Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Confession Time

(Insert rueful grimace.) So I was specifically told long before I started Orson Scott Card's "Seventh Son" that it was at least loosely based on the life and family of Joseph Smith. I guess it was long enough before I read that I completely spaced it. So I wasn't looking for the connections, and I didn't notice them until about three-fourths of the way through the book, when the book's main character gets a piece of his shin bone taken out.Once I saw the first connection, a dozen more suddenly became visible too: a devout mother and less-than-religious father; a son named after his father; the name Alvin and a dead eldest brother; the gathering of good and evil around a simple boy. And more. I couldnt believe I'd been too clueless to notice them sooner.

But maybe that's not such a bad thing. Scholar Tim Blackmore notes that Card "is interested in the believing (or innocent) reader" (Blackmore). Obviously, Card meant this story to mirror Joseph's. But did he mean for it to obviously mirror Joseph's? I enjoyed "Seventh Son" for artistry with words and images long before I found the mirrors--the morality and religion long before I found the Mormonism. And I think that's what Card would've wanted.

Tim Blackmore, "The Image of God"

1 comment:

  1. I liked your honesty. :) I wish I hadn't known, so I could see what I picked up and what I didn't.

    As you said, I don't think Card really meant us to be forewarned. If more Mormon authors could write in a way that we can be ourselves without the labels, our writing would be able to reach a larger audience.