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Monsignor Quixote

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Monsignor says in unequivocal terms that a Communist also has Faith in the great future when Communism in its true nature will rule the whole world. Then Rooney elaborates: "She tries to pronounce this in a way that communicates several things: apology, painful embarrassment, some additional pained embarrassment that serves to ironise and dilute the painful kind, a sense that she knows she will be forgiven or is already, a desire not to 'make a big deal. Anyway, for whatever reasons some of my favorite novels have been written by converts, and this must include Carrere. One of the many problems around "dilemmas" is that not everyone answers in the same way to stressful, emotional and moral options, and even when different people agree, they may differ, sometimes deeply, in the justification of the action they defend.

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This is tired Greene, and an ineffective product of his era, which doesn't compare with his more timeless works. Greene’s picaresque novel, a take on Cervantes’ Don Quixote, is a delightful read (and mercifully, much shorter). A bunch of ever-so-mandarin college kids in a small Vermont school are the eager epigones of an aloof classics professor, and in their exclusivity and snobbishness and eagerness to please their teacher, they are moved to try to enact Dionysian frenzies in the woods. One would be tempted to say that these two men would have been sworn enemies - belonging to creeds opposed to each other in principle and action.

However, they have become "obsolete", without purpose and lost in the changes imposed in their lives, like many other characters of Greene. Greene's attitude toward authority has always been "problematic": A convert to Catholicism who has been strongly attracted by Marxism, Greene has struggled with himself to conciliate two systems that have traditionally demanded a high degree of obedience and submission from their adepts and are both in confrontation with each other's respective principles. I am sure of nothing, not even the existence of God, but doubt is not treachery as you Communists seem to think. Having read the original story I enjoyed all the references to the illustrious Don Quixote, as well as the depiction of the political situation in Spain of the 1970s. As a free mind a person can choose what he or she believes and some of these beliefs can be more firmly rooted in reality than others; ie.Quixote compares the Holy Trinity to three bottles of wine from the same vintage – the same essence in three distinct entities. Greene, a devout Catholic, always had a soft spot for the Latin variety of Marxism, whence his friendship with Fidel Castro and Omar Torrijos of Panama.

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