Under the Banner of Heaven

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In his critically acclaimed book, Under The Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer pursues multiple societal issues. The most dominant two is how much freedom of religion should be allowed and how religion affects our growth, both as a nation and as individuals. The amount of freedom of religion is a social issue that largely affects our nation both in its past and in its present. According to Jon Krakauer’s retelling of the events of Ron Lafferty’s retrial, he quotes psychiatrist Noel Gardiner’s testimony of Ron Lafferty’s mental state, “There are many irrational ideas that are shared in the community that are non-psychotic, we all hold to non-reality based ideas” and went on to explain on how his father, a Conservative Protestant, scoffed while visiting Museum of National History at the idea of some artifacts being older than 6,000 years old and even denouncing the evidence as “a deception of Satan.” (Krakauer 302). While this may be scientifically false, people are raised under that banner as Gardner detailed “I learned the earth was 6,000 years old, just like two plus two is four” (Krakauer 303). Earlier in the book, welfare fraud, among other things are justified by polygamist fundamentalist in Colorado City, Arizona, as “bleeding the beast” and is regarded as a virtuous act (Krakauer 13). More than 4 million dollars in government funding goes to the school district alone for the purpose of “enriching school district leaders as they charge their expensive lifestyles on the school district’s credit cards” (Krakauer 12). While the community of 9,000’s leaders is splurging on the government’s money, 78% of the community receives state funded food stamps (Krakauer 13). The residents of Colorado City receive 8 dollars in government s... ... middle of paper ... ...me. Written in past tense for the historical descriptions and present tense for the interviews, Krakauer develops a grim mood for the book at the beginning and never relents on the mood. Krakauer conveys his attitude in his writing, making the book very personal. Explaining to the reader how closely connected he was to the Mormon faith, the research for this book could be described as a reevaluation into his past “Saints were my childhood friends and playmates, my teachers, my athletic coaches” (Krakauer 336). However, not many literary devices are used. Anagrams are extinct in Krakauer’s writing style, for good reason, and analogies are hidden without the text should there be any. Works Cited Krakauer, Jon. Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. New York: Doubleday, 2003. Print. “Cult." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013
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