Killing the bear - A Search for Faith A Readers Response to...

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A Search for Faith A Reader’s Response to Judith Minty’s Killing the Bear Judith Minty’s Killing the Bear is an iceberg of a story. At the tip, it’s a cold clear piece of prose, written in a thin modern style, mainly about a seemingly straightforward set of encounters between a girl and a bear. In actuality, the piece is the metaphorical story of a woman’s personal struggle with religion. The Bear that is mentioned so often in the story can be interpreted as the idea of God. In the piece every allusion to The Bear can be interpreted to somehow explain the main character’s attitude concerning religion at the time. With little effort, the reader can easily trace the unnamed woman’s spiritual journey from childhood to adulthood and perhaps, even into a speculative future. Most of Minty’s story takes place in the present tense, however through the first two thirds of the piece, her character experiences flashbacks to earlier experiences in her life. The first two of these are scenes from her childhood. As a young child, Minty’s unnamed heroine lived nearby a little zoo, hearing wolves “howling from her aunt’s kitchen;” she went often “to see them up close” (Lynn, 90). There was also a bear. When she would go to see the beast in his cage, she always found him sleeping, remarking: “He looked like a bundle of clothes by a dead tree” (90). This early closeness to the zoo can be interpreted to represent the heroine’s early exposure to religion through her childhood environment, most likely through her parents and community. The Bear makes his first appearance here, seen through the woman’s eyes as a far less majestic animal than the storybooks and movies have led her to expect. “Three times she visited,” trying to give her grand vision of this creature another chance, but each return brought her closer to an early disillusionment, or perhaps just simply an air of skepticism concerning her learned idea of God (90). Perhaps, however, she still stubbornly wanted to believe since the next 1
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENGL A210-001 taught by Professor Cotton during the Fall '07 term at Loyola New Orleans.

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Killing the bear - A Search for Faith A Readers Response to...

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