Emily's Reviews > The Gospel According to Mark

The Gospel According to Mark by Jorge Luis Borges
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Feb 17, 12

I personally had a hard time getting into Jorge Luis Borges' "The Gospel According to Mark." Although he wrote it in a time where more people were educated when it came to understanding the Bible, having grown up in a not as religious family, I had a hard time following what Borges' message was that he wanted to send to his readers. Borges' created a character who represented a modern- day Christ of sorts and how corrupted the American public had become. While he had wanted to portray a story displaying the moral corruption of the American society, he created a story that only a small percent of today's modern society would be able to understand due to the thorough and complex allusions to the Bible. By limiting his message to only a fraction of today's society, his book fails in reaching society as a whole and changing the way Americans think.

This book however did have a powerful message to send, once one found the meaning behind the symbols woven throughout it. The main character, Baltasar, had many shared characteristics with Christ; he was able to heal, he read the teachings of the Bible to spread the word of God, and in the end, was even crucified by the others on the ranch. Borges' intention behind Baltasar and his tragic death was to show society how nothing had changed, and that society was corrupted and needed to put the teachings of the Bible into action as opposed to merely reading them.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Abdul (new)

Abdul Emily, I am surprised by your analysis of Borges' story. What is it in the story that made you think about American society? Or, were you referring to the entire continents of South and North America? If it is the U.S you are referring to, then the story was set in Argentina, near the city of Junin. There's also no evidence anywhere in the story that Borges was critiquing any particular society, American or not. His message isn't limited to a fraction of modern society either. The story of Christ or of his parallel isn't a limited, marginal one, not even in our time. Christ's kindness, age, crucifixion, healing powers, are all commonly known to all Christians, and the majority of Non-Christians in the modern world. Baltazar's father was a free thinker, and he himself only practised making the cross every night for the promise he made to his mother. Other than that, there is no indication that he was even a believer. Later, when Gutre asks him a question, we are told Baltazar's relgious theology is somewhat 'dim' in some translations of this story. He had no intention of 'spreading the word' to the Gutres. He just realised they were captivated by the story and kept reading to them to pass the time, after many attempts at reading another materials to them, and seeing they had little interest. Reading your analysis makes me wonder if we read the same story.

message 2: by Abdul (new)

Abdul I might also add that Borges was no Christian himself, and would thus have little interest in propagating it in the practise of people.

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