Elder Wieland Analysis

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Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland paints a picture of religion that faults its practice in early America. As a force of plot in the novel, it is blind faith in one’s religion that leads to both Elder Wieland and Theodore’s eventual demise, but as a more present force, Brown’s perspective on religion in the novel points to a distaste for enlightenment thinking based upon what happens to both Theordore and Elder Wieland. The novel begins by describing the strange circumstances that lead to Elder Wieland’s demise. Despite Clara’s young age at the time of the opening events, her descriptions as a narrator spare no expense in describing the peculiar, isolated actions which her father takes to practice his faith. Telling the reader that he had joined a sect of the Camissards in his faith, and that “His constructions of the text were hasty, and formed on a narrow scale” (Brown 10), Elder Wieland attempts and fails to become a missionary for his own faith. From the beginning of the novel, we see enlightenment religious practice criticized. The events of the novel further lead to Elder Wieland building his own temple for worship twice a day. Upon Elder Wieland being unable to answer a command from his deity, he absconds to his temple, and perishes under…show more content…
Being unable to access both of their articles individually, one could look at Surratt’s brief view into Rosenthal’s critique of the novel and support it. After all, it is Elder and Theodore Wieland’s isolation in their beliefs that results in their respective downfalls. Watts’ analysis of Brown critiquing Elder Wieland’s sectarianism is also valid, as it is his conviction to a peculiar sect of Christianity that leads him to his doom, but the novel does not support a critique of orthodox Christianity, so I can’t say I’d agree with his article in its
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