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A Morbid Taste For Bones, By Ellis Peters, And Favorite Father Brown Stories, By G.K. Chesterton

1264 words - 5 pages

Think nothing exciting ever happens in the life of a clergyman? These two thrilling books, A Morbid Taste for Bones, by Ellis Peters, and Favorite Father Brown Stories, by G.K. Chesterton, may make you reassess that presupposition. Favorite Father Brown Stories concerns an English priest named Brown who lives in 19th century England, and takes on various odd cases that come his way in everyday life. Alternately, A Morbid Taste for Bones concerns an older monk named Brother Cadfael who lives in the middle ages, and is caught in the middle of the murder of a farmer in a small village. Desperately, he tries to figure out who murdered the man, to appease the farmer’s livid daughter Sioned. Since both Brown and Cadfael are of the priesthood, it is fascinating comparing the two characters and seeing how they are similar, and how they are different. Particularly, they contrast in terms of the time and setting they live in, and also in their methods of solving cases, but they are similar in how they both share the same view that man is a depraved being, capable of both great virtue and terrible evil. One thing that separates the two characters of Father Brown and Brother Cadfael is the world that the two men live in, which is separated by several centuries of time and a seemingly different reality. For instance, Brown lives in the very down to earth, highly materialistic world of 1800’s England. In all of his stories, there seem to be very little, if any, reference to the supernatural. Actually, in one Brown story, “The Salad of Colonel Cray”, when a colonel suspects that he was placed under a curse by the head of a cult because of odd occurrences such as being slightly touched and having blood run down his neck violently, Brown ends up revealing that the man was actually being abused by his rival military partner (Chesterton, 88). The Brown stories seem to go out of the way to disprove the supernatural. Meanwhile, Brother Cadfael lives in the medieval time of 1137, where the tales of the superstitious and supernatural abound endlessly. Proving the point, at the end of one of Cadfael’s adventures, A Morbid Taste for Bones, a village known as Gwytherin experiences amazing healings such as the blind seeing and the lame walking, simply because they were standing on the ground where a dead saint was buried (Peters, 195-196). Now, while not implying that the supernatural does not exist (that would be foolish and inconsistent with the Biblical worldview), it is fascinating seeing how different the literary worlds are that Brown and Cadfael inhabit. Another area that Cadfael and Brown differ in is their methods of solving cases. In all of his adventures, Brown never is a very demanding and upfront character. Rather, he stays in the background, observing all the characters and events that are surrounding him. This comes in handy when he suddenly has a strange case to try to solve. When an actress is murdered for instance, in “The Man in the Passage”,...

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