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The Book “The War of the Saints” by Jorge Amado Essay

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Updated: May 21st, 2020

Summary of the Book

The book “The War of the Saints” is a masterpiece by Jorge Amado. The author sets his book in the lively city of Bahia, Brazil. The author begins by exploring the religious beliefs and foundations of the citizens. Majority of the citizens are Candomble worshipers. This religious group mixes the African deities with Catholic saints. Most of events in Amado’s text occur when Dom Maximiliano von Gruden decides to put a show in Bahia. The centerpiece of the show is Saint Barbara. Saint Barbara of Thunder is on loan from a local church in Santo Amaro (Amado, 1995). The statue of St. Barbara comes to life upon arrival. The people strongly believe that St. Barbara has insightful implications on the lives of many believers in Bahia. Mayhem and unrest ensues for two days after the arrival of St. Barbara’s statue.

Many people including three police officers and the museum’s director try hard to recover this spirited statue (Amado, 1995). Barbara appears to have her own mission. She also rescues one young woman from a forced covenant. She is also willing to free the woman’s aunt from her puritanical and overly rigid ways. She also rescues a priest from a possible assassination. The actions undertaken by the spirited saint makes every person look foolish and incompetent (Amado, 1995). The actions also incite new celebrations in Bahia city. According to Amado (1995), Saint Barbara’s mission is to set right the misbehaviors and lives of different individuals in this city. She helps both Manela and Adalgisa from the forces of darkness. Saint Barbara resumes her original form after achieving every goal. The process takes place to save Mr. Dom Maximiliano von Gruden from ruin or torment.

My Personal Opinion

This book by Amado is worth reading because it gives a true picture of the Latin American culture. The author shows his personal interest in the religious practices of Latin America. The portrayal of different religions such as the Candomble and Macumba in the book is something meaningful. These religious groups appreciate every Christian saint or traditional god. Many Brazilians appear to respect these religious practices. The portrayal by Amado explains how he has a clear understanding of the people’s culture. The other good thing about the text is that it presents true themes such as sexuality, feminism, and politics.

The author explores how sexual attraction remains a critical issue in the lives of many Brazilians. The reader creates a connection between the events experienced in Bahia throughout the 1970s (Skidmore, Smith, & Green, 2013). The city was under the tyrannical leadership of the generals. The turmoil depicted in the book also explains why majority of the citizens are incapable of achieving their goals.

The book is also full of humor and optimism. The book presents thoughtful ideas about the people’s culture. St. Barbara portrays the religious role of deities and saints in the lives of many people (Amado, 1995). This humorous novel also explores the issues of religion and sexuality. The book encourages the reader to be tolerant. The reader should also accept every religious belief because it can have a fundamental implication on his or her life. The author also explains how the turmoil in our natural environment is capable of affecting every person on earth. The first disadvantage about the text is that it exaggerates several things such as the political situation of Bahia.

Lessons Learned About Latin America

I have gained new ideas from the class readings about Latin America. The books also present some useful ideas about the religious practices and political developments of Latin America throughout the 20th century. The book “Modern Latin America” explains how the Calles Government and its horrific actions destroyed every aspect of Christianity in Latin America. The persecution of Christians in Latin America also affected the lives of many believers. Many priests “rejected every idea associated with traditional religious practices” (Skidmore et al., 2013, p. 57). The study materials have also highlighted every conflict between Christians and traditional worshippers.

The readings also explain why our knowledge of religion is critical towards understanding the experiences of many Latin Americans. Many worshippers and preachers promoted the idea of Liberation Theology (LT) in the region. Many people were afraid because this theology could affect the meaning and relevance of their activities. The greatest worry was how to spread God’s word. Chances were very high that the Gospel could become a political or earthly subject.

This challenge affected the ideas and functions of many preachers in Latin America. The materials explain why religion has taken different paths throughout the centuries in Latin America. The outstanding fact is that the people’s religious practices were strong and hard to ignore (Skidmore et al., 2013). Amado also explores the connections between Catholicism and traditional religious practices. The above knowledge explains why the people’s religious practices and ideas have remained significant for many centuries. According to Amado (1995), we cannot understand the cultural practices and political aspects of Latin America without examining the role played by different religious ideas.

Reference List

Amado, J. (1995). The War of the Saints. New York: Dial Press. Web.

Skidmore, T., Smith, P., & Green, J. (2013). Modern Latin America. New York: Oxford University Press. Web.

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