The instructions are simple
Below is a previous submitted essay with the format that the professor prefers
-5 secondary sources
- philosophical introduction.
- Big paragraphs
- quotes/examples utilized in a similar fashion alike the pasted essay below
the sample is underneath the topic for this essay I did in the past for this class and I recieved an A-
The topic is:
1: Discuss the theme of unconditional love
The Pilgrimage as a Spiritual Test in Bunyan’s
“The Pilgrim’s Progress”
For the faithful, life is often perceived as a series of tests designed to determine who deserves a seat in heaven and who will eventually fall into hell. It is the duty of the follower to complete these trials in order to be proven worthy for entry into God’s kingdom. For the Biblically-inclined, the path to righteous ascension is littered with traps and tribulations designed to break down even the most pious of believers. In John Bunyan’s allegorical story “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” the spectrum of dangers and temptations faced by pious men is poured upon the protagonist, Christian; the result of this is a great pilgrimage that concludes with spiritual guidance, enlightenment and freedom. Christian’s faith bends often but never breaks during his journey, and the tests beset upon him by God, while often brutal, are necessary to determine his true nature as a man of God.
Bunyan begins his tale by reminding the reader that the world is a dangerous and confusing place for a person following the path of righteousness. He refers to the “wilderness of this world,” (2137) a theme that will repeat throughout the story in a number of locations. The corporeal world of man is rife with pitfalls designed to consume the soul. The slough, the barren fields and the rushing river, all bring Christian to the point of absolute despair. The very world itself is referred to as the “City of Destruction” (2138), a vile place rife with sin that is soon to incur the fiery wrath of God. Even the people around Christian conspire to attack and defile him, as is evidenced in the shunning and deriding he receives from his own family who “thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly carriages;” (2137) the neighbors who ridicule; and the denizens of Vanity Fair who insult and assault him. The Evangelist even makes reference to the malevolent nature of The City of Destruction when he asks Christian, “Why not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils?” (2138), and the golden guards of the Heavenly gate specifically note the numerical nature of the tasks at hand when they explain that “you have but two difficulties more to meet with, and then you are in the [Celestial] city” (2143). Indeed, according to Bunyan, the world presented before man is little more than a narrow corridor lined with the most brutal of devices designed to break the individual’s resolve. The pilgrimage, therefore, is the pace and piety with which the humble man walks through said corridor.
The catalyst for Christian’s pilgrimage is the gut-wrenching confusion, fear and guilt he is struck by upon discovering the true nature of the world via the Bible. The sin he carries acts as a “great burden upon his back,” and he repeatedly asks in desperation, “What shall I do?” (2137) and “What shall I do to be saved?” (2138). Certain only that he is full of sin and that the City of Destruction is soon to be razed by the wrath of God, Christian commences his journey franticly, sprinting from his home with “his fingers in his ears” (2138). Clearly, he is still a man early in his religious development, and thusly does not have the fortitude to acknowledge his family, instead choosing to leave them behind. For Christian, this abandonment of his own family acts as a spiritual purge. It is the first step he must take in shedding himself of worldly possessions and the first of many tests he must pass to enter the Celestial City. Christian’s early unguided fanaticism harkens images of young converts of religion who blindly rush forward with their newfound piety, dangerous and unguided. He knows not where to go, and is aware only of the wrongs he has done and the imminent destruction of the world at the hands of God. Christian requires guidance, which is soon to come for this man on a pilgrimage.
Along the path to ascension, the pilgrim is both wholly alone yet completely surrounded by the populace of the world. This unique social dynamic serves as a multifaceted test. The pilgrim must complete the journey ostensibly “alone” while using a keen spiritual eye to discern who is with him and who is against him. Christian’s banishment begins from the moment he confesses his true feelings to his family. In response to his claims of destruction and request to escape, his family “began to be hardened” (2137) and “would quite neglect him” (2138). Eventually, Christian begins to stay in his chamber and wander his fields alone, often for many days at a time. The decision to abandon one’s family is certainly one of the most difficult choices an individual can make, and one that requires a great deal of faith. God rewards Christian for his belief with the guidance he was so desperately seeking in the form of an Evangelist, who clearly points Christian on his way. Although Christian cannot see “yonder wicketgate,” demonstrating that his spiritual maturity is not nearly complete, he is able to observe “yonder shining light” (2138), which indicates that Christian is on the correct path. The healthy push provided by the Evangelist is all the motivation Christian needs to leave his family and begin his treacherous pilgrimage. Bunyan applies the same alone/surrounded social dynamic soon thereafter in the form of Obstinate and Pliable, the latter of whom at first seems eager to join Christian on his pilgrimage. At the first sign of trouble, however, in the Slough of Despond, Pliable is drained of his faith and flees, exclaiming that “you [Christian] shall possess the brave country alone for me” (2140). Again though, God rewards Christian for his continued drive in the form of Help, who wrenches the sinking pilgrim from his murky grave and sets him back on his path.
It is ultimately in the final and most telling moment of Christian’s pilgrimage that the true nature of his journey is revealed to him and his faith consummated. As despair and despond washes over the pilgrim in the river that flows before the gates of Heaven, so close to his ultimate goal yet so far from entry, it seems like a very real possibility that the entryway to Hell will open up at the footstep of Heaven and swallow the pitiable Christian. As he sinks below the water, “a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him… all the words that he spake still tended to discover that he had horror of mind” (2143). Despite the trials Christian had overcome up until this point in the story and the signs he had received from God that he was on a righteous path, he still falls into the despair that has plagued him along his pilgrimage. His spiritual resolve is not complete. Bunyan is emphasizing the constantly churning nature of faith, which must be relentlessly tested in order to determine its legitimacy. Here, even mere feet away from the entrance to Heaven, the soul must be tested in the most stringent of ways, for as the sinking Christian demonstrates, even individuals who have suffered the most trying tests of faith and emerged more pious for it, are still prone to breakdowns in belief. Such is the nature of a pilgrimage: a journey designed to ceaselessly try and consequently either break down or reinforce the faith of a righteous follower. In his darkest moment, the guide Hopeful reminds the pilgrim that “these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you, but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses… Jesus Christ maketh thee whole” (2144). The powerful words bring holy faith coursing through the body of Christian, and he is revitalized by the simple reminder that God is testing him, has tested him before and rewarded him with goodness, and will always be there to support Christian in his darkest moments.
With his pilgrimage complete and entry into Heaven gained, Christian’s tests at the hands of God have broken down and rebuilt his faith into an absolute entity. He abandoned his family, ignored the mocking jeers of his neighbors, sunk into and escaped the mucky depths of the Slough, resisted the temptations and violent heresy of Vanity Fair, and found shallow ground in the river before the gate of Heaven. For his sacrifices, Christian was rewarded with spiritual fulfillment, a strengthening of faith, and everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven. The uncertainty and fear that wracked his mind at the onset of his journey have vanished, replaced by sublime peace and a righteous path. While his trials and tribulations were certainly great, the reward for his persistence is beyond that of any Earthly possession. Christian’s ascension into heaven is indicative of the power of God, the strength of the human spirit, and the life-changing force of the pilgrimage.
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