Damnation Of Theron Ware
The real issues in the damnation of Theron ware are not issues of religion, but
rather cultural issues. Although the book is outwardly a novel about religion,
the question becomes not whether god exists, but how we should live. Theron
becomes damned in the novel because of what he is. Theron cannot be anymore than
what he is, a simple Methodist minister, yet when he is shown another way of
life, he wants to enter. The problems that Theron is having in the novel reflect
questions that people were having on religious issues at the time. There is at
this point, a conflict between traditional beliefs, such as Methodism, and new
ideas. Each of the old beliefs and new ideas take form in this novel through on
of the characters, and it is through character development, especially

Theronís, that we see the conflict being argued out and solved. Though Theron
is the minister, throughout the book he is shown as wanting something more. Even
in the first scene in which we meet him, he is wishing that he had received a
better position in the church, perhaps a better appointment in a city, rather
than a rural town. It appears to me that the conflict within Theron is a
conflict of the old ways verses a modern life. The city symbolizes the new and
the free, while the rural town, in which Theron is stuck, symbolizes the
traditional beliefs. Just as, for most of the novel, Theron is stuck in the
rural town, he is also stuck within his beliefs. Though he wants more, it is
impossible. Theron tries to enter another way of life, which is shown to him by

Celia, father Forbes, and dr. Ledsmar, but when he attempts to enter this world
that they exist in, he is considered a "bore." In other words, Theron would
appear to be in a no-win situation. Just as Theron is stuck in this no-win
situation, it would appear that the Methodist church is stuck in it, as well. It
is apparent that some of the younger members of the church would like change,
however, they are unable, for various reasons, to affect it. Although culture
seems to be moving ahead at full force, the church seems to be stuck in the
past. The differences between the catholic and the Methodist church can reveal
this. The Catholic Church has organ music, has play, and has drinking, as is
seen at the catholic picnic being held at the same time as the Methodist camp.

Theron, like society, however, does not want to five up his religion to enter a
new life, but instead he wants to incorporate the two. This eventually leads to

Theronís breakdown and near death experience at the end of the novel. At the
opposite pole of Theron stand Dr. Ledsmar and father Forbes. These two men seem
to represent a new society, advanced science and religion that reflect the
changing and advancing world in which they live. While the Methodist church
focuses on non-intellectual issues, morality, externals and appearances, the

Catholic Church seems to be focused more in the real world. In father Forbes, we
see that it is possible for religion and knowledge to merge, but at the same
time are faced with the fact that if unchecked, science could very possibly wipe
out religion. Although father Forbes is a priest, he is no longer preaching, and
seems to have almost entirely let go of religion, instead pursuing science and
learning and fulfilling only a perfunctory role in the church. This seems to
reflect the growing change in the role of the church in peopleís lives. In a
world that is striving to become more equal, the methodist church seems to be
very concerned about money. It is mentioned several times that the pews in the
methodist church are sold or rented to the highest bidder, and in the church,
money is clout, as is eveidenced by the control that the wealthy church members
hold in any debate about changing the church. On the other hand, father forbes
is a wealthy man, yet within his glamorous church, it would seem that no one is
turned away. In fact, father forbes is introduced to us while visiting a very
poor man on his deathbed. This fact is even more important when we consider that
the catholic church has a reputaion of following rules of hierarchy, while the
methodist church, in appying the names "brother" and "sister," imply
that everyone is