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The story under analysis is The Black Madonna by Muriel Spark.

The major themes of the


story are religion, racism and hypocrisy. This story shows us an example of people having a
faculty of wearing masks and only when they face grief, they take these masks off and their true
nature comes out. People, who think that they get away with it, are wrong because once it will be
time when all their deeds will be considered.
The message of the story is that all our thoughts, words, actions and wishes are valued and if
they are subjectively good, it doesnt mean that we wont get our deserts. Lou and Raymond got
theirs because of their false nature which will be revealed further.
Lou and Raymond Parker is a childless couple with an eclectic view of making friends, who are
different from each other not only in interests or professions, but also in skin colour. When they
learn that the installed Black Madonna answer all the prayers, they decide to put in for a baby in
order to put her to the test. They get what they come for, only the baby is black because of black
ancestors in Lous family. They feel strongly against keeping the child, but in the long run
decide to adopt him.
The main characters of the story, Lou and Raymond are characterized indirectly through their
actions, thoughts and speech.
Lou is a Catholic woman, who has a biased opinion of people. This kind of quality correlates
with her hypocrisy: although she invites black people and she doesnt have a thought of being a
racist, inwardly she is one of them because she cant put up with her black baby. She thinks that
having a black baby is a kind of curse, and then what does making friends with black people
mean?
In relation to her sister Lou tries to be sympathetic, but her sympathy is false, considering her
sister not much of a scholar and even implying her as a black sheep of the family, she forces
herself to communicate with her just because thats her sisters duty.
This woman isnt a true believer, because a person who believes deeply will never doubt Gods
will and in Lous case will never put the Black Madonna to the test.
Her husband, Raymond, has much in common with his wife, being also a racist and hypocrite.
Being in their forties, they dont want to have any children, they want to live only for
themselves, which is selfish of them.
The style of the story is rather straight-forward, it doesnt abound in stylistic devices.
The language of the story is simple and colloquial, for example nigga. There are a lot of
thematic words dealing with religion, such as presbytery, rosary, to consecrate, vestments, etc.,
with rearing and childbirth -private ward, adoption, cradle, maternity wing, etc.
I liked the story, because it gives us food for thought: we should be careful not only in our words,
but also deeds, and even if we get something bad from life we should accept it, we shouldnt
blame anybody for it, but look deeper, because the evil may be inside of us.