Evil and suffering in the short stories of Edward P. Jones
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. The theological problem of evil, namely how an all-good and all-powerful God could allow evil and suffering to exist, has not been satisfactorily addressed in traditional Christian theology. This work examines the question of suffering in the short stories of Edward P. Jones to gain new insight into this ageless question. The characters of Edward P. Jones in his two short story collections Lost in the City and All Aunt Hagar's Children supply the source material. These stories abound with suffering that each of his readers can grasp. These are highly personal stories that distill the essence of family tragedy, racial indignity, and human frailty. Woven throughout these tales of joy and sadness is the constant undercurrent of suffering. God is a constant yet enigmatic feature of this landscape. Paul Tillich's method of correlation, outlined in volume one of his Systematic Theology provides a tailored methodology to unearth the theological "questions" and their associated "answers." Tillich's method of correlation provides the vehicle to analyze modern situations represented in literature to derive theological questions about suffering from the text. After a review of Tillich's methodology followed by a review of the traditional Christian perspectives on suffering, this work examines Jones's stories for situations that relate to the problem of suffering. The philosophies of Victor Frankl, Paul Ricoeur, and Liberation theology, provide a broader response than the traditional Christian response to suffering encompassing personal, communal, and spiritual aspects of the question. These three lenses, the personal, the communal, and the spiritual, offer a more inclusive and therefore more consoling response than the traditional Christian response for those who suffer.
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