While the delivery technique for story has advanced significantly over the course of known history – Mesopotamia all the way up to multimedia – the timeless tradition of storytelling has been carried tirelessly down through the time. For the most part, the intent of a story and its layer of tradition remains intact to this day. Good versus evil, man versus nature, and any number of combinations in between are molded and crafted to create a story with a message; they’re known as parables. The Bible represents one parable after another, as Christianity attempted to teach by example. Characters imbedded in the many different stories would demonstrate their strengths and weaknesses as a means of showing the ways of their truth.
Throughout the New Testament, Christ’s Apostles emerge as standout characters, each charged with performing tasks that present the reader with a cornerstone of faith. In Clemency, the characters names, attributes, and activities mimic some of the basic elements of characters that had come thousands of years before them. Can you identify four key elements and a key theme that resonate from The Bible? Lets examine the text!
First, let’s look at the most obvious biblical parable in Clemency: the characters’ names. Andrew Saint = Saint Andrew. Peter Simons = Simon Peter. James Major = Saint James the Greater (a little more obscure, I admit). And as for Amanda? Well, how many different monikers did she actually go by over the course of the book? And do you really know a this point what her TRUE name is? The answer to the first question is three. The names are not the only connections to the Bible in Clemency. Peter and Drew are brothers, just as Saint Peter and Saint Andrew are brothers.
Next, Christ found the two brothers, Peter and Andrew, as fisherman at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The dominant setting of Clemency being on the water was no accident. Furthermore, James the Greater or Saint James, is credited with getting Simon Peter out of jail. So in Clemency, we have Peter trying to enlist his old friend Jimmy to get him out of jail.
Finally we come to Amanda, or Nicole, or Claire or whatever her name turns out to be. What IS her name? What has her role been in the story thus far? She has been the recruiter – she collected the two brothers and their friend to perform a task. She carefully orchestrates the plans for the mission. As the reader, we have feelings for and about her, but do not have any concrete information regarding her purpose, her mission and her character. If you haven’t taken the time to consider her character, I encourage you to do so now, and let me know: whom do you think she really is?
There are many more biblical allusions throughout Clemency, I’ve only highlighted these to peak your interest. I encourage you to explore the text – explore the deliberate names, places, actions, settings and words. Like the ruins of the Clemency, there are secrets to be found, if you’re willing to look.