Friday, June 3, 2011

Joan of Arc and Christianity

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Joan of Arc and Christianity

In Mark Twain’s novel Joan of Arc, Joan, a young peasant girl was born in the small town of Domr�my. Joan was born a peasant, however, she was to bring the French new inspiration and succeed in driving out the English. Throughout the novel Joan experiences episodes when it seems that she is helped by god himself in reviving and defending her nation against the British. After reading this novel and throwing out all of my beliefs of Christianity, I weighed the decision whether I was attracted or repelled to the religion after I read the stories of Joan.

Joan was like any other peasant girl in the 15th century. She could not read or write, but she worked hard on her fathers farm and acquired her faith and prayers. In the village she was remembered as a good and simple girl. As a peasant, she always remained close to home and didnt even consider leaving her village until she was older and had already began hearing voices. She identified the voice as that of God, telling her that she would have to perform a number of great tasks in the future. By age of sixteen, she had visions and heard the voices that sent her on her believed mission. Joan first traveled to the court of Dauphin. Knowing that Joan hears voices and has visions, he fears that they may be deriving from the devil and not God himself. Dauphin then has a priest look over Joan to test her to see if the voices are evil, but the priest finds that that is not the case. Joan then finds her way to Chinon, were she would find the King. Although he is hidden among the people, Joan says that she will pick him out if the crowd and recognize him, and she successfully does after never seeing him before. The King was excited to believe her voices and therefore he reassembled his troops and placed them under Joans command. Being led by her voices, she set off to battle in the siege of Orleans. Joan inspired the French. She brought on a new hope by encouraging them that God was with them. Joan spoke little and did not like big meetings and crowds, which she avoided as much as possible. Her soldiers admired her honesty and simplicity and she enjoyed speaking with them. Although she was not trained in warfare, she gave orders as calmly as a veteran commander. It was these characteristics that brought success in the battles. Guided by her voices, she led the French army in an important victory at Orleans, which had been under siege for eight months. The fighting was intense and inspired by Joan, as the French Army pushed the English out of Orleans. Joan inspired the French. She brought on a new hope by encouraging them that God was with them. Joan spoke little and did not like big meetings and crowds, which she avoided as much as possible. Her soldiers admired her honesty and simple ways and she enjoyed speaking with them. Although she was not trained in warfare, she gave orders as calmly as a veteran commander did. It was these characteristics that brought success in the battles to come.

While the French marveled at Joan, the English began to hate the sound of her name. The English were convinced she was a witch and used sorcery to defeat them. Nonetheless, Joan continued to repulse the English attempt to conquer France. Her confidence in God and reckless courage are what made her a great leader for the French army. Inspired by her, France was saved from defeat. Eventually Joan was caught and sold to the British with the chance of no escape. The English brought Joan to Rouen were she was held. Joan was tried for witchcraft and heresy. After months of interrogation, Joan was tricked into confessing. Her judges declared her visions Satanic, and Joan was burned at the stake in the marketplace in Rouen, although 5 years later Joan was given a second trial and was found innocent.

Joan was arguable a very religious person. She believed that God himself was the person that was directly talking to her. If I were not to know anything about the faith of Christianity I would be very attracted to the religion. Joan and her voices together accomplish incredible things. As only a teenager she fights for her country against an army that is superior to hers by far and she leads her country to victory. On a different view, one could also be repelled by Christianity because they read that Joan had done all of these wonderful and courageous things that God tell her to do and then she is burned at the stack for it. A person that doesn’t know much about the Christian religion would probably be confused on how God could let Joan die after she supposedly carried out so many of his commands. If God choose her to lead her people in victory why didn’t he at least let Joan see the day that France had won their freedom and celebrate with her people? There are many questions like these that one would have to consider and think about to decide if whether they would be attracted or repelled from Christianity according to the novel Joan of Arc.



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