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Repentance: The Story Of The Prodigal Son

1771 words - 7 pages

The “Prodigal Son” is much more than a short story. Though seemingly simple and straightforward, it encompasses many important themes and symbols. The three main characters (Father, younger song, older son) all represent one aspect of the religious undertone that is carried throughout the duration of this tale. While the concept of family is prevalent in this story, what is actually more important is the symbol of Jesus and his followers that is communicated through the idea of family. The family embodies the idea of God, sinners, and Pharisees. Each character in the prodigal son represents one of these three symbols, and through the use of the symbols the audience is able to accept the idea of sinning, and layer it with the idea of repentance, in order to maintain the religious foundation this story was built upon.
The first symbol that we see in the story is the younger son. Right away in the first sentence we gather a sense of the type of person he is. He says, “Father give me the portion of goods that falleth to me” (27). “Even though the son would eventually get goods from his father, by asking this question while his father was alive, he is implying that he wishes his father to be dead” (Questions). Soon after he receives his share, the son gathers all of his belongings and takes a journey into a far country. We see the first major symbol of Jesus and a sinner in the quote above. When the father gives his son the money and watches him go, “this is a representation of Jesus letting a sinner go in his own way” (Question). However, the son did not succeed on his own with the giving’s of his father, “There he wasted his substance with riotous living… And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him” (27). During this time “pigs were seen as the most unclean animal. When the son took a job feeding pigs, even longing for their food to fill his belly, it reveals that he had fallen as low as he could possibly go” (Fairchild). At this time the representation of a sinner is immensely highlighted. Luke the author chooses to use an animal such as a pig to really emphasize that the son has hit rock bottom. However, by hitting rock bottom the son starts to realize that he is not better off alone.
The son starts to question his decision and states that his father’s slaves had it better than he does: “How many hired servants of my fathers have bread enough to spare, and I perish with hunger” (28). This point emphasizes the fact that when a man has left Jesus to go about his life on his own, he will get lost. The author uses all these symbols to portray a man in reality that has left Jesus and suffered because of his sin. Although the son has sinned, it doesn’t mean he can’t come back to Jesus. In the following paragraph, the son returns to his father and plans to say, “Father, I have sinned against the heavens and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one...

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