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The church where Landon and his family attend, Southern Baptist, in collaboration with Beaufort High School, presents a Christmas play each year at the local playhouse.
The Christmas Angel, penned by the minister of Southern Baptist, Hegbert Sullivan, is a largely autobiographical story that parallels the life of the minister: A man's wife dies during childbirth, and he has to raise his daughter on his own, in spite of overwhelming grief.
In the play, the father, Tom Thornton, searches desperately to buy a particular music box for his daughter, whom he has kept at arm's length because of his grief.
While on an unsuccessful shopping trip to locate the music box, Tom meets a beautiful angel, who encourages him to be a better father; the music box then miraculously appears under the tree on Christmas morning.
The play is popular in Beaufort, playing to packed houses in spite of the amateur cast, drawn from seniors at the high school.
As the younger Landon narrates, he also describes his father, Worth Carter, a popular, well-known U.
Worth Carter and Reverend Sullivan do not see eye to eye, partly because Congressman Carter is less tenacious than Reverend Sullivan would like him to be in hunting down communist influences and sympathizers, but also because Landon's grandfather was a bootlegger and banker, who charged such exorbitant interest rates during the Great Depression that most of his customers lost their homes and businesses to him when they became unable to make their payments.
Reverend Sullivan, who once worked for Grandfather Carter, quit his job and joined the ministry, but he still harbors resentment and anger over Carter's behavior.
Like the protagonist in The Christmas Angel, Hegbert Sullivan's much-younger wife died in childbirth, leaving the minister to raise his daughter, Jamie, on his own.
Inthe year in which Landon is narrating the story, Jamie is a senior in high school, and she is cast as the angel in the play. Landon finds himself in drama class with the plain, devout, Bible-carrying Jamie, who is not only a model student but also a model person: Jamie is adored by the adults in Beaufort but not befriended by any of the students, both because of her drab clothing and plain appearance and because her near-perfect behavior reflects poorly on the rest of the student body.
At the end of the chapter, Landon considers the number of years he has known and mostly avoided Jamie, and he is shocked, after all that time, to discover that she is developing a woman's body that, along with a summer tan from Bible school, makes her appear almost pretty in Landon's eyes.
Analysis Chapter 1 evokes all the classic images of a small, Southern town in the s. People wave to each other; the natural beauty surrounding the town is enjoyed and appreciated; and churches dominate town life. In this town, even teenagers understand that hurting someone is impolite: Increased religious diversity, coupled with a more rigorous separation of church and state, may result today in a legal challenge to a play such as this one.
But in Beaufort inwith Christian churches central to the town and non-Christian religious practices barely visible, the concept is plausible. Landon's description of the Reverend Hegbert Sullivan's fixation with "fornicators" both adds levity and establishes Reverend Sullivan as an old-school, conservative Baptist minister.
When Reverend Sullivan's daughter, Jamie, is introduced later, her own piousness is perfectly believable, in light of Reverend Sullivan's fire-and-brimstone sermons. Landon's recounting of his experiences with Hegbert also establishes Jamie's father's dislike of — or at least, concern over the eternal soul of — Landon himself.
Landon spends time in his narrative summarizing the plot of The Christmas Angel, and his summation is important for three reasons. First, it foreshadows Hegbert's and Jamie's unique relationship, which is described later in the chapter. Hegbert's much-younger wife died in childbirth, after six miscarriages, and Hegbert, who had been a bachelor for many years, was left to raise a daughter alone.
Second, it sets the stage for Landon's involvement in the play, without which Landon's and Jamie's relationship does not have the chance to blossom. Finally, Landon's discussion of the play gives him a chance to describe Jamie Sullivan, who Landon has known his entire life.
Through Landon's eyes, readers get a close-up description of Jamie's physical, social, and spiritual makeup, none of which are appealing to Landon in the early chapters of the novel.Custom Gap's Mission Statement Essay A Mission Statement is a fundamental document in any firm or institution (companies, schools etc.), be it big or small.
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