The Transformation of the Jesus Figure

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The Jesus figure is one of the most commonly identified and utilised elements of Western culture to portray and legitimise Christian ideology. The most common way in which this is done is through the appropriation of the Grand Narrative, and in particular through the Jesus figure. In Jesus of Montreal, this legitimisation is achieved through the rejection of the absolute authority of the institution, and by criticising society to ultimately come to a conclusion that upholds basic Christian values. John Dawe's poem, And a Good Friday was Had By All, portrays the Christian message through appropriating the crucifixion-of-jesus' class='brand-secondary'>crucifixion of Jesus through the eyes of `an ordinary man'. The visual and emotive language in particular heightens the audience's appreciation of the injustice and sacrifice of the event, playing a paradox on the title. Finally, in the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the Jesus figure is appropriated through an examination of the relationship between faith and the rigidity of the institution, essentially communicating it's authors' sense of the world being hopeless and its people being lost. In this essay, the aforementioned texts will be analysed as appropriations of the Gospels, with a particular focus on film or literary techniques used by the composers.

Arcand's Jesus of Montreal is set in the excessively commercialised and faithless society of Franco-Canada in the 1980s. The main vehicle through which the Gospels are portrayed is through a literal transformation of the Passion Play being the main focus of the plot. The Catholic Church, as represented by the priest, calls upon Daniel to rejuvenate the play, because the church is losing its following. It is at this point that the parallels between the gospels and th...

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...ic, this accents the episodes of high emotion in the film as well as creating the atmosphere Arcand is trying to portray through his piece. Dawe's And a Good Friday Was Had By All uses imagery and a familiar voice to portray his version of the crucifixion. The darkness evokes the mood and sentiment amongst the reader, whilst the audience is inclined to sympathise with the voice because of the agreeable shift from nonchalance to the beautiful imagery of the women and crying. Finally, in Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest the audience is asked to question the reliability of the amazing story they are being told, but also to question their society and its treatment of extraordinary individuals. The three texts are particularly emotional pieces, and are successful appropriations of the Jesus-figure as well as making pointed comments on the state of society.

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