h i n  self-knowledge h i m s e l f " he  has  been  knows t h a t  reduced he w i l l  to not  know, that he w i l l have no knowledge about the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of his  s t r a t e g y t o maintain l i f e nor w i l l he know t h a t the seeming  nothingness of death w i l l have r e p l a c e d the r e a l i t y of h i s l i f e . All  that  destiny.  he  can  do  i s t o accept the r e a l i t y  However, the r e s t o r a t i o n  142  of l i f e  of death  facilitated  as h i s by  John  Sweetgrass  challenges  certainty  that  Morison's  exists  is  conviction death.  that  Through  the  only  Sweetgrass's  m i n i s t r a t i o n , new l i f e i s the new r e a l i t y . In  the  bonding  that  exists  between  Sweetgrass a f t e r h i s rescue, Morison giving  reality.  Engaged  on  a  preservation  o f the t r a d i t i o n s  harmony  and  balance  rescued  Morison.  nothing  i n common  wilderness  The  outpost,  explains,  with  with  of  the work  the  i s "studying  mission  that  directed  life  Sweetgrass  had  Sweetgrass  lived  the in and  i s fostering  has  o f the bureaucrats  Concepts  life-  found  who, of  as  a t the  Sweetgrass  community  tenure. H e ' l l get i t a l l wrong" nor with the c i v i l is  John  towards  indigenous  anthropologist  Indians.  and  a f f i r m s Sweetgrass's  nature,  life  Morison  land  servant who  "government i n some way. Grants and c o n t r a c t s . . . " (Plgd  240).  While the government workers are i r r e l e v a n t t o Sweetgrass,  such  concepts and c o n t r a c t s on which they are working are symptomatic of  the h i g h l y systematized l i f e t h a t Morison had known i n which Things were done c o n s c i o u s l y and e f f i c i e n t l y . He t r i e d to  run h i s l i f e ,  life,  t h a t way. Even  [his] holiday  had been planned l o g i s t i c a l l y , with three f r i e n d s . . . t o remove themselves work and l i v e s However,  the  considerably the extent  logistics purged  from the complex pressures of t h e i r  (Plgd  of  during  7). the  organization  Morison's  t h a t he, t o o , q u i e t l y  man  wilderness  dissociates  have  been  experience t o  himself  from the  s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s , mentally a l i g n i n g himself with Sweetgrass and  143  h i s companions who values  and  Sweet grass means of  not  gauge the world about them i n terms of human  according t o  knows t h a t h i s own  he  concepts  can  live  capability,  order  professional efficiency without  which  man  who  but who  the  can  maintaining h i s  been  would  help  of  not  a  to  by  human needs  in  impress  model of  have  nature  This i s e f f i c i e n c y i n the  hardly f a i l  had  l o g i s t i c s . Humanly,  i n harmony with  balance with h i s n a t u r a l environment. natural  and  planning and  survived  Sweetgrass.  Morison,  the urban  i n the wilderness  Ultimately,  Sweetgrass's  engagement with nature i n c o r p o r a t e s human nature as w e l l . He i s committed t o the p r e s e r v a t i o n of a balanced l i f e his  f e l l o w Cree and f o r  i s the mediator of new "Mr.  i n nature f o r  Morison, a stranger i n t h e i r midst,  he  life:  Sweetree,"  said  Spence,"...I  want t o thank  you  for everything." "That's a l l r i g h t , i t could've been anybody." "Maybe. But i t was you. I owe you my "0-o-oh,"  he  said  d o u b t f u l l y , " d o e s n ' t everybody  somebody t h a t " (Plgd  r e t o r t puzzles Morison momentarily primary sense of  if  "somebody"  refering each  means  other  seemingly  rhetorical  as he "had t o t h i n k i t over."  "somebody" may some  w e l l be p a r e n t a l . However,  person,  then  Sweetgrass  t o the interdependence w i t h i n the human f a m i l y  person  "somebody"  shares signifies  responsibility some  owe  241-2)?  The ambiguity of "somebody" i n Sweetgrass's  The  life."  one  for  person  144  another. in  a  is  wherein  Moreover, i f  more  restrictive  sense, the i m p l i c i t suggestion i s t h a t everybody i s c o l l e c t i v e l y indebted t o One who gives l i f e ,  a somewhat o b l i q u e reference t o  C h r i s t , the q u i n t e s s e n t i a l man f o r o t h e r s . The paradox of e i t h e r a s o c i a l o r , on the other hand, a more profound to  sense  Sweetgrass's observation i s not l o s t on Morison who a f t e r a  brief at  spiritual  h e s i t a t i o n , cannot help but laugh  the e s s e n t i a l  human  i n knowing r e c o g n i t i o n  s o c i a l as w e l l as p o s s i b l y s p i r i t u a l t r u t h of  indebtedness  for l i f e .  Among  other  insights,  fundamental p e r c e p t i o n o f the t r u t h about indebtedness  this  for l i f e  should f i n d i t s place among the "things" t h a t Morison has "come to  know." Buell  envisions  Morison's  destiny  and u l t i m a t e  gift  of  restored l i f e  from a C a t h o l i c p e r s p e c t i v e . This does not r e q u i r e  superimposing  upon  f a i t h experience is  rooted.  the n a r r a t i v e a  C a t h o l i c outlook.  Buell's  i s already the r e a l i t y i n which h i s imagination  What  i s manifested  i n the f i c t i o n  mirrors,  as i t  were, an imagination impregnated with a C a t h o l i c world view, an awareness  and  consciousness does  consequent  arising  from  his  o f the way t h i n g s a r e . In the n a r r a t i v e , Morison  not appear  particular  expression  t o be  religiosity  a  Catholic  other  than  nor does  he manifest  on one occasion  any  t o mark the  day o f the week two days a f t e r h i s c r a s h : "He remembered i t was Sunday and wondered about God" (Plgd reflection being  passes very  a point  150). This r a t h e r q u i z z i c a l  q u i c k l y , the presence o f God no longer  o f reference  i n his interior  dialogue  i n the  wilderness. Aside from t h i s s i n g l e mention o f God i n the novel,  145  there are i n t e r m i t t e n t r e l i g i o u s images, more or l e s s C a t h o l i c , that  appear  considers  throughout  the  the  narrative.  observance of  social  ancient p r i e s t l y c a s t e " (Plgd depicted  as  beacon of  a  fire  211).  (Plgd  Portes  h i s way  de L'Enfer  ominous  and  suggestion  that  himself  has  establish  evocation  to  "Religion"  clear  "lovely  pattern  maintenance  more, performed  a  Catholic that  it  mythological  of  of  prospective  loss,  from  imagery  it  is  any  from  expression  of  observable  behavior,  with  aspects  identify,  the an a  purgation imagery was  within  than  i s concerned,  not  line"  rather  his  the  Buell  intention  which  would  novel  a  form  to a  (Garebian,  80).  discerned  Rather,  a  i n hope"  T e x t u a l l y , the C a t h o l i c i t y inherent i n Playground be  of  m a t e r i a l i z e , however, when Morison's  becomes  f a r as  made  a  coherent  fails  So  no  the  rigid  10), a s i t e t h a t would appear t o be  (Plgd  experience  condemnation.  is  150);  "as  t o Chibougamau, Morison d r i v e s past  portentous  wilderness  17); h i s nighttime watchfulness 146,  propriety  Morison an  becomes "a r i t u a l ,  On  example,  as  (Plgd  "vigil"  For  the  of  then,  figurative the  pattern  protagonist's that  Catholic are  one  representation of  action,  inner  gleans  spirituality.  patterns  of  such  i n the  either  thoughts  thematic What  Catholic  will  or  strands one  not  text.  in  the  in  his  imbued  seeks  to  evocations  as  s t r i p p i n g away, s t r u g g l e , s i n , s u f f e r i n g , and s a l v a t i o n . B u e l l ' s imaginative  vision  c o n s i s t e n t l y develops  the other novels, a c e r t a i n a s c e t i c i s m  146  i n Playground,  as  in  which s t r i p s or deprives  a character (129),  of m a t e r i a l  dependency and even, as Bauer observes  of the s t a b i l i t y  direction  o f place  o f Morison's d e s t i n y  intensive  internal  struggle  sometimes  productive,  or l o c a l i t y .  i s determined in  sometimes  which  he  disastrous,  b r i n g him t o the point of rescue,  Moreover, the  throughout  by an  makes  decisions,  that  eventually  a progress not a t a l l u n l i k e  t h a t which c h a r a c t e r i z e s the C a t h o l i c d o c t r i n e o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n in  which  salvation  i s progressively  worked  out through the  d e c i s i o n s t h a t one makes, sometimes f o r good, sometimes f o r i l l . One can i d e n t i f y a C a t h o l i c consciousness as w e l l i n t h e a c t o f distancing  oneself  from  God and from  t h e presence  of God i n  other persons, thereby producing a s i n f u l s e p a r a t i o n . single-minded himself  adherence  socially  and  t o technology, psychologically  around him. Only when he i s saved finally  understand  that  we  Morison from  Given h i s  had estranged  almost  every  one  by John Sweetgrass does he  are our brother's  keeper,  this  c e n t r a l t r u t h o f the human c o n d i t i o n presumably becoming one o f the  things,  as he t e l l s  U l t i m a t e l y , according  h i s wife,  t h a t he has "come t o know."  t o C a t h o l i c d o c t r i n e regarding  the economy  of s a l v a t i o n , redemption i s a v a i l a b l e as the g r a t u i t o u s God,  g i f t of  f r e e l y given t o a l l who merit s a l v a t i o n . Thematically,  becomes Morison's  quest,  an expectation  fulfilled  saved by John Sweetgrass. Incapable of saving needs Sweetgrass, indebted  the rescuer  for his l i f e .  himself,  t o whom he must  Such  an  evocation  when  forever  of  the  this he i s  Morison remain j o y of  redemption does not make a C a t h o l i c out of Spence Morison, but  147  it  does  indicate  how  i t and the other  f e a t u r e s imbued  with  a  s p i r i t u a l b a s i s and which are r e l a t e d t o the s u r v i v a l theme i n this  novel resonate with a s p i r i t u a l i t y  Catholicism.  148  originating  i n Buell's  A Lot  To Make  Up  For  The hope of a broken humanity l i e s i n r e c o n c i l i a t i o n ,  both  with others and with God. I n d i v i d u a l l y and communally, the need t o assuage g u i l t , t o make amends, and t o seek forgiveness heals the  ruptures  that  occur  in  personal  r e l a t i o n s h i p s . T h i s i s B u e l l ' s focus principally with  Adele  i n detailing  Stan  Symons because  and  i n A Lot  Hagen's  quest  of h i s violent  interpersonal  To  Make  t o be  Up  reconciled  and abusive  d u r i n g a p e r i o d o f mutual n a r c o t i c a d d i c t i o n two years a  quest  resulting  from  For,  h i s d e s i r e t o be a t peace  actions earlier,  with God.  However, Adele a l s o bears t h e personal burden of her own g u i l t , her  infant  her  life  Even  daughter  Evalynn  Roussel,  takes  place Reviews  mistakes]  the  to addiction  including  Socially, i n Ashton reader  unsuspecting  t o h e a l the i n j u r y  and blackmailed  strategies.  Kirkus  seeks  town of Ashton,  affected  predisposed  throughout  because of her mother's previous n a r c o t i c s e l f - a b u s e .  predator, a l s o the  being  Adele,  wife  of  husband's  i s not e f f e c t e d noted:  exploitive  i n isolation.  "the key t o recovery  in  adversely  t h e interconnected h e a l i n g process  seems t o be r e s p o n s i b l e i n t e r a c t i o n with  individuals"  sexual  s u f f e r e d by those  who have been  by her depraved  a  that  As the  [from  past  good-hearted  (446). To t h i s end, those seeking t o atone f o r past  and present i n j u r i e s i n B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e r e c e i v e both communal and moral support  from persons  of good w i l l who a s s i s t them i n  t h e i r endeavor t o make amends.  149  With Holling  the exception  who  rebuffs  o f the Hampton  him  Journal  e d i t o r Mr.  with  bureaucratic  contemptibly  i n d i f f e r e n c e , Stan r e c e i v e s c o n s i d e r a b l e small town support from several  Ashton  people  who d i r e c t l y  and i n d i r e c t l y  a s s i s t him  both i n h i s r e h a b i l i t a t i o n and i n h i s search f o r Adele Symons. The  l o c a l A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous contact person h e l p f u l l y  him  t o a meeting  centre i n town; t h e Ashton  directs  Elementary  School  p r i n c i p a l recognizes h i s f r u s t r a t i o n i n t r y i n g t o f i n d Adele and shares p r i v i l e g e d i n f o r m a t i o n with him; Mr. Lennox has c o n t a c t s all  over  town whom he c a l l s  upon  to discretely  search  local  records; and Kay Saunders not o n l y remains a l e r t f o r i n f o r m a t i o n pertaining  t o Adele  which  will  assist  Stan  but a l s o i s  instrumental i n r e u n i t i n g them. Each o f these supportive persons contributes  towards  partnership.  They  selfless  the b u i l d i n g  have  assistance,  communal  nothing t o gain  as they  which they have l i t t l e  of  help  Stan  s h a r i n g and  f o r themselves;  their  achieve  about  a goal  o r no knowledge, r e f l e c t s a  fundamental  human c o n t r i b u t i o n t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s can p e r s o n a l l y make towards a l l e v i a t i n g d i s t r e s s and s u f f e r i n g . Stan assistance  i s not alone, o f course, from  t h e community.  i n receiving  Adele  i s also  this  kind o f  supported  by  f r i e n d s and acquaintances who have made and continue t o make a positive  contribution  to  her w e l l - b e i n g :  Sister  Elizabeth  Stevens, a f t e r whom Adele g r a t e f u l l y names her daughter Betty i n a  gesture o f a p p r e c i a t i o n  directed  t h e program  of  and g r a t i t u d e , rehabilitation  150  was t h e nun who had f o r Adele's  drug  addiction;  C l a u d i a Poole  takes  the  initiative  in  justifying  Adele's innocence a f t e r she has been blackmailed by one employers;  and  Adele's. other  employers,  M e l l i n g , are keen t o have her working  Mrs.  Davis  of her  and  Mrs.  f o r them again a f t e r  she  had been defamed. Moreover, Martin Lacey whose immediate f a m i l y has  grown  increasingly  remote,  receives  f r i e n d l y support a f t e r h i s heart a t t a c k  companionable  and  from h i s neighbors P h i l  and Marge Baines. This p a t t e r n of s o c i a l  interdependence  which  B u e l l e s t a b l i s h e s i n the novel becomes even more focused i n the a f f e c t i o n a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p which develops between Lacey and  Stan  Hagen, a bonding of o l d age and youth e s t a b l i s h e d on the b a s i s of  mutual  rapport  assistance  which  which  transforms  soon  their  develops  into  relationship  a  from  heightened the  merely  s o c i a l i n t o a profoundly s p i r i t u a l experience r e a l i z e d near the end of the novel through t h e i r common s h a r i n g i n the E u c h a r i s t . The Stan,  associative  Adele,  and  pattern  Martin  of  community  i s important  support  affecting  for narrative  cohesion.  More than t h a t , the i n t e g r a l sense of community which e x i s t s i n Ashton  leads  experience  to  within  an  understanding  the  context  of  of  what  Martin  sacramental  i s Catholic,  Stan  communion.  v i s i o n of community as a t h e o l o g i c a l c o n s t r u c t pervades consciousness. Community  and  for unlike  the  The  Catholic focus of  other t h e o l o g i e s which p r i v i l e g e the i n d i v i d u a l , C a t h o l i c i s m i s a c o l l e c t i v i t y i n i t s f a i t h and ...the  nature  of  the  worship: Church  is  [realized]  as  a  community rooted i n , and e x p r e s s i v e o f , the communal  151  life  of  the  triune  God....  " [ C]ommunion"  t r a n s l a t i o n from the Greek term koinonia...to sharing,  fellowship,  Christians,  or  close  other baptized  a  indicate  association....  through the Holy S p i r i t ,  with the t r i u n e God and are a l s o  is  enjoy communion  " i n communion" with  C h r i s t i a n s . Communion t h e r e f o r e  has a  v e r t i c a l dimension (contact with God) and a h o r i z o n t a l dimension (bonding with other C h r i s t i a n s )  (Fahey 3 3 7 ) .  This concept o f the communion found i n the Church f i n d s i t s most complete  expression  liturgical  and  celebration  totality  of  meaning  o f the mass i n which  body and blood o f C h r i s t i n E u c h a r i s t  during  "[s]haring  the  i n the  a t the c e l e b r a t i o n of the  Lord's Supper i s regarded as a s p e c i a l moment i n the Church's celebration of i t s l i f e " [is]  sharing  participatio,  of  both  sense o f "communlo,  (Fahey 3 3 7 ) . In A Lot  societas, To Make Up  B u e l l f i n d s an e f f e c t i v e a p p l i c a t i o n o f t h i s C a t h o l i c sense communion  when  both  Martin  Lacey  attends  Eucharistic  socially  celebration  and s p i r i t u a l l y  enrichment  and Stan of  late  their  being  Saturday  an a f f i n i t y  friendship  and  s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t y of t h e i r l i f e  i n Christ.  152  of Martin  i n t h i s v i g i l mass,  experience  an  to find  a significant  i n the l i v e s  Stan. Knowing of one another's sharing Martin  the  mass i n Ashton where he i s s u r p r i s e d  Hagen, t h i s  catalyst and  i n the Pauline  o r communicatio"  afternoon v i g i l Stan  "the r e c e p t i o n o f the E u c h a r i s t  seen as a high p o i n t i n sharing the g i f t s o f God" and, more  broadly,  For,  so that  r e s u l t i n g i n the  appreciation  o f the  Stan  Hagen's  injurious  past  understanding spiritual  determination  has been of  t o atone  essentially  h i s Catholic  for a  activated  faith.  violent  by a  Stan's  and  deepening  i s as  much  a  journey which w i l l u l t i m a t e l y b r i n g him c l o s e r t o God  as i t i s a quest f o r p s y c h o l o g i c a l s a t i s f a c t i o n . In t h i s novel, the cure o f s o u l s , as B u e l l repeatedly i n d i c a t e s , r e q u i r e s t h e priest,  not  undertaking drugs,  the  is  psychiatrist.  penitential:  alcohol,  he  In  large  must  measure  contritely  and u n l i c e n s e d concupiscence  abjure the  of the past and  commit himself t o the r e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f a new l i f e . life,  Stan's  Such a new  however, i s i n t e g r a t e d with a s p i r i t u a l regeneration which  complements  and  strengthens  his social  renewal.  During h i s  p e r i o d o f recovery and r e h a b i l i t a t i o n , Stan had become conscious of  the need  which  would  support and s u s t a i n him as he began t o r e c l a i m h i s s o c i a l  life.  Gerry  for spiritual  Damer,  informally  a  guided  direction  recovering Stan  i n his l i f e  alcoholic  through  priest  a spiritual  himself,  had  awakening. On one  memorable o c c a s i o n , as Stan l a t e r r e c a l l e d , we got t o t a l k i n g about i t , t r y i n g t o t a l k about i t , a higher power, God, and he s a i d t o me we can't  know—  and he r e a l l y came down on t h a t word, "know"—we can't know,  not the way we t h i n k knowing i s knowing, he's  too d i f f e r e n t f o r t h a t , we have t o b e l i e v e (Lot 169). In  order t o grasp t h e r e a l i t y o f God, Stan asks: "What must I do  to  b e l i e v e ? " Darner's  request  since,  response  as Stan  i s a simple  realizes,  153  "Ask," a r e a s s u r i n g  "when you're  asking,  really  asking, you're asking someone. You there,  and  "asking,"  t h a t asking  i s always p o s s i b l e " (Lot  as Martin Lacey l a t e r p o i n t s out,  s p i r i t u a l r e s t o r a t i o n : "at times, prayer 170).  can take i t t h a t he's  process  169).  lies  the  with  and change i s the s p i r i t u a l l y  God  and  this  source  lives  i n the  of the (Lot  as you're making i t "  transforming  t h a t complements Stan's search f o r Adele. He  reconciliation  In  not always, but at times,  you're making w i l l change you F a i t h , prayer,  simply  has  expectation  sought that  he  w i l l be r e c o n c i l e d t o the young woman he had a b u s i v e l y v i o l a t e d . Stan's before  he  spiritual  met  Martin.  r e s t o r a t i o n had Like  Martin,  begun  he  had  almost  two  years  been aware of  his  s e p a r a t i o n from the r e s t of humanity, becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y more f u l l y aware of h i s own m o r t a l i t y : ...he He was  was  and  alone. With h i m s e l f .  nothing  e l s e . He  p u t t i n g i t on  had  been s t r i p p e d , no,  somebody e l s e , no,  no,  that  somehow he  had become s t r i p p e d o f — e v e r y t h i n g . He had no f r i e n d s , no money, no p l a c e , no work, no c l o t h e s . . . . T h i s , a f t e r the  soaring  happiness  of  i n t o t h a t desert, the ego lushness,  drugs....Deeper having  i t s way,  and  a mirage of  green with promise. A l l gone now,  kind of nothing.  He  felt  deeper  i n t o some  himself picked c l e a n , bones  d r y i n g i n the dusty wind, the g l a r e fearsome.... He  wondered  thought  he  discovering,  i f death knew like  was  were just  expecting  154  like not  that.  The  there....  bottom and  self He  finding  he was  none,  that he d i d not, c o u l d not, know himself....he...could know  other  things,  person. That was That  was  given.  but  not  the  heart  of  his  i n e x i s t e n c e by a d i f f e r e n t His  however weakly. And  to  accept,  to  own  warrant.  choose,  to  do,  i f given, oh, p o s s i b l e , i f given,  i s t h i s the d e s e r t where you meet the g i v e r ? (Lot  97-  8) R e c a p i t u l a t i n g h i s "desert" experience l a t e r t o Martin, he  tells  him t h a t h i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e l i f e s t y l e had r e s u l t e d i n "having everything come t o nothing. And (Lot  151).  As  he  and  Martin  I mean e v e r y t h i n g , a l l of i t "  reflect  upon the  nature  of  this  experience, Stan e x p l a i n s : "There was  nothing l e f t  of me,  Mr.  Lacey,  except  me.  And even t h a t I can't recognize." In the q u i e t t h a t followed, M a r t i n s a i d : "They used t o c a l l i t — d y i n g t o Oneself." "I've heard i t used. I t ' s t r u e . " " I t s not a matter f o r therapy." "No, Since t h i s  I found t h a t out." (Lot  p e r i o d of s p i r i t u a l  151)  emptiness experienced  two  years  e a r l i e r , Stan had committed himself t o the A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous program i n which he faith. recent  The  found  both  sobriety  outgrowth of h i s s p i r i t u a l  quest  "nothing"  has  Stan  to  find  has  Adele  found  in  a  revitalized  development has  order  something  and  in  to his  make  been the  amends.  gradual  From  spiritual  awakening which has made him aware t h a t there i s a l o t t o make  155  up  f o r , both  rupture  with  spiritual in  i n love of God Adele.  direction.  responding  their  to  as w e l l as i n seeking t o heal  Gerry Martin  Stan's  Damer  had  provided  significant  Lacey becomes e q u a l l y  instrumental  spiritual  l i v e s when Martin and  the  quest.  At  the  juncture  Stan meet, there e x i s t s an  in  inverse  r e l a t i o n s h i p between them i n the p a t t e r n of B u e l l ' s d e p i c t i o n of the r e s p e c t i v e stages of t h e i r  s p i r i t u a l preparedness:  been s t r i v i n g t o repossess what he had time  two  years  p r e v i o u s l y when  he  Stan  l o s t , advancing  was  reduced  to  from the "nothing";  M a r t i n i s i n c r e a s i n g l y conscious of the gradual need t o be to  dispossess  life. of  himself  of  what  Stan's s p i r i t u a l l i f e  increasing  between  youth  he  i s one  self-abnegation.  his  of r e c o n s t r u c t i o n ; Martin's,  In  this  spiritual  growth  a  state  after  of  having  and  crisis.  decline,  construct  and  in  growth  narrative  l o s i n g , s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i s the common experience of both Stan is  age,  throughout  and  Each  old  gained  able  getting  Martin.  and  has  has  Each  acknowledged  is  the  experiencing necessity  of  d e p r i v i n g oneself of impediments t o a l i f e of grace. Stan  has  development himself his  after  those  life.  only  arrived having  at  h i s present  made  a  a d d i c t i v e pleasures  Fortified  by  past  and  has  Adele.  to  of  he  has  been  pleasures  socially  search  for  falling  away of the many meaningful p a r t s of h i s l i f e ,  156  has  deny  centre  self-discipline,  a l c o h o l induced  however,  character  determination  become i n c r e a s i n g l y engaged Martin,  of  which were at the  exemplary  forsaken the i l l u s o r y n a r c o t i c and the  firm  stage  of  i n his  experiencing  a  leaving  him  isolated  and alone:  the recent  p s y c h o l o g i c a l and geographical the  debilitating  effect  a t t a c k which has l e f t his and  o f h i s wife, the  d i s t a n c i n g o f h i s c h i l d r e n , and  o f h i s recent  life-threatening  hiin incapable o f e f f e c t i v e l y  heart  maintaining  small farm. A f t e r a l i f e t i m e o f working, r a i s i n g a f a m i l y , anticipating  retirement, downsizing  a  which  much  has beset  as  disappearance  of  distanced  fulfilling  he i s very  introspective  the  death  he  alone  with  many  upon  temporal  existential  around  h i s country  house,  moments t h a t he i s "seeing  moment, those  moments, i t a l l ceased  knows, o f course,  has l e f t  joys  gradual  increasingly  As he looks out on  he  knows  i t real.  being  him more  The  has  after  the gradual  h i s future.  him from any sense of belonging.  property  h i s wife  as he accepts  him and which  reflects  so  future  at certain And i n t h a t  {Lot  his"  84). He  t h a t he has l e g a l t i t l e t o ownership and a l l  which that e n t a i l s : ...but  d e s p i t e t h a t , i n those  could  feel  no  ownership,  moments o f i n s i g h t , he  and,  more  sharply,  no  f a m i l i a r i t y . The lane and the t r e e s and the land, the house, fences, a l l o f i t , l i k e the sky, not h i s . . . . i t was seeing  i t i n i t s own context,  not h i s , past the  mental baggage of h a b i t and c u l t u r e and use. And seen that  way  emphasized,  i t simply alone,  left  him. And  moved t o h i s very  he  was  self,  there, feeling  something c l o s e t o f e a r , y e t , s t r a n g e l y , not upset. I t f e l t l i k e d i s c o v e r y . What held t h a t held him (Lot 84).  157  I n c r e a s i n g l y dispossessed o f so many things he had valued during the  past  thirty  years,  one's stewardship  Martin  i s dismayed  by the b r e v i t y o f  as he t h i n k s back over the p a s t : "What s t r u c k  home was t h a t the very p l a c e which had represented so much human promise had now come t o symbolize human  desert"  (Lot  indifferent,  emptiness,  85). I n c r e a s i n g l y more alone  even o f the humanizing presence or  a real  Martin  a sort of  and deprived  o f h i s c h i l d r e n who are d i s t a n t  accepts  his  diminished  life  with  resignation: No  complaints,  responsible.  no  blame  I t was time  to  l a y , no  and nature  one  held  and the way we  l i v e . But i t was more than a l e t t i n g go, i t was a l s o a falling And to  t h a t , f o r i t was t o o s u b t l e t o g i v e v o i c e t o , had be accepted i n s i l e n c e . The beginning o f the d e s e r t  (Lot Detached cultural  o f f . Something t h a t should be was not there.  from  85-6). relationships  realities,  approximating  which  Martin  had connected  experiences  a  him t o past "falling  off"  the meaningless s t a t e o f "having come t o nothing"  t h a t young Stan Hagen had known two years e a r l i e r . F o r Martin, as  for a disillusioned  Macbeth,  life  has i n c r e a s i n g l y  become  f u l l of sound and f u r y s i g n i f y i n g nothing: All  the experience,  the work,  the know-how,  the  l o y a l t y , the hard-won knowledge, the human r o l e s , the almost nothing.  forced-upon-him-wisdom, I t just  didn't e x i s t — a  158  a l l that blank  went  for  and a gap so  huge as t o remove i d e n t i t y from him. He was c u l t u r a l l y disreputable.  Just  another  old  guy....  Another  believes  t h a t he  anywhere,  another  wilderness (Lot 86). Stan, t o o , r e f l e c t i n g  upon h i s own i d e n t i t y ,  would be p e r c e i v e d around Ashton ...not  as a r e s i d e n t ,  not l i v i n g  stranger, d r i f t i n g , with c i t y w r i t t e n a l l over him, no roots, him,  no l o y a l t i e s ,  nobody t o know, no one t o know  the i d e a l o f the twentieth century/ alone, god-  l i k e , a joke i n the u n i v e r s e , about as s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t as a bug without a p l a n t t o chew on (Lot 28). When Stan's  quest  f o r Adele  indirectly  b r i n g s him t o Martin's  country farm, both youth and o l d age are r e s p e c t i v e l y a t a p o i n t of t r a n s i t i o n  from the u n c e r t a i n t y experienced i n the "desert"  of t h e i r recent l i v e s t o the c e r t a i n t y o f God's h e a l i n g presence which  has made  r e a l i t y which  the "desert"  i s difficult  bearable,  an e l u s i v e  spiritual  t o a r t i c u l a t e as Stan f i n d s when he  asks M a r t i n : "Nobody t a l k s much about i t , do they?" "No. We've l o s t the words. A l o t of t a l k , about how t o f e e l good, no words." " I t ' s a l l desert, i s n ' t i t , Mr. Lacey?" "You could say t h a t . " "And one w e l l . " "Those are very o l d words." "Not f o r me" (Lot  168)  159  Each i n h i s own been  living  experienced  way in  has a  with  (Lot  household  spiritual  desert  uncertainty.  Each Each  has has  Stan remembers,  has  124).  which  Martin's  of  of i d e n t i t y . Each, as  In c o n t r a s t t o the experience  "desert" experience.  "wilderness"  a crisis  been marginalized  known the  i s o l a t i o n and  s o l i t u d e of the  both  Martin  and  offsets  the  garden  with  shared experience  Stan  are  "desert" familiar,  loneliness  and  of  the  mutual engagement.  From the "desert," Martin and Stan are q u i t e l i t e r a l l y u n i t e d i n t h e i r engagement i n the garden, the one where i n c o n t r a s t t o the  "desert"  of the c r e a t o r can be experienced  p l a c e , as Martin knows,  the v i t a l i t y  of c r e a t i o n  and  i n nature:  ...the garden...was an e x t r a . . . . A convenience, not n e c e s s i t y . Such i t was,,  seen from the o u t s i d e . But f o r  him  of l i f e .  i t was  almost a way  heart attack, h i s garden experience  life  source of things  t h a t comprises the of  time  and  something as  age  good as  acknowledges  becomes one  "falling and,  s p i r i t u a l p e r f e c t i o n . Moreover, t h i s  that  heart  d i s c o v e r i n g the beginning  his  work  His hands s e t h i s  f r e e . . . . He was  so c l o s e t o the  of  close  t h e i r source.  him  go"  I t brought him  t o t h i n g s , and  A f t e r Martin's  exigencies  a  the  creation"  (Lot  t h a t brought more part  off," a sacrifice rather  109).  of  to  the  significantly,  to  " f a l l i n g o f f " and  "earth  and  living  (Lot  167)  can  "letting  things provide  and the  e f f i c a c i o u s means whereby one e f f e c t i v e l y serves another. In the midst  of  his  prayer  at  mass,  160  Martin  is  consoled  by  the  realization  that  what i s l o s t  to  him  has  been found by  young  Stan Hagen: And  then  i t was  back, with  mine, back s u r e l y not  f o r me,  mine at  a l l , returned,  found  luggage  serving—isn't  that  Having  provided  the  spiritually  through being  source"  becoming  by  means  engaged  only  as  dispossession  "something on  and  energy  not  I had  l e t i t go,  not  still  by  in  the way"  Stan  to  desire  of a prayer Catholic  "to get  have t o pass...to as i t may  further," uttered within  n a r r a t i v e accounts of both Stan and  the  "wilderness,"  one's s e l f - c o n c e p t  to  thereby  and  the  "nothing,"  drawing upon images from the  well."  conveying  i n order In  must it get  to lose"  the  context  a  reduction  its  to most  drink,  metaphors  Martin  of  of  the  identity  and  i t i s apparent t h a t  Buell i s  C a t h o l i c t r a d i t i o n of the sense  that  the  desire  s p i r i t u a l p e r f e c t i o n becomes more i n t e n s i f i e d as one "desert"  he  that  recognizing  p r e d e l i c t i o n f o r a s c e t i c i s m . With evocative  "desert,"  their  a f t e r r e c e i v i n g the E u c h a r i s t , underscores a l a t e n t  found i n the  life,  and  f o r himself  f u r t h e r , c l o s e r , f r e e of l o s t baggage, hurt (167). The  develop  experience  a good t h i n g , "you  luggage  can  things,  garden  knows t h a t  that  lost  167).  which  the  even of  forgone, my  i t ? — s e r v i n g as  "brought c l o s e  "acknowledges c r e a t i o n , " Martin the  youth  (Lot  f o r someone e l s e on h i s way  accept  a  as  positive  to  Catholic  the  the "one  asceticism  r e p l i c a t e s , as Campbell notes, the e s s e n t i a l q u a l i t i e s  161  attain  leaves  Stan Hagen knows, at sense,  ascetic  found i n  the l i f e o f C h r i s t : "This i m i t a t i o n of C h r i s t g e n e r a l l y proceeds along  three  main  unworldliness, practices  lines,  v i z . : mortification  of the  and detachment from f a m i l y t i e s . "  has  a  scriptural  basis  aligning  senses,  Each of these  i t closely  with  C h r i s t ' s own p r a c t i c e : Thus we have, as regards St.  Paul, who says:  mortification,  the words o f  "I c h a s t i s e my body and b r i n g i t  i n t o s u b j e c t i o n : l e s t perhaps when I have preached t o others while his  I myself Our Lord  cross,  Himself  says:  "He t h a t taketh not up i s not worthy  Commending unworldliness,  i s not  approving  be east away" (1 Cor.,ix,27);  and f o l l o w e t h Me,  (Matt.,x,38). kingdom  should  of  this  detachment t h e r e  world"  we  have:  (John,  i s the t e x t , not t o c i t e  " i f any man  come  father,  and  and  brethren  and s i s t e r s , yea, and h i s own l i f e  cannot  be My d i s c i p l e "  "My  xviii,36);  others:  mother,  of Me"  t o Me wife,  and hate and  children,  (Luke,xiv,26)..."hate"  i n d i c a t i n g a g r e a t e r love f o r God than  not h i s and  a l s o , he [here]  f o r a l l things  together. Moreover, the reason  f o r committing o n e s e l f t o s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g  acts of m o r t i f i c a t i o n and detachment d e f i n e s the q u a l i t y o f the ascetic  life.  Here, a negative  motive, prompted by the d e s i r e  not t o s i n , i s outweighed by the p o s i t i v e motive t o i m i t a t e and live  the l i f e  perfection  in  of C h r i s t . asceticism,  Consequently, levels  162  of  there  are degrees of  perfection  which  St.  Ignatius  termed  "the three degrees  of humility"  consisting of  the beginners, t h e p r o f i c i e n t , and t h e p e r f e c t : In  the f i r s t  that  p l a c e a man may serve God i n such  he i s w i l l i n g  commit  a grievous  t o make any s a c r i f i c e s i n . This  disposition  salvation.  Again,  rather  than  of the s o u l ,  which i s the lowest i n the s p i r i t u a l l i f e , for  a way  he may be w i l l i n g  i s necessary t o make  such  s a c r i f i c e s r a t h e r than o f f e n d God by v e n i a l s i n . L a s t l y he  may, when t h i s  eager  i s not question o f s i n a t a l l , be  t o do whatever w i l l  make h i s l i f e  harmonize with  that o f C h r i s t . I t i s t h i s l a s t motive which the highest kind of a s c e t i c i s m adopts....[these] a r e the three steps in  the e l i m i n a t i o n o f s e l f , and consequently three great  advances towards union with God, who enters the s o u l i n proportion  as s e l f  i s e x p e l l e d . I t i s the s p i r i t u a l  s t a t e o f S t . Paul...when he says:"And but C h r i s t l i v e t h i n me" G a l . , i i , 2 0 These stages comprise the  purgative,  spiritual motives  life.  (Campbell).  what have a l s o been t r a d i t i o n a l l y  illuminative, In whole  and p r a c t i c e  I l i v e , now not I,  and  unitive  states  o r even i n p a r t they  a s s o c i a t e d with  Catholic  termed i n the  i n f l u e n c e the spirituality.  That they f i n d expression i n B u e l l ' s n a r r a t i v e i s i n d i c a t i v e o f the  pervasive  effect  that  features  of  the  ascetic  and  p e n i t e n t i a l l i f e have upon C a t h o l i c consciousness. To  a  greater  or lesser  degree,  each  of the p r i n c i p a l  characters i n t h e n a r r a t i v e conforms t o the t r a d i t i o n a l p a t t e r n  163  of  spiritual  engaged  in  satisfaction  development. lives  of  Stan  and Adele  renunciation,  f o r the s o c i a l  and moral  are respectively  attempting  to  make  dysfunction  of  their  l i v e s two years e a r l i e r ,  Stan by searching f o r Adele  by  daughter and  any  n u r t u r i n g her i n f a n t  and Adele  by p r o t e c t i n g her from  form of abuse. In t h e i r past experience,  each o f them had  become v i c t i m s of the p a i n f u l p u r s u i t of pleasure: What  had once  pleasures  now  pursuing.  The  been  choice  joyless less  was now h a b i t  that  they  the r e t u r n ,  p u r s u i t , the g r e a t e r the misery.  couldn't  the s t r o n g e r  ecstasy  o f cocaine,  stop the  I t was always worse  a f t e r the sex, a f t e r the days o f booze,  after,  the  and need,  something  still  after  hungry, and  s t i l l empty, and even more demanding, the letdown t h a t told  you you'd  never  be happy,  but t h a t  you'd t r y  again, and again, addicted t o p l e a s u r e t h a t now mocked you  (Lot  41).  Having broken out of t h i s c y c l e , both engaged  f o r two years  against  their  i n developing  a d d i c t i v e past.  Stan their  In order  and Adele respective  have been defenses  t o avoid t h e i n j u r i o u s  e f f e c t o f drugs upon her pregnancy, Adele undertook a program o f withdrawal, future  but not soon enough t o prevent  proclivity  f o r addiction  t h e development o f a  i n her daughter  Betty.  This  event i n i t s e l f made Adele even more determined t o p r o t e c t Betty from  further  harm.  commitment occurs,  When Adele  t h e opportunity  t o renege  upon her  remains r e s o l u t e i n her determination  164  to  f o l l o w her program of r e h a b i l i t a t i o n . Refusing any  to  p a c i f y Betty, she r e j e c t s Mr.  payment  in  order  to  gratify  suggestion  R o u s s e l l ' s o f f e r of a lump his  erotic  fantasies.  sum  In  this  i n s t a n c e , Adele i s t e s t e d and she holds f i r m t o her commitment. It  i s clear  not only what Adele  she has disengaged assured, and  Adele  i s against but a l s o  from what  h e r s e l f . While her progress t o recovery seems  i s primarily  concerned past.  with  This  a v o i d i n g the  in itself  drugs  d e p r a v i t y of  the  recent  moral realignment  and  a r e d i r e c t i o n of her purpose i n l i f e .  t h e r e i s some degree of s p i r i t u a l renewal suggested  by  house of  her  "She  longed  her  i n Adele's l i f e ,  d e s i r e t o make a r e t u r n v i s i t  religious t o go  community  of  reflects  nuns who  back there, t o v i s i t ,  life,  If  i t is  t o the mother  had  t o hear  helped  her:  them s i n g i n g  t h e i r o f f i c e , as they c a l l i t , but she denied h e r s e l f t h a t " 43).  a  (Lot  Aside from t h i s suggestion of the a t t r a c t i o n of d e v o t i o n a l Adele  remains  i n a s t a t e of r e n u n c i a t i o n , c o n t i n u i n g t o  abjure the past while u n c e r t a i n about the  f u t u r e . In terms of  a s c e t i c s p i r i t u a l i t y , Adele i s s t i l l at the purgative stage. If  Adele  proactive  is  more  p a t t e r n of  disposed  Stan's  to  avoid  confrontation,  coming t o terms with  the  h i s past i s  manifested both s p i r i t u a l l y as w e l l as s o c i a l l y . L i k e Martin, he knows the  meaning  of  "letting  go,"  as  he  realizes  after  his  f i r s t v i s i t with Adele: He knew where she was... he' d seen her and t a l k e d with her.  He  marvelled  knowing...were  at  nothing  165  it.  compared  The to  months the  fact  of  not  of i t .  They were now the past, already being f o r g o t t e n simply  dwelt  on a l l t h i s  as t r u e ,  staying  .He  i n the  present, l e t t i n g go (Lot 182). F U l l y aware o f h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  f o r h i s past a c t i o n s ,  Stan's  reformation had begun by renouncing h i s a d d i c t i o n t o drugs and alcohol  and seeking both  human and d i v i n e  r e c o n c i l i a t i o n . His  s p i r i t u a l journey began when the p o l i c e had found him naked i n a laundromat,  the symbolic sense of having t r i e d t o climb  into a  washer while i n a drunken stupor i n order t o cleanse himself not being l o s t on Stan. He soon r e a l i z e d that he "could know other things,  (Lot  but not t h e heart o f h i s own person"  "heart,"  which  e x i s t e n c e , was  is  the  central  life-giving  " i n e x i s t e n c e by a d i f f e r e n t  98). That  agent  of h i s  warrant.  That was  given." In d i s c o v e r i n g t h e r e a l i t y o f h i s s p i r i t u a l nature which he acknowledges as a "given," Stan begins seeking the " g i v e r " i n the midst o f h i s s t a t e o f l o s s and i s o l a t i o n : " I f g i v e n . . . i s t h i s the d e s e r t when you meet the g i v e r "  (Lot 98)? T h i s i s Stan's  f i r s t i n t i m a t i o n t h a t what he possesses " i n the heart o f h i s own person"  is  laundromat throughout  sanctioned  or  justified  by  the  experience of intended c l e a n s i n g his  ensuing  rehabilitation  "giver."  remains  in  the  with  The Stan  Alcoholics  Anonymous program: I t was there while he was d e t o x i f y i n g and withdrawing and s t a y i n g sober, and he kept accepting i t and came t o understand t h a t he was touching something was never without  some twinge  166  of f e a r ,  like  real. It a child  swinging too high, and a l s o never without  a hint of  freedom and even, a t b r i e f moments, o f joy (Lot 98). Stan's  rehabilitation  soul.  What  he  not only r e s t o r e s  i s able  t o accomplish  h i s body but a l s o h i s physically  through the  A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous program i s complemented by h i s c o n t i n u i n g spiritual spirit  quest t o know God and the v i t a l i t y  within  regeneration,  h i m s e l f . Within Stan  realizes  the context the  need  o f the God-given of t h i s  for  spiritual  repentance  and  r e c o n c i l i a t i o n when i t becomes c l e a r t o him that he has "a l o t t o make up f o r " a f t e r h i s d e b i l i t a t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p with Adele Symons. What impels Stan t o compensate f o r h i s abusive past does not serve o n l y s o c i a l n e c e s s i t y , nor does he seek out Adele f o r her  sake  alone.  recognizing  While  renewing  his responsibility  their  relationship  towards h i s new found  and  daughter,  what he accomplishes i s more f o r the good o f h i s s o u l . For  two years  redemption quest search  that  has been  engaged  i n the process o f  i n a search f o r God and f o r d i v i n e i s later  f o r Adele,  intensely  Stan  transmuted  striving  meaningful  developed s p i r i t u a l l y  into  i n each  relationship.  forgiveness, a  the motive case  f o r h i s human  to establish  The degree  t o which he has  i s revealed a f t e r he encounters Martin a t  the weekend mass j u s t before he meets Adele. Attendance mass, even though 167),  is  a  Stan admits  significant  consummation—of  a more  that  "I'm s t i l l  moment—one  revitalized  spiritual  might life  at this  new a t i t " fairly since  say  (Lot a  by h i s  p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the l i t u r g y he a f f i r m s the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n made  167  i n the mass comprising moves one  out  of  "a g i f t t o God  s i n " (Tambasco 781).  " ' g i v i n g ' or o f f e r i n g of s e l f as  well  as  removing  that  s i n by  merciful  of  being  at  Redeemer, the  the  "one  In both s e n s e s — t h a t  i n a quest  atonement  mass  as  becoming  782)—Stan  vigil  f o r union  "understood  reconciled or  God"(Tambasco  spiritually  t h a t e f f e c t s communion and  Hagen  in  his  w e l l " t h a t provides  or  of  reunion"  expiating  or  'at-one' with engaged  encounter  a  himself with  the  l i f e - g i v i n g water f o r a  l i f e t h a t had been " a l l d e s e r t " (Lot  168). T h i s i s one w e l l t h a t  does  provides  not  run  dry,  f o r the  One  who  the  water,  Stan  knows, makes more a v a i l a b l e f o r the asking:"when you're asking, really  asking, you're asking someone. You  simply  there,  and  that  asking  i s always  U l t i m a t e l y , Stan b e l i e v e s t h a t asking doesn't seem as  can take i t t h a t  "with  important  as  him  he's  possible"  (Lot  169).  there, and  you  there,  j u s t knowing i t ' s so"  (Lot  170). This knowing acceptance s u b s t a n t i a t e s Stan *s f a i t h . He found  the  source  of  forgiveness  and  e x p i a t i o n f o r s i n and  empowered by h i s knowing t o make amends i n t h i s world Having  moved  beyond  the  has  purgative  state  transformation, Stan e x e m p l i f i e s the seeker who  of  is  as w e l l . spiritual  has entered  that  i l l u m i n a t i v e stage i n s p i r i t u a l development t h a t has brought i n c r e a s i n g l y c l o s e r t o God. and  accessible  to  him  even  r e s o l u t e i n h i s determination  Accepting after  t h a t God  his  remains  abusive  past,  him  present Stan  is  t o reform h i s l i f e and t o seek t o  be r e c o n c i l e d with Adele f o r the past i n j u r i e s he i n f l i c t e d upon her  as  a  consequence  of  his  168  misguided  drug  and  alcohol  addiction.  Through  which  now  he  continues  to  self-deprivation  knows  meant  advance  in  of  only  his  those  former  illusory  program  of  pleasures  satisfaction,  rehabilitation  he  as  he  matures i n h i s s p i r i t u a l development. While been  Stan  i s actively  experiencing  generally  be  an  away, the  increasing  considered  h e a l t h , h i s wife who  f o r s a k i n g past  the  evils,  deprivation  good  things  Martin  of  in  what  life:  r e c e n t l y d i e d , h i s c h i l d r e n who  meaning of  a  t h i n g s . Not  only  i s he  alone" (Lot  109)  but  home, and  his a b i l i t y  confronted he  is  by  "the  his  of  life—[that]  U n l i k e Stan, He  has  no  reconciled  brought  Martin has wrongs  with  for  no  him  close to  good  have moved  t o work and  unable  things"  do  being  to  f u l f i l l m e n t even i n tending the small garden t h a t "was way  might  hollowness of  increasingly  has  find  almost a  (Lot  143).  apparent need f o r s e l f - d e p r i v a t i o n .  which  he  anyone, i t c o u l d  must  atone.  only  be  If  with  he  the  would "not  be  found  son" with whom he has l o s t c o n t a c t . Martin i s e s s e n t i a l l y a good person he  who  has  taken  has  experienced  received i n l i f e . away—his  health,  c e n t r a l questions  profound  satisfaction  When so much i s i n t e r m i t t e n t l y family,  f o r Martin would appear t o be: Why  do so many  does one  respond  the v i c i s s i t u d e s of l a t e r l i f e ? As Martin l e a r n s , one reponds  with r e s i g n a t i o n and submission the  being  p h y s i c a l c a p a b i l i t y — t h e n the  seemingly bad things happen t o good people? How to  from a l l t h a t  reality  "seeing  of  his situation  i t real"  i n the  t o the way in life  expectation  169  and  t h i n g s are, accepting c o n t i n u i n g t o go  t h a t whatever  he  on  endures  w i l l b r i n g him c l o s e r t o God. the t h i n g s i n h i s l i f e to  the one  central  Indeed,  a l l of h i s l o s s e s , a l l of  t h a t have " f a l l e n o f f , " b r i n g him  reality  of h i s l i f e ,  namely t h a t  closer  he  is in  p h y s i c a l and s p i r i t u a l communion w i t h i n the Body of C h r i s t . T h i s he knows when, a f t e r a l l h i s l o s s e s , he i s conjoined with C h r i s t i n the s a c r i f i c e of the mass: The p r i e s t . . .took bread, and wine, and words not h i s . Martin watched and l i s t e n e d . For him the a c t i o n s being done and could any  what they  meant had  taken  on  o n l y look upon: too p h y s i c a l  further,  too f a c t u a l  t o be  a clarity  t o be  altered,  simplified f r e e of  any  fantasy. "Before he was  given up t o death, a death  freely  Seeing,  accepted..."  he  hearing,  he  presence  a s s e r t e d , done, now t h e r e . . . . I am with you. Always. "The body of C h r i s t . " "Yes." S i l e n c e , echoing with other s i l e n c e s , b r i e f , and gone. Let  i t be, don't reach, you can be sure of him. What's  conscious i s yours,  and  he  i s more than what  knowing. A time t o be, j u s t be, i t ' l l do (Lot This  demonstrably  physically forms  the  and  your  "Oh,  heart  spiritually  spiritual  even Stan's prayer:  Catholic  and  experience  in  narrative  reunion with Adele that break,  Christ's  ask  of  a proximate  f o r him.  170  I  ask"  the  sacrifice  novel making  result  pained,  166-67).  participating  redemptive  climax  young, young man, I  of  you're  of  Martin's  p a i n i n g , t o make  (Lot  167).  In  this  prayer  Martin  itself,  replicates  the  namely t h a t through  essential  nature  self-sacrifice  s a l v a t i o n of o t h e r s . This was  one  of can  the effect  mass the  the redemptive a c t i o n of C h r i s t on  the cross i n s o f a r as the power of C h r i s t ' s own through  the  mystery.  Church's  The  sacrifice  [ i s ] made present  remembrance  Church's  of  the  engagement,  Paschal  itself  in  remembrance of the death and R e s u r r e c t i o n of the Lord, is  made p o s s i b l e by  that  very  mystery,  which makes  i t s e l f present through the Church's a c t i o n and assumes t h a t a c t i o n unto i t s e l f  so t h a t the Church's o f f e r i n g  i s u l t i m a t e l y C h r i s t ' s o f f e r i n g of himself through  and  with the s e l f - o f f e r i n g of the members of the e c c l e s i a l body (Strynkowski The  intention  human p a i n within  of Martin's  in  the  Stan' s  1151). Eucharistic  life  sacrificial  will  offering  prayer  find  i s t h a t the  substitutive  of  Christ  very  resolution  himself.  As  the  n a r r a t i v e development of the novel shows, t h i s prayer does not lack  efficacy.  Within  three  days  shared i n the E u c h a r i s t i c presence at  Mrs.  Poole's  Stan that  p a r t of why,  admits t h a t he "sorry  a t mass,  awful b a d — a n d  what i t was...and t e l l you how  That's why,  Stan  house where he i s f i n a l l y  "what I d i d t o you, was for  after  doesn't  I was  has  have  able t o confess t h a t t o acknowledge i t  s o r r y I am t h a t i t happened.  l o o k i n g f o r you"  it...it  171  Martin  Stan l o c a t e s Adele  I had  a l o t t o make up  undo  and  just  (Lot 180). While  f o r , Adele  explains  can't  undone."  be  Nevertheless, forgiveness,  Stan  does  find  i n h i s meeting  with (Lot  [I] d i d n ' t expect t h a t , but peace"  a human p e r s p e c t i v e , such peace  "Not  181). From  i s found i n h i s a c t of h e a l i n g  r e c o n c i l i a t i o n . S p i r i t u a l l y , Stan's peace w e l l " where those l o s t  Adele  i n the  "desert"  i s found i n that find  relief  from  "one their  thirst. As  Stan  perseveres material aware.  is  focussed  i n his  acceptance  privations  Like  his  upon  of which  friend  Phil  rebuilding  of he  the has  his  life,  increasing  Martin  physical  become i n c r e a s i n g l y  Barnes,  Martin  i s wise  and more  in  the  knowledge t h a t the p u r s u i t of happiness w i l l not cure s u f f e r i n g any more than i t  p h y s i c a l immortality (Lot  guarantees  49). He  acknowledges the r e a l i t y of the p r i v a t i o n s t h a t are h i s l o t i n life,  a l l the w h i l e s t r i v i n g  t o conform  his w i l l  i n order t o  accept them. Acceptance of the l o s s e s which have marked h i s l i f e in  recent years  resolve.  The  i s a constant preoccupation t h a t  debilitating  loss  of  heightened consciousness of h i s own  health  he  and  seeks  to  consequent  mortality, his i n a b i l i t y to  maintain himself as he had done i n the past, the death of h i s wife,  h i s separation  from h i s immediate  f a m i l y : each  d e t r a c t from and d i m i n i s h the s t a t u r e of h i s humanity  of these by making  him l e s s connected t o others and l e s s able t o f u l f i l l h i m s e l f . A satisfying rationalize  response t o these apparent v i c i s s i t u d e s would be t o them,  self-deception "seeing i t r e a l "  but  would (Lot  the  inherent f a l l a c y  contravene  his  of  principled  this  illusory  adherence  to  84). Martin's acceptance of the d i m i n u t i o n  172  of so much t h a t had given meaning t o h i s l i f e has i t s source i n a s p i r i t u a l sense o f r e a l i t y , r e a l i z e d i n moments o f heightened perception, which d i s c e r n s t h e concrete  from t h e a b s t r a c t , t r u t h  from fantasy and i l l u s i o n . For Martin, "seeing i t r e a l " d e f i n e s a b a s i c perception i n his  spirituality.  When  he  participates  i n the E u c h a r i s t i c  c e l e b r a t i o n a t mass, he recognizes and a f f i r m s u l t i m a t e r e a l i t y , namely  the sacramental,  real,"  always present  enabling  presence  and r e a d i l y  o f God, "seeing i t  a c c e s s i b l e i n the Body and  Blood of C h r i s t : He was aware o f h i s b e l i e f , aware t h a t i t was b e l i e f , faith,  as  anything  given  that  as  lives  existence, inside,  as  real  inexpressive  as  t o the p o i n t  of  making a l l e l s e r e a l (Lot 166). This,  Martin  spiritually "ask" (Lot  knows,  i s the d i v i n e  available  to  those  who,  167). To ask i s t o pray,  God's s o l i c i t o u s  care  reality, like  p h y s i c a l l y and Martin  himself,  and when Martin  asks f o r  f o r the well-being  of those  such as the  son who i s l o s t t o him and f o r the anguished Stan Hagen, he i s asking loss.  f o r t h e i r gain out o f a sense o f acceptance o f h i s own In t h i s  petition  lies  the c o n v i c t i o n t h a t t h e s a c r i f i c e  which i s the o f f e r i n g t o God o f h i s l o s s may be o f f e r e d as an expiation  for their  transference becoming  of  benefit.  the past  a goodness  that  good  A  sense  that  can b e n e f i t  of  this  has  known,  thereby  another  person,  i s the  he  spiritual  impetus f o r h i s Communion prayer f o r Stan t h a t he might know the  173  goodness  that  has  goodness t h a t  existed  even  i n Martin's  country  garden,  a  had  . . . s l i p p e d away, good as i t i s . I t i s only as good as it  i s , something i n the  way,  f u r t h e r , c l o s e r , f r e e of l o s t baggage, hurt as i t  may  t o l o s e (Lot  167).  Martin's e x e r c i s e  of C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l i t y ,  acceptance of l o s s , even d e p r i v i n g be  may  go  oneself  "further" to  j u s t i c e . The for  by  the  means of reality  such a s c e t i c  of  God  and  one  d i s c i p l i n e and  the  equity  of  get  divine  a s c e t i c nature of t h i s s e l f - s a c r i f i c e of one's  the  good  of  another  is  a  an  of w o r l d l y goodness,  e f f i c a c i o u s f o r o t h e r s . Beyond a l l temporal l o s s e s ,  "closer"  good  have t o pass i t t o  get  In the l i g h t of  can  you  distinctive  feature  own in  C a t h o l i c p r a c t i c e , perhaps most r e a d i l y apparent, a s i d e from the piety  of  priests  individual who  deny  devotion,  i n the  themselves  the  t r a d i t i o n of  goodness  inherent  married s t a t e as w e l l as of professed r e l i g i o u s who s a c r i f i c e affluence, and  s e x u a l i t y , and  Latin  rite  in  the  voluntarily  power f o r poverty, c h a s t i t y ,  obedience. To Martin's daughter, he  i s " [ l ] i v i n g l i k e a hermit i n  country" with j u s t "enough t o get by" Stan can  i d e n t i f y with Martin's  Stan who  retrospectively  focus  is  "closer" terms the  upon as  he  the  resolved  future,  increasingly  "baggage" of t h e  (Lot  "quiet to  way"  (Lot  amend h i s  spiritually becomes  57-8). For  moving  his  202). life,  part, Unlike  Martin's  "forward"  dispossessed  of  what  world. In t h i s , Martin epitomizes  174  the  and he the  a b i d i n g C a t h o l i c consciousness t h a t progress towards holy grows out o f holy  living  which n e c e s s i t a t e s ,  as one C a t h o l i c  w r i t e r has observed, downsizing f o r the s p i r i t u a l ...what  we  unhealthily  really  become  t o store  attached  journey: to  i s not so much  s t u f f . Almost imperceptibly...we  dying  and  begin  the m a t e r i a l  a l s o begin t o s t o r e  other baggage. This kind o f baggage, much more so than the m a t e r i a l things we accumulated, makes i t hard f o r us  t o move, e s p e c i a l l y t o move g r a c e f u l l y i n t o [the]  f i n a l chapter of our l i v e s . . . . We  a l l carry  a  l o t more  baggage... and  this  makes  t r a v e l d i f f i c u l t , e s p e c i a l l y the t r a v e l that i s asked of us as we grow o l d , namely, the journey t o . . . l e t go of  life.  J u l i a n o f Norwich s t a t e s that we a l l c l i n g t o God only when we no longer  cling  t o everything  else.  Richard  Rohr expresses i t t h i s way: As we get o l d e r . . . t h e task o f l i f e , is  t o begin  real  both i n terms of human growth and God, t o shed t h i n g s ,  to carry  l e s s and l e s s  baggage, t o s l i m down s p i r i t u a l l y and p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y (Rolheiser 11). With  increasing  focus  upon how he can best  approaches t h a t stage of p e r f e c t i b i l i t y  serve  God,  Martin  of the a s c e t i c l i f e i n  which h i s own w i l l  i s united  i n acceptance t o the w i l l of God.  He  he d i e s ,  Stan  i s alone  when  having  r e s o l v e h i s own long quest i n h i s f i r s t  175  driven  into  town t o  meeting a f t e r two years  with Adele. Late i n the afternoon, Martin's heart weakens a f t e r unduly e x e r t i n g himself while working i n the woods. At the intimation  t h a t h i s heart i s f a i l i n g ,  Martin has  no  first  illusions  about what i s happening, a c c e p t i n g as he has done i n the past, the r e a l i t y before him: sure now,  "He  got himself t o the f l o o r and, q u i t e  a c c e p t i n g , he l o s t  consciousness"  (Lot  192).  I f Stan  c o u l d not be p h y s i c a l l y with him i n the hour of h i s death, he i s f i t t i n g l y u n i t e d with him Adele,  he  arrives  in spirit  halfway  through  as, a f t e r h i s meeting with the  Saturday  vigil  mass i n  Ashton: The p r i e s t was  o f f e r i n g the bread and wine. He s a t a t  the very back t r y i n g t o heed the words a t the but  again  and  again  he  found  people over s y s t e m a t i c a l l y . I t was t o be merely  late....  He  had  by  space,  Stan  and  looking  the  too l a t e f o r M a r t i n  hoped t o see  and t o s i t with him t h i s time (Lot Separated  himself  altar,  him  there  196-7).  M a r t i n nevertheless are conjoined  i n time, r e s p e c t i v e l y e x p e r i e n c i n g the r e a l i t y of  176  God.  The C a t h o l i c Ethos  C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l i t y pervades B u e l l ' s f i c t i o n , embuing the novels  with  a significant  dimension  o f meaning. The moral and  transcendental depth of h i s f i c t i o n r e c e i v e d immediate  critical  a t t e n t i o n a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n o f The Pyx i n 1959 when C a t h o l i c periodical aspects  reviewers  i n particular  focused  upon t h e informing  o f C a t h o l i c i s m t h a t were inherent i n the n o v e l . Among  the  first  reviewers,  as  "a young  the P a u l i s t  Catholic  novelist  Gardiner,S.J.,  the veteran  that  study  "Buell's  Catholic  statement,"  Fathers  o f promise"  literary  o f good  soon recognized  (58). Harold  e d i t o r of America,  and e v i l  The Pyx being  a  Buell  thought  [was] o b l i q u e "really  in  not  be dismayed  critics also  i f h i s choice  o f theme draws the c a r p i n g o f  matter and manner"  (772-3).  John  The Pyx f o r a C a t h o l i c p e r i o d i c a l ,  Traynor,  identified  "the theme o f s a c r i l e g e " i n a novel t h a t was "more profound you  i t is  novel from a young Canadian w r i t e r who should  who confuse  reviewing  its  tensely written  d e t e c t i v e s t o r y " t h a t " w i l l puzzle many readers" although "a s p l e n d i d f i r s t  C.  would suspect"  i n i t s d e p i c t i o n of a  than  "call-girl...ensnared  in  demoniacal machinations...which  center about the p r o f a n a t i o n  of  the Blessed Sacrament. A tremendous a c t u a l grace i n s p i r e s her  to  revolt  against the scheme, and t h i s  leads  t o her death,  kind o f martyrdom and perhaps, a l s o , her own s a l v a t i o n " the  Critic,  Cuneo  acknowledged  "the C h r i s t i a n  a  (6). In  realism"  in a  novel t h a t d e a l t "with the c l a s h between the f o r c e s o f good and  177  evil  on  a serious l e v e l "  t h a t B u e l l was the  seeds  subjects  of  goodness,"  even  with  a  Maria  Catholic  i n Commonweal  Donegan  noted  contains, i n i t s complexities,  though  he  tidiness  of human motives"  Grant, a s s o c i a t e e d i t o r of The Ave  and  "aware t h a t e v i l  separately,  intertangling  (33)  had  treated  inconsistent  (82). The  review  by  "the  two  with  the  Rev.  John  (Boston), t h a t appeared  Pilot  placed B u e l l w i t h i n the context of other w r i t e r s of fiction: Some of the best-known n o v e l i s t s today  are those  have managed t o t r e a t  theme of  and  evil  Waugh  with s k i l l  and  the  and  Greene,  theological  d e l i c a c y . Mauriac,  to  mention  but  newcomer t o t h i s him  as  one  who  field, can  but  Bernanos,  a  produce  his f i r s t a  few,  effort  topflight  have  sought  S.J.,  i n h i s review  f o r Best  be a  stamps  novel  s p e c i f i c and s t a r t l i n g C a t h o l i c i m p l i c a t i o n s Hill,  who good  demonstrated such l i t e r a r y a b i l i t y . Mr. B u e l l may  William  in  with  (27). similarly  Sellers  t o p o s i t i o n B u e l l among h i s peers based upon the c e n t r a l  theme of The  Pyx:  Graham Greene and,  at times, Bruce M a r s h a l l have f e l t  keenly the s t r u g g l e f o r goodness i n the hearts of pushed  into  dramatize plots  and  evil  that  by  circumstances;  s t r u g g l e , they  bizarre  have  situations.  in  order  concocted  Such  a  men to  weird  method  is  comparatively easy but i t never manages t o achieve the profundity  f o r which the n o v e l i s t  178  should s t r i v e .  Mr.  B u e l l has t a l e n t , as he has shown i n t h i s novel by h i s d e l i n e a t i o n of the world e x i s t i n g a l l around us h o r r o r . With t h i s  of organized v i c e ,  i n i t s unrelieved, relentless  talent,  he  out of the Greene-Marshall of the s t u f f of l i f e  should be  to  novel.  i n The  Catholicism moral  the  foundation  Pyx in  the  an  they  essential  narrative  had mixed  and  component for  which was  classified  the  "concerned  with  morality...is clear-cut" University  of  Toronto  novel  as  "a  evil  as  quality"  critical  recognized  that  both  as  establishing  r e l a t i o n s h i p s e x i s t i n g among the c h a r a c t e r s . The reviewer  step  (224).  Nevertheless,  was  able t o  path and c r e a t e r e a l i t y out  Other o s t e n s i b l y non-Catholic reviewers responses  actually  Saturday  a the  Night  p s y c h o l o g i c a l whodunit" and  i n which  "the  (55). Watt, on the other hand, i n the regarded  Quarterly,  this  "religio-sexual  t h r i l l e r " as an a u s p i c i o u s f i r s t novel but found i t s c h i e f f a i l u r e . . . i n the absence of a s u s t a i n e d C a t h o l i c r e l i g i o u s aura throughout  the c h a i n of events b r i n g i n g  murderer and v i c t i m together. The i n t e n s e relevance of C a t h o l i c i s m t o E l i z a b e t h i s too l a t e n t or too b e l a t e d t o be  e n t i r e l y c o n v i n c i n g , and  the c l e a r  explanation  of Keerson's psychology...is a n t i - c l i m a c t i c Regardless The part  Pyx,  of the reviewer's q u a l i f i e d judgments on the c r a f t of the presence  of the  there was  (468-9).  novel  of C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l i t y  r e c e i v e d widespread  as an  essential  r e c o g n i t i o n even  though  l i m i t e d acknowledgment of the f u n c t i o n a l c e n t r a l i t y of  179  a sacramental theology i n the n o v e l . After  the  appearing moral  publication  i n the  and  periodical  sometimes,  conflicts  and  resolutions  Quarterly  recalled:  suggested,  B u e l l has  novelist"  (399).  role  that  "As  continued  to  response  recognize the  the  spiritual  Watt i n the University  his  However,  Catholicism  critical  infrequently,  first  the q u a l i t i e s  novels  Pyx,  i n B u e l l ' s novels. In h i s review  f o r example, F.W.  of these  press  though  Four Days,  reviews  The  of  almost  i s the plays  novel,  The  in  identification in  of  Toronto  Pyx,  amply  of an i n t e r e s t i n g overlooked  the  the  of the  novels,  of  "Catholic general specific  especially  its  sacramental c h a r a c t e r represented i n aspects of the sacrament of reconciliation Make  Up  the  theme  fiction.  i n Four Days,  The  Shrewsdale  of the E u c h a r i s t i n A Lot  For,  of  redemption  Harris situates  which Buell  To  appears  with  and A Lot  Exit, Make  Up  Greene,  and i n  For,  throughout briefly  to  Buell's detailing  apparent l i n k s between these C a t h o l i c w r i t e r s : As  you  read  this  compelling  and  upsetting  echoes of Graham Greene nudge at your  thriller,  mind, and  the  resemblance i s r e i n f o r c e d by the o c c a s i o n a l appearance of  an a c t u a l p r i e s t . The  mysteries of l o v e and  of  l o y a l t y and t r e a c h e r y and the c o l d d e s c r i p t i o n of  the  awful  short  things t h a t people  religious  questions  framework of the crime s t o r y The  Saturday  evil,  Night  reviewer  of  180  Four  do  to  [are]  one  another—in  discussed  in  the  (37). Days,  retrospectively  The  recalling who  had  Pyx,  observed  a developing  consistency i n  Buell  earlier showed himself master of the crime s t o r y with s e r i o u s overtones. vivid  He  o f f e r e d the  setting,  brought  sex  and  Graham Greene  same  blend  Catholic  success.  In  of  suspense,  conscience Four Days  he  done i t again. In an atmosphere of brooding boy...is not Canadian  aware of what he  writer,  not  even  has  evil...a  i s doing.... Brian  that  No  Moore  other  in  his  pseudonymous paperbacks, has done anything q u i t e l i k e it.  It  brings  to  mind  Duerrenmatt or Simenon In reviewing Four Days a  s u b t l e comparison  that  divides guilty  (25),  a l l of  narrator  but  which  i n America,  judged  the  may  novel  b o l d l y executed," found  silently  on  thoughtless  highlights  inferred  the  nothing  In be  about  the  nature  valid  book,  of  though  Curley's  "His  life  of  only  c u l t u r a l , s o c i a l sense; i t i s a l s o r i c h i n innocence  the  the  love  his  extended  honestly  i s not  edge  co-operation"  blind review  imagined  n o t i n g the e s s e n t i a l m o r a l i t y i n the  i n Tom's c h a r a c t e r :  like  razor  attitude  thoughtless  Commonweal,  "a  people  the  c o m p l i c i t y from  be. to  of  Gardiner noted t h a t "there i s  t h a t comments  which says  for Milt  work  (39-40).  which engages Tom's cooperation, love  the  poor and  and  fiction in  the  loyalty  t o the only love he knows. I f one were w r i t i n g h i s epitaph,  one  might say t h i s : he l i v e d c l e a n " (625). L i k e Curley, Martin L e v i n in  the  New  York  Times  Book  Review  181  a l s o recognized t h a t "[t]he  basic  innocence  of  his  hero...is  stunning e f f e c t i v e n e s s as the boy away from h i s small dreams" In  Buell's  acknowledge  later  reader  qualities  response  that,  University  tragedy" i n as  a  of  The  recompensed as goods  Toronto  Shrewsdale  r e s u l t of  his  i n "that  back  of  Rosengarten  considers  which i t i s B u e l l ' s  other p a r t  an ordinary, the  very  The  he  wishes  violence  healing  not  well—is upon  "how  of  our  only  the  to  In  insider  picture  mechanics  of  through  an an  of  a  a  not  review  "Job-like  is  where he  ultimately got  a l l the  Canadian  Exit  a  "to take us  Literature,  "moral  fable"  beyond the  destroy"  (94).  novel as an i n which  story,"  becomes man  organised  In  external  "Grant's  assertion  outsider"  utterly  frustrated  of  simple  by  regarding  redemption—the of h i s rage  j u s t as Baker a l s o  who  upon  more r e l i g i o u s  "illumination  the  society"  in  becomes t a i n t e d  of the wounds of h i s l o s s , but  sickening  birth  times"  essence of the  the  are  t o the e f f e c t s of such v i o l e n c e  terms, Jones considered the the  j u s t i c e but  Shrewdale  intention  they  to  Grant i s c r i m i n a l i z e d  "decent" member of s o c i e t y , who  evil  farther  annual f i c t i o n  of Job  (346).  manifestations of v i o l e n c e  with  continues  notes  when Joe  seeking  double-fold"  if  Quarterly  Exit  way  Buell  t o a consciousness formed  i n the C a t h o l i c t r a d i t i o n . Rudick, i n the the  Mr.  i s c a r r i e d f a r t h e r and  demonstrably C a t h o l i c , are appropriate  in  by  (30).  novels,  spiritual  realized  in by  eventually  as  focused  a  "fairly  the  formal  finds  human v a l u e s :  not  "rethe  h i g h l y organized s t r u c t u r e s of s o c i e t y , but the wholesomeness of  182  a r u r a l farming community" (102). W i l l i a m H i l l , i n Best  a Jesuit writing  s i m i l a r l y pointed out t h a t  Sellers,  [t]he  most important  book  is  that  it  t h i n g about t h i s  is  a  new  combination  John B u e l l  of  deep  human  i n s i g h t s and a r a r e g i f t of e x p r e s s i o n . I t begins with a h o r r i b l e and b r u t a l crime and goes on with a theme of  vengeance; but the vengeful a t t i t u d e tends t o break  down under a c o r r o s i v e warmth of a man received  a  objective,  seemingly clear  mortal  us  wound....  p r e s e n t a t i o n of  with deadly and unreasoning  whose mind has  a  mind  taken  on  new  an  confronted  v i o l e n c e [ B u e l l ] has made  look a t something t h a t i s f a r from  has  Through  aspects  in  new  our  but which  time—innocence  opposed t o b r u t a l and unjust s t r e n g t h " (258). Despite  the  recognition Buell  received  The  for  Pyx  in  C a t h o l i c p e r i o d i c a l s , much o f which a n t i c i p a t e d a f u t u r e w r i t i n g career  filled  with promise,  the response  t o h i s novels  and  to  the meaningful C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l i t y t o be found i n them, became more  muted,  Playground  albeit  in  non-existent,  1976.  If  i n Playground  presence  the  after  absence  d i d not  the  of  attract  a  publication  manifest  Catholic  of  Catholic  reviewers,  at  l e a s t the human challenge d e p i c t e d i n one man's s u r v i v a l t o f i n d new  life  response Guidry  and  to  live  for  another  from other sources. In the regarded  ingenuity,  and  Playground  as  p e r s i s t e n c e , and  183  "a  day  elicited  Christian  tribute  i t should  to  a  thoughtful  Science  Monitor,  human  send  a  courage, shiver  of  g r a t i t u d e through the w e l l - s h e l t e r e d , w e l l - f e d reader, cozy i n a f a m i l i a r world," u n f o r t u n a t e l y not i n d i c a t i n g t o whom or t o what one should express one's g r a t i t u d e (27). Gary Bogart a l s o viewed the novel as an e x i s t e n t i a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of one "forced  to  fight  for  i n g e n u i t y . . . . And  survival  i f the  equipped  only  person with  protagonist's struggle to  being  his  own  survive i s  somewhat l e s s than h e r o i c , i t w i l l evoke a responsive chord i n a generation brought up with the knowledge t h a t t o persevere i s t o survive" to  (698), presumably without  effect  a  rescue.  The  anyone l i k e  existential  nature  John Sweetgrass  of  was  Playground  a l s o the b a s i s of P h i l i p D i Febo's review i n which he p o s i t i o n s the  novel  in  relation  Catholic writer, ambivalent nature was  Joseph  force."  to  the  "extreme  Conrad, and  During  fiction"  of  h i s "idea of nature  Morison's  indifferent to his plight;  wilderness  another as  an  experience,  a f t e r h i s rescue,  nature  c o u l d be viewed i n r e t r o s p e c t as being purgative, having healed him of h i s e a r l i e r d i s p o s i t i o n : "Thus Morrison [ s i c ] , during h i s o r d e a l and a f t e r h i s rescue, i s f o r c e d t o confront the r e a l i t i e s of  his plight,  t o understand  the changes he  accept the proximity of death" is  indifferent  undergoes, and  to  (Di Febo 35). D i Febo, however,  t o the n o t i o n of purgation i n s o f a r as i t has  a  C a t h o l i c o r i e n t a t i o n , a motif not at a l l u n f a m i l i a r i n B u e l l ' s l a t e r novels. If  purgation  is  very  much  a  part  of  Playground,  then  atonement, as Lawrence Rungren has pointed out, i s the o p e r a t i v e motive i n A Lot  To  Make  Up  For  (111). For Konkel, the c h a l l e n g e  184  of Stan Hagen i s t h a t remorse  he  has  "he must expunge the burdens of g u i l t  been  carrying  (C16); f o r another reviewer, "quest  to  resurrect  drugs"  (104). However, the  atonement  and  a  healing  absent  fiction,  which  disappeared deserving  was  from  his  spiritual  nature of  in  the  novel  the  Eucharist the  by  most  hell"  and  alcohol  the  process  i n promoting  range  evident  in  The  reviews  as  a  of  Pyx,  reviews.  of the  healing To  is the  i t affects his  appears  characteristic  of r e c o g n i t i o n i n h i s more recent  and  particularly  B u e l l ' s C a t h o l i c i s m and how so  private  "healing i s [Stan's] g o a l " i n h i s  throughout  p r o f e s s i o n a l readers,  in  r e l a t i o n s h i p destroyed  sacramental e f f i c a c y of noticeably  f o r years  and  to  have  feature  fiction.  I f there has been a tendency by reviewers and c r i t i c s a l i k e t o neglect or d i s r e g a r d the e f f e c t s of B u e l l ' s C a t h o l i c i s m upon his  fiction,  this  deficiency  has  in  part  appearance of i n c i s i v e c r i t i c a l analyses the  s i g n i f i c a n c e of the  Keith  Garebian's  Shrewsdale  underlying  examination establishes  Exit  of a  been o f f s e t by  which have focused  spirituality  The  Pyx,  general  Four  i n the  upon  novels. and  Days,  metaphysical  the  The  pattern  in  B u e l l ' s f i c t i o n r a t h e r than one which i s d i s t i n c t i v e l y C a t h o l i c . Predicated  upon  the  perception  that  "Buell's  vision  metaphysical r a t h e r than merely " e s c a p i s t , " much as i s the i n Graham Greene's v i s i o n , " Garebian examines how demonstrate real guilt,  and  the  the  symbiotic  unreal,  deception  and  185  good  evil,  self-knowledge.  case  B u e l l ' s novels  relationship and  is  between  the  innocence  and  Buell  traces  quests  for  soul-satisfaction  characters past a l i n e  made  by  his  of no-return, and  he  main  i s less  i n t e r e s t e d i n s o l v i n g a crime than he i s i n e x p l o r i n g the  mystery  Course"  of  an  i n e x o r a b l y decaying  world  ("Real  74). The  Garebian takes h i s cue from Jack T r u d e l , the t a x i d r i v e r i n Pyx,  who  i s traumatized by the p s y c h i c d i s s o c i a t i o n between h i s  fanciful Lucy's  imagination and  body f a l l  sidewalk  happiness about  his  external,  internal  should  be  the  "ease  overwhelming u n r e a l i t y  was  too  disconcerting  violent  assumed  The  (Pyx  of  having  physical  conviction  b e a u t i f u l women and  dismiss  reality  seen  Elizabeth  from the heights of an apartment b l o c k t o the  below, an  challenged  the  that  end and  of  actuality  ease, his  pleasure  sexual  f o r T r u d e l who  reality  found  that  (Pyx  13).  before he  had  [the a c t u a l t h i n g ] as o u t s i d e the r e a l course of  14).  The  real  course  of  life,  and  fantasies  pleasant power"  of the manifest  which  Garebian  him "to  life"  believes,  c h a r a c t e r i z e s t h a t d u a l i t y o r i n t e r p l a y between the outer world and the inner world which produces that  afflicts  Buell's  the kind of p s y c h i c t e n s i o n  p r o t a g o n i s t s . Within the outer world  or  m i l i e u i s where [g]ood  and  evil—with  all  their  attendant  c o m p l i c a t i o n s — g r o w w i t h i n the " r e a l course of and  Buell's  interest  lies  life",  i n observing the tensions  between good and e v i l w i t h i n the c o n t r o l s o f a m i l i e u . Buell's  vision  is  informed  186  with  a  sense  that  the  mutable decay of m i l i e u x impinges upon the inner world of  man,  thereby  creating  c o n f u s i o n and  emphasizing  human l i m i t a t i o n s ("Real Course" 75). In  this  interplay  Garebian  between  milieu  and c h a r a c t e r ,  not see "a conclusion...achieved through  a  de  r e s o l u t i o n of i n i q u i t y . " What B u e l l o b l i g e s the reader t o  rigeur  do  does  or c o n f l i c t  i s "to f o l l o w  until  the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s involvement  with  reality  such time as a l i n e o f no-return has been c r o s s e d . What  survives... is  the " r e a l course of l i f e , "  t h a t i s , a measure o f  self-knowledge  f o r the p r o t a g o n i s t trapped i n a decaying world  ("Real  75). There  Course"  protagonists  as they  reality—the knowledge"  real in  i s , then, a breakthrough  go beyond  course  which  of  the  a line  f o r Buell's  o f no-return  life—of protagonist  "a  measure  i n t o the of  experiences  self"soul-  satisfaction." At of  t h i s p o i n t , Garebian h e s i t a t e s t o extend the r e a l i z a t i o n  what he terms  ("Real  Course"  the quest  after  peace  and s o u l - s a t i s f a c t i o n  82) i n order t o p l a c e i t w i t h i n the context of  C a t h o l i c s p i r i t u a l i t y . For Garebian, B u e l l ' s novels e x h i b i t "no leap cachet.  in  t o God,  tortuous  discovery of f a i t h  However, s a l v a t i o n i s s o u g h t — n o t  i n the Greene  i n r e l i g i o u s terms but  a metaphysical sense o f harmony" ("Real Course" 83). Garebian  gives l i t t l e of  no  Buell's  Lucy's  i n d i c a t i o n , i f any, of the meaningful Catholicism  spirituality  "flirtation"  with  contribution  i n h i s n o v e l s . For Garebian,  in  The  Pyx  i s consistently  C a t h o l i c i s m . Nor does  187  Elizabeth  Elizabeth termed fare  a  much  b e t t e r i n the c l i m a c t i c moment of r e c e i v i n g the Host when " i n so doing  she expresses  her fundamental  83).  If  more  there  is  to  goodness"  Elizabeth's  ("Real  action  "fundamental goodness," there i s considerably  quite  quotation this  know what  t o do with  grace,  the word i n  suggesting  that  has nothing t o do with a c t u a l o r s a n c t i f y i n g  grace but i s something, perhaps some inner resource, to,  some  Garebian does  placing  marks each time he uses i t , thereby  grace r e a l l y  than  more t o the a c t i o n  of d i v i n e grace i n and upon B u e l l ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s . not  Course"  which  leads  i n Garebian's word, " s o u l - s a t i s f a c t i o n " ("Real Course" 74 e t  seq.).  Garebian's schema of B u e l l ' s v i s i o n i s p r e d i c a t e d  metaphysic  which  perception  o f what the f i c t i o n u l t i m a t e l y means i s truncated  the  lacks  a sacramental  dimension.  upon a  As such, h i s by  absence of any s p i r i t u a l s i g n i f i c a n c e beyond the characters  experiencing  self-knowledge and some New Age s o u l - s a t i s f a c t i o n .  A  even a c e l e b r a t i o n  clearer exposition,  presence i n B u e l l ' s overview of B u e l l ' s who had recognized  fiction, first  o f the C a t h o l i c  appears i n Harry J . Cargas's 1968  two novels.  E a r l i e r , Edmund  B u e l l i n The New Yorker  Wilson,  as "[o]ne o f the most  i n t e r e s t i n g younger Canadian n o v e l i s t s " (115), could not f a i l t o n o t i c e the anomaly of B u e l l as a w r i t e r : He i s i n the curious for  a Canadian,  excellent  novels  p o s i t i o n , probably p o s s i b l e  of w r i t i n g which  he  i n the E n g l i s h regards  French but which are published and  little  language  as e s s e n t i a l l y  i n New York and P a r i s  known i n e i t h e r French o r B r i t i s h  188  only  Canada  (120). Also  wondering  why  Buell's  fiction  had  not r e c e i v e d  more  widespread c r i t i c a l a t t e n t i o n , Cargas f u r t h e r points out t h a t i n The  Pyx  and Four  Days  we come t o r e a l i z e that the main characters are saved because o f t h e i r personal innocence has no p l a c e . mysteries—he  writes  D i v i n e Love. This which  innocence i n a world where John B u e l l w r i t e s  about  human  love  seems u n l i k e l y , given  h i s characters  a r e subject,  more than  absorbed  by  the violence  but the v i o l e n c e  which these people s u f f e r i s t r u l y p u r g a t i v e . They a r e p u r i f i e d i n the t o t a l l y C h r i s t i a n sense (28). This C h r i s t i a n and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y C a t h o l i c sense i s c e n t r a l t o the a c t i o n i n The Pyx: Elizabeth...who confession, sees  i t  earlier  kneels and,  it....Keerson  had  before in  an  refused  the s t o l e n awful  to  go  to  Host  when she  moment,  consumes  murders E l i z a b e t h , but the author  will  have us know t h a t t h i s very t r o u b l e d woman has a t l a s t found t r u e peace i n God's love  (28).  For Cargas, the s p i r i t u a l d e s t i n y o f E l i z a b e t h i s a microcosm o f an e s c h a t o l o g i c a l t r u t h : Elizabeth's completely  greatness  is  her  abandoning  herself  and r e c k l e s s l y f o r God. Keerson's e v i l n e s s  i s i n h i s having been completely In one sense, a woman d i d crush  189  overwhelmed by Satan. this  serpent's  head  (30). In Four  as w e l l , Cargas i d e n t i f i e d what we  Days  redemptive progress of Tom  recognize as the  a f t e r he has k i l l e d R i t c h :  The twelve year o l d runs away and a c c i d e n t a l l y meets a p r i e s t . He pours h i s heart out, u n w i t t i n g l y under the c o n f e s s i o n a l s e a l . Soon a f t e r , he drowns, but t h i s a c t of  confession,  along  with  his  own  basic  innocence,  leads t o h i s s a l v a t i o n (29). Buell,  Cargas  antagonists murderous  notes,  as  "is a  well"  havoc  conquers e v i l "  (29)  man  whose  for after  Keerson  has  Buell's  a l l the  incited,  twenty  early  years  novels,  teacher,  Gerald  [e]ven  Buell's  fiction,  seeing  progression...which  this Days  Cargas's  Catholic  Buell's  longtime  friend  consolidated  i n i t , as  has  a  to  evil  man  can be  seen  (29).  after  MacGuigan,S.J.,  extends  s a c r i l e g i o u s and  (29). S i m i l a r l y , R i t c h i n Four  " i n the l i g h t of u l t i m a t e c h a r i t y " Almost  compassion  he  clearly  told  his  reading and  onetime  response  Barbara  religious  of  to  Black,  "a  dimension."  In  B u e l l ' s f i r s t four novels, he saw a developing p a t t e r n : They're  slightly  novel, Four a  boy  Days,  surrounded  there's The Pyx, the  out  of  first. by  sequence.  Take  the  I t ' s about a t o t a l  evil  and  overcome  by  her,  but  innocent, i t . Then  i n which a s i n n e r (the c a l l - g i r l  heroin a d d i c t i o n ) i s n e a r l y done i n by  around  second  she's  saved  at  the  last  the  with evil  moment  by  r e f u s i n g t o take p a r t i n the black mass... Then you've  190  got  The  Shrewsdale  in  Exit,  vengeance i s redeemed and nature.  And  individual  finally,  finds  which  a  man  r e c o n c i l e d by  salvation  contact  in  Playground,  in  seeking  nature  with  which  by  an  stripping  himself of everything unnecessary" ( J 9 ) . Such a p a t t e r n of l o s s , gain, redemption, and s a l v a t i o n can even be  extended t o B u e l l ' s f i f t h  which  the  presence  sacramentally  of  i n the  novel,  God's  A  love  Lot  To  in  the  Make  Up  in  For,  world,  realized  s a c r i f i c e of the mass, r e s t o r e s and  heals  broken humanity. In  the  B u e l l has master has  of  forty  years  since  his  novel  was  published,  r e c e i v e d considerable i f not primary r e c o g n i t i o n as the  psychological t h r i l l e r ,  tended t o obscure what has  namely  first  that  Buell's  novels  an  identification  been apparent t o some  s u c c e s s f u l l y manifest  a  a  which  readers,  number  of  d i s t i n c t i v e features of C a t h o l i c w r i t i n g . In t h i s r e s p e c t , B u e l l has  acknowledged t h a t  some awareness  upon the  regarding  G i l b e r t D r o l e t : "I was and  C a t h o l i c context"  Buell  has  disclaimed  least  whenever  this  who  p u b l i c a t i o n of  his  readers  writing i n a f a i r l y ("Conversation" recognition  designation  placed w i t h i n quotation  marks. One  as has  were,  The  Pyx  had  explaining  conscious  68). However, on a  he  religious occasion  "Catholic writer,"  been  qualified  would expect,  then,  to  by  at  being  that i t  i s from the image of some type of s t e r e o t y p i c a l C a t h o l i c w r i t e r t h a t B u e l l would want t o d i s t a n c e himself, presumably a w r i t e r i n the m o r a l i s t i c , d i d a c t i c ,  i n t e l l e c t u a l l y polemical  191  tradition  of C a t h o l i c w r i t i n g , sometimes p a r o c h i a l i n p o i n t of view, o f t e n an  instrument  of  evangelical  outreach,  that  had  characterized  some C a t h o l i c f i c t i o n u n t i l the mid-twentieth century when B u e l l began  writing  his  first  novel.  This  tradition,  if  it  e x i s t s , has no r e l a t i o n s h i p t o B u e l l ' s w r i t i n g . On the the  Catholicism  of  his  novels  is  simply  a  r e a l i t y which i s as a c c e s s i b l e t o those who  still  contrary,  reflection are  of  a  i n d i f f e r e n t to  C a t h o l i c i s m as i t i s t o b e l i e v e r s . From a s e c u l a r p o i n t of view, such  demonstrably  operation  of  Catholic  grace,  breakthrough of God accessible within  realities  and  the  as  justification,  concomitant  the  transcendental  i n t o the world through the sacraments remain the  context  of  myth; t o  Catholics,  however,  the p o r t r a y a l i n f i c t i o n of the c e n t r a l i t y of the Real Presence, the  e f f i c a c y of  grace  through  response context a  as  within  Days;  of Exit;  the  Pyx; Val  suffering  and  to  of a  transcendence reality  fiction.  Tom, Laurent  the  which  the  salvific  redemption  what  a "more r e a l r e a l i t y "  present  at  sacraments, and  corresponding  paradigm  The  the  Buell  evokes  has  a  called  exists  in  has  effect  an  Buell's  another  Insofar  novels,  upon  the  of  and  love  of  i t is  the  Host  in  from Montreal, f i n d i n g c o n s o l a t i o n  i n his confession  the  as  dynamics  to  the  local  priest  Joe Grant's urge f o r vengeance o f f s e t by work, the nature,  of  spiritual in  ("Bread and Wine" 14).  E l i z a b e t h Lucy's r e c e p t i o n  a l t a r boy  operation  Ellen  Spence Morison i n Playground  Shefford being  in  The  purged of  in  Four  healing Shrewsdale  his  notion  t h a t t e c h n o l o g i c a l e f f i c i e n c y i s the proper end of mankind; Stan  192  Hagen and Martin Lacey i n A Lot presence but the Real protagonist's Catholics  life  non-Catholics Morison  like  Make  f i n d i n g not j u s t  Up For  Presence as the f o u n t a i n of grace:  becomes  accessing  To  meaningful,  the sacramental  life  Joe Grant i n The  i n Playground  who  portrayed  either  as  o f the Church, o r as  Shrewsdale  experience  each  Exit  and Spence  the p u r i f y i n g e f f e c t of  God's presence throughout c r e a t i o n . Reconciliation, only  exist,  redemption,  of course,  and u l t i m a t e l y s a l v a t i o n can  i n the b e l i e f ,  assumption, t h a t God i s w e l l - d i s p o s e d is  or  f o r some  on the  towards humanity, f o r i t  only on t h i s b a s i s t h a t there i s hope f o r a l l who are l o s t .  God's love f o r a l l t h a t he has created, which i s communicated t o mankind  as  divine  novels,  spiritual  efficacious integral  grace, healing,  blessing  or  heals  benediction"  messenger  humanity.  sometimes expressed benediction,  part of the process  rehabilitated  broken  In B u e l l ' s  i n terms o f an  i s represented  as  an  of redemption. The a c t i o n o f the  priest  who  "raised  his  hand  in  (Pyx 122) over the departing E l i z a b e t h Lacy i s not  a meaningless o r an i d l e gesture. B l e s s i n g s r e c l a i m c r e a t i o n f o r God,  and  Elizabeth Blessed Days,  in  The  i s realized  Sacrament Tom  the e f f e c t  of  this  reclamation  upon  j u s t hours l a t e r when she safeguards the  from demonic  and R i t c h  p r i e s t ' s prayers wife  Pyx  s a c r i l e g e . At the end o f  are s i m i l a r l y  commended  f o r the dead. In The Shrewsdale  t o God Exit,  Four  i n the the l a t e  and daughter o f Joe Hagen were "a s o r t o f b e n e d i c t i o n t o  the p l a c e where he was" (SE 255), out i n the f i e l d s  193  harvesting  the crop f o r E l l e n beyond  the  S h e f f o r d , thereby c o n s e c r a t i n g those  Shrewsdale  exit  t o become the  appropriate  w i t h i n a few days f o r Joe's t r a n s f o r m a t i o n . One i n Playground,  John  replicates  the  Sweetgrass'  nature  of  ministration  a  blessing,  fields setting  f i n d s , too, that  t o Spence  thereby  Morison  heightening  Morison's consciousness of what h i s humanity means, i n much the same way,  Martin Lacey  in A  Lot  To  Make  Up  himself  For,  an  instrument of grace, prays t h a t God w i l l b l e s s Stan Hagen i n h i s new  found peace and r e c o n c i l i a t i o n . Intrinsic  redemption  in  B u e l l ' s novels i s the a c t i o n of D i v i n e Love which f o r g i v e s  and  seeks  to  to restore  Buell's  each  of  those  these  portrayals  m a r g i n a l i z e d by  Catholic  way  an  i s the grace which f a c i l i t a t e s  as  explicitly Lacey seek  heirs  to  extent  Catholic  grace  that  manifests  kingdom  is in a  humanly (Duffy  and  349).  human s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n  as  humanity t o i t s r i g h t f u l  of  God.  It  is  the  grace  a v a i l a b l e sacramentally t o E l i z a b e t h Lucy and M a r t i n  in particular the  the  live  eternally"  w e l l as being the grace which e l e v a t e s destiny  abounds i n  to healing  "empowerment t o  enter i n t e r p e r s o n a l communion with God This  s i n . Grace  novels, a grace which i n a d d i t i o n  particularly  of  of  action  fiction  implicitly  redemption  Buell's  the  the e s s e n t i a l  and  fiction of  of  r e p r e s e n t i n g the  Catholic  ethos  their  either  grace,  to  those own  protagonists  free  will.  To  who the  directly  or  indirectly  i t becomes  more  meaningful  "more r e a l  r e a l i t y " which i s  of h i s novels. In t h i s ,  Buell i s  not alone among C a t h o l i c n o v e l i s t s , at l e a s t on the b a s i s of the  194  definition  of  proposed by  an  e s s e n t i a l q u a l i t y of  George Weigel who  has  a  great  Catholic  suggested t h a t the  principal  element which makes a C a t h o l i c novel great i s the way i t represents the A  operation of  novel  is  both  believes—and at  the  Priest: A  end  i n which  grace:  great  and  conveys with of  novel  George  Catholic literary  Bernanos'  i f the  author  skill—the  truth  Diary  of  a  Country  "Grace i s everywhere."  great  C a t h o l i c novel  is filled  s e n s i b i l i t y . The o l d Baltimore  with  a  sacramental  helps here. A  Catechism  sacrament i s an outward s i g n i n s t i t u t e d by God t o give grace.  T r a n s l a t e t h a t i n t o a worldview and  sacramental located  sensibility: in  some  the  you  extraordinary  alternative  get  is  universe;  a  not the  e x t r a o r d i n a r y i s j u s t over there, on the other s i d e of the  ordinary.  Everyday  things  and  ordinary  become v e s s e l s of grace, not by magical but by being what and who Vessels novels, Such  a  their  of  grace  presence  perspective,  extrapolated  in  are  not  especially  fiction,  is  transformation  they are (9).  difficult  testifying  people  to  to  his  when  conducive  find  in  sacramental  it to  is  Buell's vision.  imaginatively  the  creation  p r o t a g o n i s t s about whom there i s something more, one  might  than meets the eye. A l l of B u e l l ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s experience form of temporal or s p i r i t u a l transformation;  say, some  however, i n order  t o make c l e a r the nature of t h a t transformation, one  195  of  subordinate  character i n the novel serves as a mediator t o the his  protagonist,  r o l e being t o g i v e s p i r i t u a l or sometimes p s y c h o l o g i c a l and  social  meaning  to  the  protagonist's  actions.  novels, B u e l l employs a time honored technique e s t a b l i s h i n g one character who otherwise to  be unresolved.  the  novel,  retrospectively t e l l  his  early  from the t h e a t r e ,  can j u s t i f y or e x p l a i n what would  T h i s e x p o s i t i o n occurs  from  In  which  perspective  i n the  the  epilogue  apologist  can  "something more" about the p r o t a g o n i s t whom  he has encountered i n the c e n t r a l a c t i o n of the n a r r a t i v e . T h i s is  the  role,  knows who can  of d e t e c t i v e Henderson i n The  he  and what brought E l i z a b e t h Lucy t o her death. Only  he  to  "something  r e f l e c t i n g upon how grimaced with  the  more"  he can  about  advise her  after a l l ,  novel,  charged  functioning  of  sensibility  that  he  is  f a t h e r of her death:  "He  an  (Pyx  good"  with  imagination  looks  174).  spiritual  when  beyond the  appears even more f o r m a l l y  Such a  truth,  informed  by  a one  epilogue  f o r Tom  Montreal  bank  another  loser,  crime.  and  robbery a  R i t c h , too,  R i t c h . To as  well  the  as  s t r e e t k i d who i s perceived  to has  to  of  life's  technique Four  Days  spiritual  p o l i c e i n v e s t i g a t i n g the the been  press, an  Tom  is  accessory  around V a l Laurent  easy going layabout, a r e s i d e n t lounge l i z a r d who  196  the  sacramental  where the p r i e s t from Ste. Marie becomes the moral and apologist  tell  conclusion  same e x p o s i t o r y  i n the  to  typifies  appearance of  l o s e r s t o f i n d a v e s s e l of grace. The also  Elizabeth  i r o n y as he thought t h a t the news he had  the C o l o n e l was, to  Pyx.  Only  point  then,  just to  as being  a an  i s t a i n t e d and  teased about the nature of h i s s e x u a l i t y even by h i s s e l f - s t y l e d f r i e n d i n the underworld. A f t e r the deaths of Tom priest  focuses  upon the  not  upon the  manifestation  of  corruption that  human goodness  and R i t c h , the  a f f e c t e d them  that  was  present  t h e i r l i v e s . Only the p r i e s t can convey t h e i r s p i r i t u a l namely t h a t Tom i n any way In  and R i t c h may  later  in  reality,  possess God's love more f u l l y than  t h a t they experienced Buell's  but  human l o v e .  novels,  the  role  of  the  observant  i n t e r p r e t e r of the hidden grace w i t h i n the p r o t a g o n i s t s , such as those who  have d i e d i n The  presence  in  protagonist  the  narrative  who,  albeit  transforming process Shrewsdale  Grant  and Four Days,  Pyx  of  at  a  arm's  from t a k i n g  found  length,  friend  the  law  the  facilitates  the  i s instrumental  i n t o h i s own  the  of  i n which the p r o t a g o n i s t i s engaged. In  d e t e c t i v e Sparrs  Exit,  new  i s replaced by  hands;  i n saving in  The Joe  Playground,  John Sweetgrass l i t e r a l l y saves Spence Morison, thereby  enabling  Morison t o r e a l i z e h i s humanity more f u l l y i n the f u t u r e ; and i n A  Lot  To  Make  Up  For  Martin  Lacey  provides  the  appropriate  environment t o nurture Stan Hagen as Stan d i s t a n c e s himself from a  ruinous  and  illusory  life  of  drugs and  a l c o h o l i n order  to  deepen h i s f a i t h i n the r e a l i t y of God's grace made a v a i l a b l e t o those,  such  as  Stan  himself,  who  seek  i t . As  subordinate  characters i n the novels, d e t e c t i v e Sparrs, John Sweetgrass Martin  Lacey  are  ministrations  to  of the  particular  importance  respective  protagonists  p r o t a g o n i s t s towards t h e i r transformation.  197  insofar  as  and  their  assist  the  In t h i s sense,  these  facilitators p r i e s t s who Pyx  and  become  priests,  like  those  earlier  b l e s s e d and were a b l e s s i n g t o E l i z a b e t h Lucy i n The  Tom  Shrewsdale  surrogate  and  Ritch  in  Four  Sparrs i s a mediator  Exit,  Consequently,  Days.  in  of grace t o Joe  The  Grant,  p r o v i d i n g him with a v i a b l e o p t i o n of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n which  will  r e s t o r e the f u g i t i v e t o the community at l a r g e and i n p a r t i c u l a r to  a lasting  John  Playground,  harmony  presence w i t h i n the f a m i l y of E l l e n  with  insuperable  Sweetgrass  the  same  environment  challenge to  Spence  encounter with Sweetgrass, sense  of  some  of  the  knows how  to l i v e  that  Morison.  Shefford.  i n balance  presented Even  in  an  In and  almost  his  brief  Morison i s imbued with a heightened  best  attributes  of  human  nature:  a  d i s r e g a r d of pretence, an understanding of the n a t u r a l world i n which one l i v e s ,  and the foregone c o n c l u s i o n that one i s always  one's  keeper.  brother's  Sweetgrass  to  which  There  Morison  s p i r i t u a l bond which develops  is  a  special  responds,  grace  thereby  in  John  deepening  a  between them. While Morison never  r e v e a l s a l l of the t h i n g s that he says he has come t o know as a r e s u l t of h i s wilderness experience, what he has experienced i n the  presence of Sweetgrass  apparently c o n t r i b u t e s  substantially  to  those i n s i g h t s , namely those "things" t h a t he t e l l s h i s w i f e  he  has  come t o know. The  continues i n A Lot Sweetgrass,  To  Make  image of p r i e s t l y Up  For  ministration  also  where M a r t i n Lacey, who,  like  i s himself a q u i e t presence l i v i n g c l o s e t o nature  i n the country, asks before the Real Presence a t mass t o be instrument of grace f o r Stan Hagen's s p i r i t u a l  198  restoration.  an  real  The  i n c o r p o r a t i o n of God  and  physical  marks  a  presence  culmination  in  directly  on  the  the  i n t o the n a r r a t i v e as  altar  exercise  at the Ashton  of  Buell's  a  church  sacramental  imagination. In e a r l i e r novels, the n a r r a t i v e presence of God i s more muted. He enters r a t h e r s u r r e p t i t i o u s l y i n t o the a c t i o n of The  Pyx,  suddenly becoming a c c e s s i b l e t o E l i z a b e t h Lucy  momentous s a l v i f i c present  t o Tom  focused  upon  moment. In  a t mass and  the  nature  Four  Days,  God  i s sacramentally  i n h i s c o n f e s s i o n but Tom  of  human  i n one  love than  being  i s more  noticeably  responsive t o the love of God. God i s not a n a r r a t i v e r e a l i t y i n The  Shrewsdale  Exit  and i s present only as a passing thought i n  Spence Morison's mind i n Playground. present at a l l ,  In these novels, i f God i s  He i s shown t o be momentarily  n a r r a t i v e a c t i o n but then recedes  instrumental i n a  from d i r e c t  view  o n l y t o be  r e a l i z e d i n d i r e c t l y through words of b l e s s i n g , the m i n i s t r a t i o n s of p r i e s t s , and the  m a n i f e s t a t i o n of grace i n nature. However,  sacramentality has a dual nature. While i t i s i n the nature of a sacrament  t o be a s i g n t h a t denotes  a sacred r e a l i t y ,  i t i s at  the same time, as B u e l l has s a i d , a "more r e a l r e a l i t y "  insofar  as God marvelously breaks through i n t o the time and space of our world. U l t i m a t e l y , the sacramental  imagination, i n a d d i t i o n  suggesting another r e a l i t y , seeks t o p o r t r a y the l i v i n g of  God  i n the world,  Catholics  in  the  a presence  Eucharist.  sacramental presence of God Ashton  In  to  presence  which becomes p r i v i l e g e d  for  A  the  Lot  To  Make  Up  For,  i s m a n i f e s t l y r e a l on the a l t a r at  church, a presence which Lacey  199  affirms  i s "real  t o the  p o i n t o f making a l l e l s e has  real"  (Lot  218). For two years, Stan  been seeking God a f t e r a b j u r i n g h i s abusive youth; M a r t i n ,  newly conscious of h i s m o r t a l i t y , i s p r e p a r i n g t o be r e c e i v e d by God. P h y s i c a l l y , they share a common g o a l i n the work t o be done on Martin's small farm; s p i r i t u a l l y , they seek t o conform lives  to  their  philosophically  faith. about  While  their  they  have  occasion  experiences, each  their  to  talk  i s hesitant t o  acknowledge o r a f f i r m the meaning o f any s p i r i t u a l i n f l u e n c e i n his  life,  working plans,  at least  until  after  the end o f the f i r s t  week of  together when Stan and M a r t i n , unaware o f each other's encounter  attending  mass.  one another What  i n the Ashton  Buell  has  congregation w h i l e  envisioned  in  this  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y C a t h o l i c s c e n a r i o i s the s p i r i t u a l union Stan and  M a r t i n come  to realize,  not j u s t  between  themselves  but  c o n j o i n t l y with the sacramental presence o f God, the c e n t r a l i t y of  which  has a d u a l  sanctifying  grace  well"  (Lot  life  giving  importance.  Here  o r , t o use Stan  i s the f o u n t a i n  of a l l  Hagen's metaphor, the "one  168) from which those who s p i r i t u a l l y t h i r s t can draw water.  Moreover,  the  Real  Presence  i s the  e u c h a r i s t i c banquet a v a i l a b l e t o a l l , u n i t i n g those who share i t in  the community  o f God's  c e n t r a l i t y o f sacrament has  incorporated within  people.  In t h i s  evocation of the  i n the l i v e s of Stan and M a r t i n , B u e l l h i s narrative  a fundamental  tenet o f  C a t h o l i c i s m . I n s o f a r as such C a t h o l i c p r a c t i c e i s a p p r o p r i a t e t o the dynamics of the f i c t i o n ,  the C a t h o l i c i s m  i s not i n t r u s i v e  but e x i s t s as an e s s e n t i a l component i n the n a r r a t i v e . B u e l l has  200  readily  employed  many  perspectives  derived  from  h i s Catholic  background such as those r e l a t i n g t o the nature of r e a l i t y , the i n f l u e n c e of e v i l , and the r o l e o f the sacraments. These i n t u r n are  appropriately  reconciliation  employed i n the development o f h i s themes o f  and redemption.  To  the extent  that  Buell  has  created an e f f e c t i v e i n t e g r a t i o n o f aspects of f a i t h and f i c t i o n in  h i s novels,  h i s work continues  both as compelling, the  t o merit  critical  attention,  m a s t e r f u l l y c r a f t e d novels and as p o r t r a y i n g  "more r e a l r e a l i t y " o f mature C a t h o l i c  201  fiction.  Works C i t e d  Rev. of A Lot  To  Make  Up  For,  by John B u e l l . Kirkus  58.7  Reviews  (1 A p r i l 1990): 445-6. Rev. of A Lot  To  Make  Up For,  by John B u e l l . Publishers  Weekly  237:14 (6 A p r i l 1990): 104. 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