Death Comes For The Archbishop Willa Cather Analysis

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Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather, revolves around the story of Bishop Jean Marie Latour, his death, and his legacy. Cather uses Latour as a vessel in order to display the world around him. It’s through him we learn about New Mexico, the people, and the visuals he encounters. He describes various legends, Indian traditions, religions Catholic Priests beliefs, and scenery as he travels along his spiritual journey reflecting on his new location. Latour’s point of view on New Mexico is filtered through his experiences, which is how Cather gains her audience. Cather uses his character as a source in order to show the surroundings and develop the story, rulings on characterization and human interest to keep the reader invested. Latour…show more content…
Latour is contemplative, straightforward, and dignified man who is able to find peace in himself and undergo a self journey along with change. He is able to embrace change by learning how to serve the Native American and the Mexican people of New Mexico. As Latour grows thorough his personal observations and struggles, he shows how strong his faith is by doing more that just build a Cathedral, but by teaching others to grow for their survival. When he arrives to his ‘new home’ Latour is welcomed with more than open arms as his arrival is seen as a prayer by the people around. After learning that there are children to be baptized and marriages to be performed, Latour takes it as a sign that he has made the right choice going to New Mexico. His journey along with Father Joseph Vaillant, his companion and friend, takes them to a place where Latours’s literal journey is full of spiritual obstacles. Making it a goal to have a lasting impression and change in the land of the people, his commitment is embodied with the construction of the Cathedral. The Cathedral is a symbol of harmony and beauty resulting from an organized religion. He exhibits God’s handy-work and love of nature attempting to represent it and make it a symbol of his faith. His ambition is to leave the town with something lasting to the people and the land. Seeing it as an artistic expression of…show more content…
He is developing personal idea on what is holy and how it involves the teaching of his church. He believed it manifested the customs and simple lives of people that inhabit the land. His dedication to the church revels how his devotion to God and the people of the town depend on his actions. Cather usually relates Latour to the surrounding and to the vivid landscapes located in the place he is at. This is Cather’s way of writing, she establishes the importance of any landscape and how she develops Latour’s character thorough them. For example, Latour finds a juniper tree that is in a shape of a cross. This shows the reader how Cather tries to describe faith ‘unconsciously’ through his mind. The landscape plays a big role in Latour’s personal experience by believing “an apparition is human vision corrected by divine love” (Cather 40) and how he projects himself onto it. From the beginning of his journey, New Mexico manages to captivate him when he relates the symbol to the Holy Trinity. By using direct characterization, Cather begins to develop Latours character and faith throughout the chapters. Latour developed a greater love for the land of New Mexico, along with the people throughout his stay. He begins to accept the Indian and Mexican custom, sharing his faith with the people while at the same time devoting his words to the church as

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