Unformatted text preview: Tim Thyne Period 3 4/1/00 Title: In His Steps Author: Charles Menroe Sheldon Genre: Inspirational In His Steps takes place in Raymond, Illinois in the present time that it was written, 1896. People in Raymond are very wealthy and most own nice carriages. At the opening of the book Reverend Henry Maxwell is visited by a unknown man who is looking for a job. Maxwell tells the man that he is too busy. That Sunday morning, the same man comes into the First Church, where Maxwell preaches. He speaks in front of the congregation asking them if they really mean what they are singing. He was asking if they really mean, "Jesus with you, I'll go, all the way." Then the man collapsed and had a heart attack on the pulpit. Maxwell decided to take care of the unknown man until he could sustain health. The next Sunday, the man passed away. Before the man passed, the painfully said to Maxwell, "I think you have done as Jesus would have done." That same Sunday, Maxwell spoke to the congregation posing them with a question and a commitment. He asked for volunteers in the church to ask themselves, before anything that they do, "What would Jesus do?" More than 50 people responded to this offer. The rest of the novel tells how several of the people go on to follow their commitment. The main characters are a few of the people that made the commitment. This contains Henry Maxwell, Rachel Winslow, Virginia Page, Edward Norman, President Marsh, Alexander Powers the railroad superintendent, Milton Wright, Mr. West, and Jasper Chase. The main characters' own instinct versus "What would Jesus do?" poses as the main antagonist throughout the novel. For example, Alexander Powers finds evidence that his freight company has been systematically violating Interstate Commerce Laws of the United States, without his knowledge. His first instinct was to hide it. He would want more than anything to forget about it, but he knows that it is not what Jesus would so himself. Within a few days, he hands in his resignation papers, because he knows that Jesus would not be the superintendent of a freight company that is violation laws. Other antagonists are the people that did not make the commitment that think that the idea of being purely Christ-like is an unreasonable goal. Temptation is also another antagonist, because they are always being tempted to do wrong. They are always being deceived by Satan to do what Jesus would not do. Rachel Winslow, the lead soprano in the First Church of Raymond, is a good example of this. She was offered a position in a traveling choir for $300 a month minimum. She knew that God has given her that voice to praise him and to use that in the church instead of selling it on stage for her own profit. Wealth was not a problem for her either. Protagonists in the novel are the main characters themselves. Seeing each other's success in their commitment gives each other hope in their own personal commitment. The main protagonist, however, is God and Jesus' perfect example. They understood that the source of their hope could not come from each other because they are not perfect. To meet such a goal as theirs, they would need a perfect example. Because they are sinners, that makes them having fault and imperfect. So it is necessary for them to rely fully on God. However, seeing the others succeed did give them hope. Major conflicts in the novel are not person to person. They are struggles in their faith. Faults in their relationship with God. Every once in a while someone would lose hope in their goal, because they did not see the outcome. A lot of times they can't see the outcome, because when they are working towards a stronger relationship with God, the reward is not an immediate reward; the reward is eternal. Other conflicts are the people that did not make the commitment. These people try to convince the people that are committed to think the way that they do. In other words, they are trying to bring them down to their level of thinking. The main characters overcome this conflict be prayer and total reliance in God. "What would Jesus do?" is naturally the main theme of the novel. The main characters are always asking themselves if what they are doing is what Jesus Christ would do himself. Another theme is indirect. Instead of "Loss of Innocence", "Strive For Innocence". Although it is impossible to regain innocence after it is lost, they strive to get as close as they can to the innocence that they once had. "Taking a Stand" is another major theme in the novel. The characters constantly have to take a stand against society. Society is full of sin and if conformed to the world, no one could achieve their goal. I do not have a favorite part in the novel. The novel is so enwrapping that I could not help but to apply all of it to my life. The entire book shows realist results of their goal. In the end, 50 people's commitment turned contagious and changed an entire town, for good. I would recommend In His Steps purely because of the effect the novel had on me. I have reached an entirely different level of spirituality by reading this book and analyzing and applying it to my life. Whoever is ready to be changed for the benefit of your soul, I recommend this book to you. ...
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- Spring '08
- main characters, Henry Maxwell