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"The Star" By Arthur Clarke. Essay

1183 words - 5 pages

The main theme of "The Star" by Arthur C. Clarke deals with faith. Clarke defines faith as having belief and trust in God with strong conviction. Clarke believes that one must have faith not only during blissful times, such as during the time of creation, but also during time of anguish, such as when destruction occurs. God "created" when a star flew over Bethlehem, just as God destroyed a star, the Phoenix Nebula, and its surrounding planets including any life that may have lived there. God does not have to justify His actions to man. God can do as he pleases, his actions do not have to follow a logical sequence. Just because negative events are occurring does not mean that God does not exist. A minor theme in the story deals with believing two ideas, religion and science, that completely contradict each other. "The Star" combines these drastically different ideas into one story.The protagonist is a renaissance man. He is both a scientist and a religious man; more specifically a chief astrophysicist of a spaceship and a Jesuit. He is having trouble deciding if he should keep his faith. He is also a very intelligent man that published many scientific articles in the Astrophysical Journal and in the Royal Astronomical Society Notices. He also seems to resemble the Greek philosopher Socrates; he questions everything and he does not accept new ideas easily. His main goal is to explore a star that exploded, the Phoenix Nebula. As the story progresses the protagonist regains his faith. From the beginning of the story when he questions if the crucifix still stands for something to the end of the story when he accepts that God does what He does for a reason. The antagonists in the story are nature and the ship crew. The main goal of the antagonists is to make the protagonist give up his faith in God. The ship crew is flat for the most part and their main job is to operate the ship and to convince the protagonist that God does not exist. The ship crew is filled with doctors and scientists and most of them are atheists. Nature causes an array of disasters to occur such as the explosion of the Phoenix Nebula and this makes the protagonist question his faith. The antagonists do not change through out the story.The story takes place around the year 2500 in a spaceship that is traveling through space. Space is some what symbolic for science, and science usually contradicts religion, therefore the setting is another antagonist trying to make the protagonist lose his faith. The main conflicts of the story are of the type man verses self, man verses group, and man verses nature. The protagonist is no longer sure if he should keep his faith in God. The first event that causes the protagonist to question his faith is when he witnesses the explosion of a star, the Phoenix Nebula. The protagonist is having trouble deciding how God, something that he believes in so strongly, could do something as harsh as destroy a star and thus all its surrounding planets with any...

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