82 pages 2 hours read

Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1996

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Themes

God’s Will versus Human Volition

The tension between God’s will and human volition is an important theme in the novel and is intimately tied to the idea of faith in God. This concept is most widely seen through Emilio’s experiences with Rakhat. While Emilio was saved from a violent childhood by a Jesuit priest, which ultimately inspired him to become a priest himself, Emilio admits that he has always been agnostic. Agnosticism, for him, means that although he believes in God, he has always taken agency over his own life: he chose to be a priest, he chose to go to school, and he chose to take a vow of celibacy. However, after hearing the alien singers at Arecibo, his agnosticism slowly blooms into full-fledged faith in God’s will over his life. As all the pieces for the mission fall into place, Emilio believes wholeheartedly that it’s God’s will for he and his friends to go to Rakhat. By the time he steps foot on Rakhat and interacts with the Runa, he says that he was made by God for this purpose. In these ways, Emilio’s faith in God and his belief that God’s will brought him to Rakhat is intimately tied to the positive and awe-inspiring things that happened in his life.

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By Mary Doria Russell

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Mary Doria Russell
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Mary Doria Russell
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