1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Friday, January 01, 2016

The Bible in Literature: First Unit

Graham Greene, "The Second Death" 

A story about two acquaintances (one could hardly call them friends): one dying, the other living. The dying man had "died" before (perhaps it was just a dream he thinks). In that first death, a certain doctor had saved him. The dying man fears death because of his dream or experience the first time, "that other time, I thought that I'd been dead. It wasn't like sleep at all. Or rest in peace. There was someone there all round me, who knew everything....  And I saw what was coming to me too" (Complete Short Stories, page 179). Nevertheless, the dying man does die, fearfully.

The living man (though you can hardly call his life life) was once blind we learn at the end of the story. A man had put spit on his eyes and then he could see.

Without some knowledge of the gospels in the New Testament, this story makes no sense!

Three New Testament Elements

1. The title refers to an allusion of damnation (I'll have to look it up).

2. The dying man is the widow of Nain's son who is restored to life by Jesus (see Luke 7:11-17).

3. The "comforting" friend is a man healed by Jesus in Mark 8:22-26.

Approaching the story.  Read aloud the story once to see if any students get it. Give some clues. Read passages from Luke and Mark and go from there....

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