Analysis Of Elmer Gantry Essay Research Paper

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Analysis Of Elmer Gantry Essay, Research Paper Lincoln Anderson. Elmer Gantry is the story of a smooth talking evangelist named, oddly enough, Elmer Gantry. It tells of how his life is almost pure hypocrisy, as he preaches one thing on the pulpit and, almost without exception, goes against his own sermons. The book is set primarily in a series of towns and cities of the Midwest (with a couple short exceptions, as several of the main character’s jobs entail some degree of nationwide travel), and takes place in the decades from the beginning of the Twentieth Century to the late 1920’s. Harry Sinclair Lewis was born in a little Minnesota town named Sauk Centre, in 1885. When he graduated from Yale in 1907, he moved to New York and worked for a short time as a freelance

writer. After that, he worked as an editor in various places across America. He gave this up after some of his short stories and his first novel, Our Mr. Wren, were published. Later works, Main Street and Babbit greatly increased his standing as a writer. In 1926, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for another book, Arrowsmith, but declined it. In 1930 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for writing, this time accepting it. He continued to write novels, plays, and poetry until 1951, when he fell ill on an extended tour, and died in Rome. Elmer starts out as a beer swilling, womanizing delinquent attending a Baptist college on a football scholarship He really couldn’t care less about religion. This changes, however, when he attends a Christian revival meeting with his religious mother.

He’s caught up in the excitement of the crowd, and “finds God.” He goes on stage saying so, and it turns out Elmer is a gifted orator. He decides, after a short while, to become a preacher instead of a lawyer, as he’d previously been aiming. But he’s unable to curb his impulses. At his first Church, he has an affair with a deacon’s daughter, and is nearly forced into marriage with her. He is later kicked out of the Seminary for getting drunk when he was supposed to be on a job. He gets a job for a time as a salesman, but is smitten by a female evangelist, Sharon Falconer. He joins her, and becomes her lover and partner for several years. When she is killed in a fire, Elmer must again fend for himself. He works briefly in New Thought, then becomes a preacher again. He

now becomes a crusader against vice, while he engages in two illicit affairs. On page 31, the extremely important role of the Church in a child’s upbringing is shown. The Church gave Elmer’s life all its structure. “That pasty white Baptist Church had been the center for all his emotions, save for hell-raising, hunger, sleepiness, and love.” Nearly all the music Elmer ever listened to as a child, he heard in Church. The same went for art, oration, philosophy, and literature. Most of his childhood memories involved the Church in some way. This was relatively common during this time period. A child’s religious upbringing was an inherent part of their entire person. Page 51 shows another religious aspect of life in this time period. That is, the Revival Meeting. In this

passage, it is shown how people were so amazingly emotionally involved at these events. There almost seems to be a mob mentality, as the people swarm around Elmer, attempting to convince him to give himself to God. One woman begins having “shakes”, something resembling a seizure, but with seemingly nothing but the person’s own mind causing it. The mood is contagious, and the agnostic Elmer is, at least for a short time, convinced that he has been saved. And in a real showing of how amazingly on edge these people were, a simple repeated declaration of that fact by Elmer is enough to bring some of them nearly to convulsions of excitement. Another religious convention of the time was the travelling evangelist. On page 156, Elmer first sees the evangelist Sharon Falconer in