Writers and Religion

4 April 2015
A discussion on the attitudes of three famous writers to organized religion.

The paper shows that despite their disparate backgrounds, styles, and genres, what bonds writers Nathaniel Hawthorne, Earnest Hemingway and Dylan Thomas is their mutually irreverent attitude towards organized religion coupled with a strong need to construct a spiritual attitude towards human and natural life. The paper shows how these views are brought out in the writers’ works by discussing various poems and novels.
Ernest Hemingway comes from a directly less religious background than Hawthorne did, and his short stories do not have the same obsessive concern with religion as the earlier author’s work. In Hemingway’s era, religion had retreated in its importance in American cultural life. Yet this does not mean that Hemingway’s stories are absent of either references to religion or religious influences. In his short story, “The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio,” Hemingway does not endorse any specific religious creed. However, perhaps because the tale is told through an apparently omniscient narrator, rather than a narrator that comes from the religious community he is commenting upon, there are more positive examples of spirituality within the story.

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