Surviving Post Modern Life: The Necessity Of Human Relationships And The Written Word.

2352 words - 9 pages

The idea of God and spirituality is an incredibly controversial topic in today’s society, and thus Coupland uses it as a major theme to display inner conflict, grief, and ultimately redemption and healing within the novel. Never one to shy away from a contentious subject, Coupland fully embraces both sides of the religion argument by personifying both the believers, and the agnostics through the development of his characters. His main goal is to epitomize the importance of spiritual fellowship, by pairing each of his religious characters with someone who is agnostic; this is shown through the relationship of Jason and Cheryl, and the somewhat ragtag pairing of Reg and Heather. Jason and Cheryl meet through a religious group called Youth Alive!; Jason is religious, and Cheryl is agnostic but intent on becoming part of Jason’s world: “In any event, Pastor Field’s sermons on chastity could only chill the blood in Jason’s loins for so long. So I began attending Youth Alive! meetings three times a week.” (Coupland, 12). Eventually, after attending multiple meetings, Cheryl finds herself adopting religious beliefs, and is even considered a martyr when she becomes a victim of the high school massacre. Jason is distraught after Cheryl’s death, and the only thing that remains constant in his life is God. Coupland empathizes with his character, saying: “God is what keeps us together after the love is gone” (Coupland). Coupland uses these adolescent lovers as just one example to epitomize his belief that human relationships can open the door to spiritual growth.
The pairing of Reg and Heather is not one of romance, but rather one formed by mutual loss. Coupland throws Reg, a preachy, overbearing Christian, and Heather, an agnostic, together when Jason (Reg’s son, and Heather’s boyfriend) disappears. This is to display how human connections and spirituality play out when confronted with tragedy. Lonely people by nature, they cling to each other in order to heal, and push each other when all hope and belief begins to slip away: “Reg, you either have to have some hope here, or stop calling, okay?” (Coupland 155). Reg, grounded by Heather’s realistic sensibilities, begins to see the error of his overbearing ways and becomes much more religiously grounded. Heather, inspired by Reg’s religious stoicism, gradually begins to find solace in God: “Sometimes, I think God is like the weather - you may not like the weather, but it has nothing to do with you. Deal with it” (Coupland 156). Coupland uses this unlikely outcome to display that even skeptics can be made into believers in times of tragedy. Using these two prominent pairings, he proves that relationships, both romantic and platonic can bring even the most unlikely of people together in spiritual fellowship.
Coupland has always strongly believed that the written word is a powerful thing. In his own writing, Coupland is profoundly aware of the connection that he has with readers around the world: “You are...

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