Journal Article

Unimaginable Variations: Christian Responsibility in the Cinema of Broken Identity

Glenn Whitehouse

in Literature and Theology

Volume 18, issue 3, pages 321-350
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/18.3.321
Unimaginable Variations: Christian Responsibility in the Cinema of Broken Identity

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This paper addresses the combination of theology and humanism by reflecting on Christian identity. Beginning with Paul Ricoeur's theory of fiction as a laboratory of ‘imaginative variations’ on the possibilities of ethical selfhood, I ask: if the world projected by the Christian scriptures overturns human possibilities, what happens to the Christian self's ethical responsibility' I analyse the motion pictures Fight Club, Memento, and The Matrix to interpret extreme cases or ‘unimaginable variations’ on the theme of conversion among broken, fragmented, and manipulated selves. I argue that The Matrix presents a form of conversion most conducive to fulfilling ethical responsibility.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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