The Star Essay

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Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Star” is a futuristic story that examines the age old question of faith. A space ship led by the Narrator, a Jesuit monk, had set out on a mission to study a sun that had exploded thousands of years ago, but ended up finding a monument set up by a doomed civilization making “its last bid for immortality” (359). After doing some calculations, the Narrator realizes that the exploded sun was actually the supernova that shined over Bethlehem for Jesus’s birth. Having seen that such a beautiful civilization was destroyed for such a petty reason, his faith is severely disturbed. The central idea is that seemingly random, tragic occurrences do not necessarily disprove the existence of God, but they pose the question of whether or not we would want to believe in a God that would impose such acts. The main character of the story is the nameless Narrator. The story begins with the once devoted Jesuit monk staring at his crucifix, wondering for the first time in his life whether “it is no more than an empty symbol” (356). The Narrator is both a man of god and a man of science. After his discovery, his faith is severely disturbed. The character remains static throughout the story, as he never reaches any closure in his problem. Although Clarke’s story takes place far into the future, the reader can easily identify with his central character, for even the strongest of faiths must be questioned at times, and who among us has not questioned or blamed god, after a tragic event takes place in one’s life? The Supporting characters are the crew of the ship. The crew is mostly Atheist and is amused that their leader is a Jesuit. The Narrator recalls a night on the observation deck when Dr. Chandler, one of the crew members, says to him “It goes on forever and forever, and perhaps Something made it. But how you can believe

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