SNOW IN AUGUST MINI ESSAY Jeremy Keeshin The theme of faith is vital in the novel Snow in August because

its constant appearance is an indicator of Michael’s maturing as the book progresses and it allows him to break the ceiling of religious relations in the parish when others are restrained by the differences. When Michael is conjuring the Golem in Chapter 35 Hamill tells the great extent to which he is dedicated to this cause. Hamill writes, “He believed. He would make it come true…His belief, his need. It would happen. Yes. It would happen, it would happen. ‘Believe,’ he whispered to the silence. ‘I believe’” (354). The passage is an epitome of how Michael looks to his faith to solve his problems. It is clear that the “real world” has not been too generous to him. His whole life in the parish is an example of that. From the initial encounter of anti-Semitism at Mr. G’s candy shop, to the subsequent accusations of being a “Jew lover” and the multiple paintings of the swastikas, Frankie and his gang of Falcons have not been kind to Michael. It became even more personal to him when they molested his mother, severely injured Rabbi Hirsch, and finally beat up Michael. When all these terrible events come upon him, Michael’s change in his religious views is very demonstrative of his character. At times he does not believe completely in his faith, just as Rabbi Hirsch did. His perspective on religion at any point in the book is a lens into the rest of his character. The points where his faith is the strongest correspond the parts where his character is the strongest. Michael’s appreciation for faith is shown by his great imagination. The Captain Marvel comic books and Shazam provide him with a positive mental outlet when he is being surrounded by all of this negative energy in the parish. When things don’t go right,

he needs to look to faith to help him out. After befriending Rabbi Hirsch, the Rabbi teaches him to study and Michael gets more in touch with his spiritual side. By learning Yiddish and brushing up on his Latin, he is really becoming more acute in a religious sense. This new acquiring of knowledge makes him wiser and more prepared for the challenges that await him. The degree of Michael’s faith is shown mostly in the Golem passage. Its irony proves his devotion. The paradox lies in the fact that Rabbi Hirsch could not make the Golem during the Holocaust but the eleven-year-old Irish Catholic boy could create the creature that helps out the Jews. Michael broke the barriers of religion with his faith. Not only did he learn about a whole entire new culture, but also his creation of the Golem to stop the Falcons proved his maturity as a person.

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