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The Gospel According to Mark by James R.…
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The Gospel According to Mark

by James R. Edwards

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In The Gospel According to Mark, Borges successfully reproduces Christ’s story through the tale of a young medical student being forced to go to a ranch by his cousin. Borges effortlessly follows the structure of the Hero’s Journey. Including separation: the medical school, and a couple different roads of trials; the storm, temptress, and reading the English Bible. Borges uses these analytical connections to connect people with his story and express that religion does not need to be taken so literally. By reproducing Christ’s story Borges is showing that there are other ways to tell the story. A story can have the same story line and follow the same structure but changing the setting, time period, and narrator, changes a piece of literature. Since Borges modifies these elements, the story is able to relate to other people that the Bible may not relate to. Since this story is not taking place in 28-30 A.D. more people might be able to understand the message since they are not constantly wondering if the author is really writing the words of God. Even though Borges alters the story in some portions the same message is conveyed. Espinosa must sacrifice himself for humanity.
  schwi101 | Feb 18, 2011 |
When I first started to read the Gospel According to Mark by Jorge Luis Borges, I didn’t realize that embedded into the story are religious references; therefore, it was extremely difficult for me to pick out the ironies and meaning behind the plot. As a person that lacks the knowledge with her own religion, I couldn’t quite comprehend the direct connection between the protagonist in the story to some religious background; henceforth, I interpreted this story in a different manner. I focused more on Baltasar Espinoza and his character’s development. In the beginning of the story, the narrator gave Baltasar an impression of a typical educated, ordinary man. Through the description, there was nothing really special about him. His archetype is that of a common man that goes on a quest to be changed and change. His ‘call to adventure’ started when his cousin invited him to spend his summer on La Colorada ranch. This can be considered as the crossing of threshold even though there is no actual crossing involved. During the transition from being in a known world to the unknown world, I see the changes within Baltasar. He was in this urban ambiance with a medical-centered mindset but slowly through his stay at the ranch, he transformed into something quite the opposite from his original self. Through reading the English bible and reading to the Gutres family, his character blended into the rural, natural, and uneducated environment. As his character developed, I found some ironies with the way he is presented. For instance, Baltasar is a thirty-three year old medical student who should be entailed to a prospective bright future. The first question I asked myself was, “How can someone be in his 30’s and still working to be ‘qualified for graduation in the subject to which he was most drawn.’ It didn’t make any sense to me. On top of that, he was someone that worshipped ‘France but despised the French and thought little of Americans but approved the fact that they were tall buildings.’ The narrator indication about Baltasar made readers believe that this protagonist’s way of thinking seems to be is be all over the place. He believes in the former but not the latter. It wasn’t until his character had exposure to the bible, does he knowledge and views on certain things become more stable. I was able to verify this when he was able to answer Gutre’s question about hell and Christ. A subject that was once unfamiliar or insignificant to him was now something he yearns to learn more about. As a reader, I could infer that his character eventually reaches the end of his journey as he witnessed the beams that replaced a cross. He will soon return from the ranch as a different man.
  duong111 | Feb 15, 2011 |
Lauren Mah
The Gospel According to Mark utilizes the hero’s journey to convey the story of Jesus through an unsuspecting character, Baltasar Espinosa. Through painstakingly blatant attributes given to Epsinosa by Jorge Luis Borges, the audience gains a heightened awareness of the voyage that unfolds before Espinosa. The Hero’s Journey encompasses a multitude of steps that call upon a seemingly average character to a task that alters their perception of the beholders world. The Hero’s Journey captures the interest of the audience by creating a character that embodies the traits and characteristics that are sought by all. The separation, initiation and return dispel different traits about Espinosa that make him a feasible character.
The Separation factor in Espinosas journey illustrates him as a regular man looking to travel throughout life unscathed by the troubles of life. Espinosa states, “…he said yes at once—not because he was fond of the country, but more out of his natural complacency and also because it was easier to say yes than to dream up reasons for saying no”, which sets Espinosa as an easy going character—a trait that evokes some form of emotion form the audience whether it be in agreance or disagreeance with Espinosa. Therefore the Hero’s Journey draws in the reader out of compliance or curiousity for where Espinosa’s character trait may take him.
The next stage of the Journey commences with the initiation. Espinosa helps the Gutres fight the flood, and helps save his new acquaintences. Following the event the temptress enters the scene to further reel in the reader by playing on the inner weakness of love. The temptress creates mystery within the short story,“When she left she did not kiss him; Espinosa realized that he didn’t even know her name”, she plays upon human curiosity. Again Jorges Luis Borges utilizes the structure of the Hero’s Journey to grasp the reader’s attention.
Espinosa finds the end to the story he has been looking for all along. The return Espinosa receives comes from the ending of the flood and the formation of the cross. Readers eagerly await the return because the return signifies a worth to surmounting hardships, and instills a sense of self worth.
The Hero’s Journey works as a function to evoke human emotion toward a specifc character. The structure of the Hero’s Journey helps set up a wave of closeness with the character to help the audience understand the life that Christ led and the actions he took rather than the tales he spoke.
  Laurenwuvsu01 | Sep 16, 2010 |
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