due to Palahniuk’s own lapsed Catholic faith. He states, “Well, I believe there's a divine something, but I believe we're not supposed to know it. There are too many things unexplained in the world for me to be a non-believer” (qtd. in O’Hagan). Palahniuk’s own admission that he does not have a specifically grounded faith framework explains the lack of spiritual redemption in his works, but his belief in a “divine something” may affect the way he uses violence to bring about change in the lives of his characters. In this way, Palahniuk’s redemption connects more strongly with the OED’s definition of being saved from “error” or “evil,” rather than “sin.” Though his characters undoubtedly would be called sinful in a Christian context, in the morality of Palahniuk’s literature, their relationships with others save them from themselves and the damaging social contexts in which they reside. Cost and Violence The second OED definition of redemption is as follows: “The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt” (n. pag.), which more clearly connects redemption to the idea of compensation in exchange for the redeeming act. In a general sense of the term, when a person “redeems” a coupon or a gift card, for example, the products purchased do not suddenly become free. Someone must compensate for the exchange. In the Christian tradition, this compensation for debt occurs through a violent process—animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, and Jesus’s crucifixion in the Gospels, among other examples. 4This internal consistence relates to O’Connor’s definition of grotesque literature, where characters have an “inner coherence” to their “social framework” (40), despite the strange circumstances around them. These ideas will be more developed in Chapter Two.
Elliott 12 The cost of redemption does not always require violence, but, historically, violent circumstances are often the “payment” in exchange for redemption because of the weighty debt of those in need of it.5The violence of redemption is epitomized in the Christian tradition. Christianity is based on violent sacrifice, as seen first in the Old Testament. In the book of Genesis, God told Adam and Eve not to eat from Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden or they “shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17); however, Adam and Eve disobeyed, which Christians believe cast humanity out of perfect relationship with God and into damnation. In compensation for this sin, the Old Testament Jews utilized animal sacrifices as payment for their transgressions because the blood of the animals was spilled instead of their own (Leviticus 17:11). However, the New Testament of the Bible redeems this practice through an equally violent measure. The writer of Hebrews states that “by a single offering [Christ] has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). Because Christians believe that Christ was fully God and fully man, his