T.F.: A beautiful Fifth Avenue penthouse

T.F.: A beautiful Fifth Avenue penthouse November 1, 2011

Tribulation Force, pp. 428-430

Buck and Chloe had settled in Buck’s beautiful Fifth Avenue penthouse, but any joy normal newlyweds might have received from a place like that was lost on them.

Let me first express my relief and gratitude that we readers are spared any account of the joy of normal newlyweds. Just a few pages ago, Buck Williams and Chloe Steele were both chaste virgins and now, presumably, they are not, but the less said about that the better.

Jerry Jenkins seems not to realize that the category of “normal newlyweds” can’t be stretched to apply to the context of a “Fifth Avenue penthouse.” Buck and his new bride have moved into some of the most expensive housing on the planet. Working for the Antichrist apparently pays really well.

As a “journalist,” Buck has never reported on what he knows about the source of Nicolae’s vast wealth. That fortune — the money that pays for Buck’s salary and his Manhattan penthouse — was inherited from international banker Jonathan Rothschild Rockefeller Illuminati Stonagal. It comes, in other words, from a man whom Buck watched die, sitting quietly without a peep of protest as Nicolae shot him in cold blood. Buck never requested or solicited the hush money now paying for his penthouse, but he’s still happily cashing Nicolae’s checks.

Chloe kept up her research and study on the Internet. …

I’m not really sure what the authors mean by “research.” Tim LaHaye insists that his End Times prophecies are taken verbatim from the “literal” words of the Bible. If it’s all as self-evident and straightforward as he says, then why does she need to do any additional research? The footnotes of a Scofield prophecy reference Bible explain all the jumping around and restitching of the text needed to string together the basic premillennial dispensationalist check list. All the additional books she might need to consult would fit on a single shelf. So what’s she surfing around on the Internet for?

The answer, I suppose, is that she’s doing what people like Jack Van Impe do for a living — combing through the news from all over the world in search of anything that might be interpreted as the fulfillment of “Bible prophecy.”

But there’s no point in her doing that either. She doesn’t need to discern the signs of the times — the times are now. The rapturing away of her mother and brother and billions of others made that clear enough. There’s no longer any need for the kind of “research” into current events being done now in the real world by self-proclaimed prophecy scholars like LaHaye, Van Impe, Hal Lindsay or John Hagee. You don’t need to check the local radar online when you can see the tornado approaching right outside your window.

Buck had been praying about whether to tell Chloe of [ex-]President Fitzhugh’s warning about New York City and Washington. Fitzhugh was well-connected and undoubtedly accurate, but Buck couldn’t spend his life running from danger. Life was perilous these days, and war and destruction could break out anywhere.

If those prophecies Chloe is researching are true, then actually war and destruction are about to break out everywhere. But after being specifically warned that New York City was about to be attacked, Buck’s lack of concern seems foolish and his failure to share this warning with Chloe seems cruel. Life is perilous these days, he shrugs. The Hypothetical Bus could strike at any time, so there’s no point in getting out of the street or paying any attention to the headlights bearing down on you. You can’t spend your life running from danger.

The quotes above are from the short Buck-and-Chloe section on page 430, which really seems as though it should have come before this Buck-and-Chloe section back on page 428:

Chloe broke down when she read her father’s email about Hattie. “Buck, we have failed that woman. We have all failed her. … We have to do more. We have to get to her somehow, talk to her.”

Chloe is right. She and Buck do have a serious obligation to try to rescue Hattie from her fate. They owe it to her. They owe her a debt of gratitude for helping to introduce them and prodding them to start dating. And they both feel they owe Hattie something for having wronged her in the past. Buck introduced her to the Antichrist, so without his involvement she wouldn’t have wound up where she is today, carrying the love-child of the 10-horned Beast from the Abyss. And Chloe, I think, feels guilty due to her father’s long mistreatment of Hattie. By stringing her along for so many years, Rayford created, or at least reinforced, the pattern of manipulation by a father figure that left Hattie vulnerable to Nicolae.

More generally, Buck and Chloe possess a great, life-giving secret. They have The Key — the hidden knowledge that is the only thing that can save Hattie not just from the years of cruel suffering that lie ahead, but from eternal torture thereafter in Hell.

We should note again that this idea reflects a big departure from the more conventional Christian understanding of the gospel. It seems more like a Gnostic view, with salvation or enlightenment achieved through initiation into secret knowledge. But these are the rules in the universe of the Left Behind series, so whether or not this is how actual Christians in the actual world think of — or ought to think of — the meaning of “salvation,” that’s how it works in these pages for these characters. Given that, and given how “perilous” life has become in the Great Tribulation, it would seem that Buck and Chloe have an urgent moral obligation to share their secret mystery knowledge with Hattie and Steve Plank and Chaim Rosenzweig and everyone else they can possibly reach as quickly as possible.

I think that urgent obligation is intended to be one of the main lessons in this book. That’s why we’ve seen Rayford desperately, if awkwardly, attempting to convince his co-workers of the truth of this secret knowledge. But neither Chloe nor Buck has displayed any such desperate urgency. Chloe has been living almost a cloistered life — shut away in her studies with very little contact with outsiders. (She may feel a special concern for Hattie just because Hattie is the only “unsaved” person she knows.) And Buck has been working to conceal that secret knowledge, to keep it hidden from his millions of readers and from his closest friends and associates, actively misleading Steve and Chaim when it seems like they’ve gotten too close to figuring out what he knows.

“We have failed that woman,” Chloe said, “We have all failed her.” But it’s hard not to read this section as a rebuke of Buck specifically. He was supposed to have attended to the Hattie Situation several chapters ago.

By this point in the book it has become routine for our protagonists to rub elbows with the Antichrist, working by his side, hanging out and regularly engaging in small talk with the mind-reading incarnation of pure evil. In the early chapters of Tribulation Force, however, a face-to-face encounter with Nicolae was portrayed as a harrowing ordeal that put one’s life and soul in jeopardy. Buck endured that grave danger earlier in this book expressly for the chance it might afford him to talk to Hattie and to try to rescue her from the Antichrist’s clutches. Once he got there, though, he didn’t even try. She greeted him, he sneered at her silently, and he left without even attempting to speak to her.

No one in the book has asked Buck about that failure — about that refusal to even try to do what he supposedly had gone to Nicolae’s offices to do. But the whole time he was there, Chloe had been back in Chicago, weaving a magical shield of prayer to protect him from the Antichrist’s power long enough for him to reach Hattie. Chloe can’t have forgotten about that, even if the authors themselves apparently have.

So Chloe’s lament that “we have failed that woman” also reads like a pointed reminder to her husband of his self-centered cowardice and failure. Such a complaint is interesting coming now, during the first blush of newlywed bliss. It’s a sign, perhaps, that Chloe (or maybe meta-Chloe) isn’t entirely impressed with her new husband and his “beautiful Fifth Avenue penthouse.” It’s a sign, perhaps, that she is aware that such extravagance, paid for with the Antichrist’s blood-money, comes at a high price. And that she is uneasy with her husband’s willingness and eagerness to pay that price.

The authors want us to see Chloe here as a humble helpmeet to her righteously heroic husband, but there’s also a glimmer of something unbidden and unintended — a glimpse that meta-Chloe realizes she’s less like Lois Lane than she is like Carmela Soprano.

For his part, Buck does what he always does whenever anyone proposes bold and decisive action: He explains why he couldn’t possibly be expected to do that.

“We have to get to her somehow, talk to her.”

“And have her know that I’m a believer, just like your dad is? It doesn’t seem to matter that Nicolae’s pilot is a Christian, but can you imagine how long I would last as his magazine publisher if he knew I was?”

The possessive pronoun there is telling — “his magazine publisher.” Bought and paid for. And I can’t help but picture him gesturing with his arm, indicating the full sweep of his “beautiful Fifth Avenue penthouse” as he says, “can you imagine how long I would last.”

It’s difficult sometimes to remember that we readers are supposed to like Buck Williams. The authors seem not to realize how unattractive his cowardice can be or how hard it is for readers to root for a character when he’s arguing that he can’t risk his privilege because that might threaten his ability to reform the Antichrist’s tyranny by working within the system.

“What are you going to do, Chloe? Tell her she’s carrying the Antichrist’s child and that she ought to leave him?”

“It may come to that.”

If all else fails, Chloe says, and if every other possible course of action is exhausted, then they just might be forced to resort to telling Hattie the truth.

"IME, it's odd in any case for a church to count someone who isn't old ..."

LBCF, No. 241: ‘Sign my yearbook?’
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  • I got “Kenny Bruce Williams” … being as I know no character with that name, but I do know narrative convention, I’m going to guess this is Chloe and Buck’s kid.

    Oh gods, having Buck Williams for a fathe…  THE HORROR.

    My 2nd was Chloe.  I’m more OK with that, assuming I can be Meta Chloe.  Otherwise…

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I got Chaim Rozenweig, followed by David Hassid (whom we haven’t met yet) then Tsion Ben-Judah. Apparently I’m giving off strong Jewish vibes.

    Very happy to report that I got 0% for Buck, Rayford or the Antichrist himself. YAY!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand how they’ve determined Kenny’s personality, since he’s, what, 5 years old when Jesus returns?  (And you’re right; he’s Buck and Chloe’s baby.) 

    He was my 2nd choice.  My first was Hattie, which I’m ok with.

    I wonder what you have to put to get Rayford Steele?  He didn’t even crack my top 5.

  • A very small comics company called Dandelion Studios has a series called “Zephyr & Reginald:  Minions for Hire.”

    Description of the first issue:

    “The Untimely Demise of Cold Shoulder”
    Zephyr DeCastle and Reginald Ertz are two engineers who have found work as mad scientists in the service of Cold Shoulder, a villain determined to freeze the planet. Unfortunately for the minions, Cold Shoulder is also a very bad boss.

    Unfortunately for Minions fans, there aren’t very many issues out.  Still, Minions for Hire might entertain a few of you!

  • Fortunately, I think I’m poor and insignificant enough to escape Buck Williams’ notice.  It’s not like our Buck’s the sort to pay attention to “the least of these,” is it?

  • Anonymous

    You see, this quiz says that I am Hattie Durham.  How can I avoid becoming the mistress of the Antichrist?

    Console yourself with the realization that your plight could be worse.  According to the quiz, I am the answer to the riddle of what you get when you cross a brainwashed Stanford dropout with the Greatest Investigative Reporter Who Doesn’t Do Anything.

  • o/ Your flash fiction is fun :)

    Incidentally, regarding this note of Fred’s?

    Let me first express my relief and gratitude that we readers are spared
    any account of the joy of normal newlyweds. Just a few pages ago, Buck
    Williams and Chloe Steele were both chaste virgins and now, presumably,
    they are not, but the less said about that the better.

    I shudder to imagine the mechanics of a Jenkins-written consummation scene between Chloe and Buck. Presumably Buck would have to telephone Chloe first to get “in the mood”.

  • Rikalous

    I rather like Animorphs. I also credit it with instilling in me the
    concept of “War means people get hurt, in rather disgusting ways” at a
    suitably early stage of my development. I mean, damn, kid’s story or
    not, some of those combat scenes are incredibly brutal.

    That scene in The Andalite’s Gift where Elfangor refuses to kill the noncombatant Yeerks must have blown tiny-me’s mind, because it’s one of the first things I remember when I think about those books.

  • I got “Kenny Bruce Williams” …

    I got the same thing…so…does this make us twins?

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s because somebody already went through the trouble of writing the Chloe/Buck sex scene, http://www.theonion.com/articles/horribly-awkward-first-sexual-encounter-worth-the,1614/

  • Anonymous

    There is a lengthy assembly in post-Rapture heaven during which Jesus
    presents each of the “saints” with a crown (some more ornate than
    others) and tells his or her life story…

    Tell me he doesn’t do it in alphabetical order!

  • I think it’s because somebody already went through the trouble of writing the Chloe/Buck sex scene,

    D-X

    Thank providence Jenkins skipped that part, then.

  • Jenny Islander

    I hope I took a light touch with the writer I am using as an example–I noted that she does have a way with description and a scene in which the protagonist walked by that lake near Hogwarts in a snowstorm was really lovely.  But there were two major problems.  The first was that her protagonist existed to fulfill her needs and assuage her insecurities, so she did not take kindly to being told that her heroine was behaving like a clingy creep.  The other, in some ways more serious, was that she did not want to hear that mangoes don’t grow outdoors in Scotland or that crinolines are not made of chicken wire.  I touched a nerve by pointing out her heroine’s poor behavior, so her reaction was understandable–but I also ticked her off by telling her that writing well involves checking facts.  That’s just whiny.

  • Tonio

    I shudder to imagine the mechanics of a Jenkins-written consummation scene between Chloe and Buck.

    It would probably be even more passionless than the marital bed of Winston and his wife Katharine in Nineteen Eighty-Four, or the attempted impregnation of Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale.

  • Anonymous

    I got Nicky himself.  Sounds good to me.

  • I’d imagine for Rayford you’d need an “Are you a massive prick?” option, with the answer being ‘Yes” and rating it Very Important. >.>

  • Yeah, some people are like that unfortunately (x_x)  You probably did fine, I just have that pet peeve I ramble about from time to time.

  • Ohgodsno. (X_X)

  • What’s really amusing is that my answers were:

    Do you believe in God? No (Very Important)

    Are you Evil? No (Very Important)

    In a battle between Good and Evil, are you on the battlefield? Yes (Very Important)

    —–

    Maybe the idea of an atheist who isn’t evil just short-circuited it or something lol

  • I think the picture for this article is likely representative… http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IKEAErotica

  • Rob Brown

    This is an understandable position, and likewise, it is understandable
    that in a story like LB, characters would want to cling to a facade of
    normalcy in the face of literally Earth-shattering changes, to ignore
    the damage to the world and pretend that everything is like it was
    before, while resenting the changes they know have actually happened.
     This actually offers a lot of room for character driven drama, holding
    onto concepts and possessions that they know they no longer have a use
    for, but still keep because they feel a need to have something of the
    old world to cling to, something to keep them grounded, to keep them
    from being washed away in the sweeping changes and losing themselves in
    them. 

    Yeah, I could believe that there’d be people living in denial like that, trying not to think about what’s on the horizon and just going on as though everything was fine.  This can work.  I just finished reading a book vastly superior to LB where the main character was the only one who knew about the death of another character, and he didn’t tell anybody.  The reason was that he didn’t want to think about it, or think about what the repercussions would be.  (And this was an important person who died, so the repercussions were pretty earth-shattering.)  It’s not heroic or courageous and isn’t presented as such, but it is human.

    Chloe and Buck, however, keep on talking about what’s coming up.  It’s not like one of them says “Honey, we really should plan for…” and is answered with “Please, not now.  I don’t want to think about that.  It’s too upsetting.”  No, they think and talk about what’s coming up all the time.  They aren’t in denial.  Quite the opposite: they’re resigned to it.  So unless they want to just die, why the hell are they not getting off of their asses?

    The other thing is that Buck doesn’t explain why it’s important for him to have this job.  How does it factor into the TF’s plans?  Is he supposed to be spying on Nicolae?  Is he feeding Bruce information that he (Bruce) can act on?  Is he waiting for just the right moment to stab Nicolae in the back (or head, as the case may be) and biding his time?  If so, he hasn’t told anybody!  The authors might think that Buck’s and Rayford’s reasons for keeping these jobs are self-evident, but based on what I’ve read here, they aren’t.

    Finally, if working for Nicky Opposite-Of-A-Molehill is so helpful to the Tribulation Force, why have they not tried to get Chloe a job with him as well?  I know she’s got no college education, but she’s probably at least qualified to be a receptionist or something.  Instead, when she decides to drop out of college because “What’s the point?”, she’s told “You can go to college right here, with Bruce, learning about the End Times!  And that’s all you need to do or know!”

  • Rob Brown

    “So I’m the greatest investigative reporter in the world by default? Woo hoo! The two sweetest words in the English language: de-fault! De-fault!” De-fault!”

  • Caravelle

    I’m Chloe ! Yay ! Obviously the meta version though. (and David Hassid as second choice. Isn’t he the hacker ? I guess that isn’t bad either)

  • Rob Brown

    It says I’m Fortunato.

  • CharityB

    I’m sick of your insults, you big stupid jerk.

    Would you like to come down to my wine cellar lately? I have this new cask of amontillado — it’s to die for!

  • Ken

    It is a common trait of people of a more culturally conservative persuasion to want to live in a world similar to the one in which they were raised, not so much because they think it is an ideal world, but simply because it is a world that they know, a world that is predictable, and a world that they are familiar with and know how to navigate.

    This was used to brilliant effect in Parke Godwin’s Waiting for the Galactic Bus and The Snake Oil Wars, and also Robert Bausch’s Almighty Me.  In these, the afterlife (or at least, significant chunks of it) is largely defined by human expectations. So  there are large regions of tract housing with picket fences and two-car garages, just because the inhabitants can’t imagine life any different.  They could have anything else – in Bausch’s novel, they could have eternal bliss – if only they could drop their habits of thought.

    Come to think of it, L&J’s afterlife is also defined by “can’t imagine anything different”.  As I recall, post-resurrection everyone still has houses, cars, jobs, meals, and children.  They even live under the continous threat of eternal damnation, at least for the first thousand years, and have to make sure the kids believe in Jesus (in the right way) lest they be cast into hell.  

  • Anonymous

    Woo hoo! The two sweetest words in the English language: de-fault! De-fault!” De-fault!”

    Funny, I said that exact sentence last night to my wife. I was explaining: “In a sense, you’re both winners…  But in a more real sense, Barney is the winner.”

  • You get a bit of that in the early seasons of The Venture Bros. with Henchmen 21 and 24.  With some others as well, most notably with “Watch” from the Guild of Calamitous Intent, but 21 and 24 are the most prominent.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    They even live under the continous threat of eternal damnation, at least for the first thousand years, and have to make sure the kids believe in Jesus (in the right way) lest they be cast into hell.

    “All the joys of the Fundamentalist lifestyle, without even the hope of death as an escape.”?

  • Yeah, I could believe that there’d be people living in denial like that, trying not to think about what’s on the horizon and just going on as though everything was fine.  This can work.  I just finished reading a book vastly superior to LB where the main character was the only one who knew about the death of another character, and he didn’t tell anybody.  The reason was that he didn’t want to think about it, or think about what the repercussions would be.  (And this was an important person who died, so the repercussions were pretty earth-shattering.)  It’s not heroic or courageous and isn’t presented as such, but it is human.

    And who has not endured degrees of such a thing?  Like not wanting to admit that a loved one has died, or parents who keep their children’s rooms just the way they were left when the children have flown the nest.  Holding to the patterns is a way of coping with loss, and I can certainly see that being the reason everything seems so “normal” in meta-LB.  If there is anything sympathetic or humanizing about our “protagonists”, that would be it.  

    Chloe and Buck, however, keep on talking about what’s coming up.  It’s not like one of them says “Honey, we really should plan for…” and is answered with “Please, not now.  I don’t want to think about that.  It’s too upsetting.”  No, they think and talk about what’s coming up all the time.  They aren’t in denial.  Quite the opposite: they’re resigned to it.  So unless they want to just die, why the hell are they not getting off of their asses?

    They have a rather bizarre sense of time.  In this turbulent time, they hold to the patterns of the past.  They do not live in the present, and they have no future.  Sure, they talk about what is to come, but not in the sense that they do anything to prepare for it.  They just bow their heads and prey for it to come swiftly.  

    The other thing is that Buck doesn’t explain why it’s important for him to have this job.  How does it factor into the TF’s plans?  Is he supposed to be spying on Nicolae?  Is he feeding Bruce information that he (Bruce) can act on?  Is he waiting for just the right moment to stab Nicolae in the back (or head, as the case may be) and biding his time?  If so, he hasn’t told anybody!  The authors might think that Buck’s and Rayford’s reasons for keeping these jobs are self-evident, but based on what I’ve read here, they aren’t.

    I wish that they actually were spying on him, actually sought out these positions and actually did something with the information they were tapping.  But no, the only reason that they accept them in the first place is from some vague notion that it was “God’s will.”  And if they are complicit in the horrors that the Antichrist inflicts, then they are only complicit because God will them to be so.  

    Takes the phrase, “I was only following orders,” to a whole new level.  

  • You get a bit of that in the early seasons of The Venture Bros. with Henchmen 21 and 24.  With some others as well, most notably with “Watch” from the Guild of Calamitous Intent, but 21 and 24 are the most prominent.

    I am fond of the villainous business organizer, Killinger, Henry Killinger, and his Magic Murder Bag.  

  • I seem to be Kenny Bruce Williams. At least I’m not one of those other fools.

  • So unless they want to just die, why the hell are they not getting off of their asses?

    Maybe they really *do* want to die. After all, if an RTC dies during the Tribulation, they skip the rest of the disasters and get resurrected at the Glorious Appearing in a perfect 33(34?)-year-old unaging body. Whereas if you *don’t* die, you have to struggle through all the seals and judgments, and *then* you have to keep going in a (slowly) aging body for the next thousand effing years, growing ever more decrepit…

    I’d take the quick way out! (Of course, you can’t actually *suicide*, because that’s a sin…)

  • Anonymous

    After all, if an RTC dies during the Tribulation, they skip the rest of the disasters and get resurrected at the Glorious Appearing in a perfect 33(34?)-year-old unaging body. Whereas if you *don’t* die, you have to struggle through all the seals and judgments, and *then* you have to keep going in a (slowly) aging body for the next thousand effing years, growing ever more decrepit…

    Of course both Vernon Billings and Bruce Barnes conveniently left out that important detail in their Tribulation lectures.

  • Anonymous

    The other thing is that Buck doesn’t explain why it’s important for him to have this job.  How does it factor into the TF’s plans?  Is he supposed to be spying on Nicolae?  Is he feeding Bruce information that he (Bruce) can act on?  … The authors might think that Buck’s and Rayford’s reasons for keeping these jobs are self-evident, but based on what I’ve read here, they aren’t.

    As someone noted earlier, Buck and Rayford are placed in positions close to Nicky so that they can feed the readers information.  Not once in the series* do we see things from Nicky’s perspective.  It’s always a strategically-placed RTC (David ben-Chassidicstein, Wayne Chung, Mac McCalladocious, etc).

    * Never in the original 12 books.  The readers do get to see Nicky’s perspective in the prequels.

  • The Lodger

    Is that the Global Community Weekly World News?

  • Well, yeah, but it’s not as if they need to tell everyone explicitly. After all, this information is *clearly* stated in the Bible and known to anyone who reads it like our heroes, right?

    Right?

  • Jldicken

    I feel I should point out that it’s Raj’s birthday, for those that would like to wish him well.

    Happu birthday, Raj!

  • I wonder… does “suicide by cop” count as suicide in this context?

    What I mean is:  While I doubt you could get away with say… suicide bombing (as that explicitly involves you taking your own life, albeit to take other lives*) – but would you be similarly in trouble if you say… charged Global Community HQ with an assault rifle?

    I mean there’s absolutely zero chance you’re going to survive that little escapade – you probably won’t even succeed in doing any damage, let alone say… taking out Nicolae… but would that count as suicide within the framework of the books?

    I’m not sure why I’m bothering to think it through, I’m sure the authors haven’t, but… still. >.<

    *Which isn't something I'd think a loving God would be at all thrilled about, but the Left Behind God is loving in the same way as shaving with a cheese grater is fun.

  • Anonymous

    Hattie does — in essense — suicide by preaching.  And she is honored for it at the very end.

    Melancholy washed over Rayford when he recognized Hattie Durham embracing Jesus.  How he had misused her and nearly given up on her, but what a brave saint she had become in the end. When she knelt, Michael the archangel handed Jesus a crystalline tiara, which He placed on her head. “My daughter,” He said, “you were martyred for your testimony of me in the face of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and so you will bear this crown for eternity. Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    from Glorious Appearing

  • Huh, interesting.  I guess I assumed the way things were going Hattie was pretty much doomed.  Well that’s a plus at least she’s one of the few  likable characters so far.

  • Jenny Islander

    I was just reading a scene in a post-apocalyptic novel that features some people trekking through the ruins of Toronto about 25 years after a plot device condemned basically all urbanites to a slow, horrible death.  The travelers stop to climb the giant tower overlooking the city, because they have never seen anything like it.  On one of the landings they find the bones of a woman curled around the bones of a cat, which are curled around a bottle of prescription sedatives.  There happens to be a Catholic priest in the group.  In his opinion, it wasn’t suicide as the Catholic Church defines it, because she was not going to survive no matter what.  I agree.  If you’re going to be killed soon no matter what you do, how you check out is pretty much up to you.

  • Anonymous

    In his opinion, it wasn’t suicide as the Catholic Church defines it, because she was not going to survive no matter what.

    That’s really peculiar, because I just Googled ‘Catholic Kevorkian’ and got a bunch of articles where Catholics decry him. So unless Kevorkian was working with people who weren’t terminally ill, which I have never heard of ever…

  • Nora

     The way a priest explained it to me, in the context of preparing a funeral for a man who had, without question, committed suicide, is that the Church assumes that someone who commits suicide is not in his right mind at the time, and to commit a mortal sin, you have to have full consent of the mind and will.

    I’m not a Catholic anymore, but I did think that was surprisingly compassionate for the church I grew up in.

  • Anonymous

    {{{{{{{{{{{{{{XXXXXXXXX Jldicken XXXXXXXXX}}}}}}}}}}}}}

  • Jenny Islander

    Necroposting to add: I forgot that the novel also points out that a few people did survive in most cities: by killing other people who were attempting to produce food, or killing other people for food.  We don’t learn anything else about the dead person, so we don’t know why she was not one of the few people who survived by running for the hills.  It’s possible that she had to choose between committing suicide and committing murder.  Or maybe she was one of the slow, weak ones who had to choose between starvation in hiding or death at the hands of cannibals and picked  Option C.