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Garrison Keillor's The Prodigal Son vs. Luke's The Parable of the Prodigal Son

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Garrison Keillor's The Prodigal Son vs. Luke's The Parable of the Prodigal Son


The classic story of the Prodigal Son is one of the best known parables in literature. A parable is often times described as a short narrative which teaches a moral; however, the plot is more realistic, than say a fable, and the characters are humans as oppose to animals or natural forces within nature. Parables are also presented in a more suggestive tone, which leaves them more open to interpretation. The play Prodigal Son told by Garrison Keillor differs greatly in terms of style compared to Lukes The Parable of the Prodigal Son told in the Catholic scriptures. Both of these parables convey the same moral, however, both are open to very different interpretation. This option for different interpretations when referring to this story truly exemplifies what a parable is meant to be. Keillor took the classic story of the Prodigal Son, told in the writings of Luke, and was able to transform it into a comedic piece of literature, in which people of the times could better relate to.

It is argued that Keillors version is disrespectful to the original parable; however, I disagree with that for many reasons. Understanding the true definition f a parable itself assists in the supporting of Keillors style and technique. The parable story the Prodigal Son told by Keillor is much more dramatic, by which he was able to establish more tone within each character. He did that by writing the parable in a script form, which was intended to be acted out for an audience. That was not the case with thte biblical story, where it was told in third person perspective. Keillors version of unveiling the moral though the characters first person dialog allowed the audienc...


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...eturns home to a warm welcome. This definition holds true to the parable that is told by both Catholic scripture and Keillors comedy. Overall I found that Keillor did an excellent job incorporating more personality to the characters in his story. This allowed for more of a connection between the audience and the parable itself. He was able to change the dynamics of the story using a more conventional method of comedy and wit in order to stay true to the moral told in the traditional scripture version of The Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Works Cited

Kennedy, X.J., and Dana Gioia. Literature; Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Longman. New York: 2002. Kennedy, X.J., and Dana Gioia.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son. Literature; Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Longman. New York: 2002. 232-233. 1361-1366. Prodigal. Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary. 1st ed. 2001.


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