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Coral, the thirteen year-old daughter of Col. Fellows, is described as a young lady who, from a very early stage, has displayed high levels of character, discipline, and maturity which are unheard of from girls of her same age. The very act of her keeping secret the fact that she is helping "the whiskey priest" hide, denotes a spirit of independent thinking that is one of a kind.
Yet, is important to note that the character of Coral is not completely fictional. Greene based her character on a very impressive young lady whom he, himself, had met in the past. This leads the reader to concur that, perhaps, Coral is the one character in the story whose role is to influence the priest, rather than becoming influenced by him, as the rest of the characters whom the priest meets do.After all, the person who inspires the character also inspires the author.
Even after the priest asks Coral to pray for him, she is certain that she cannot do it because she "stopped believing in God" since the age of ten. She is someone who is completely sure of her system of belief.
Yet, it is important to also consider that Coral "becomes a woman" (has her first menstrual period) shortly after the experience of hiding, feeding, and listening to, the "whiskey priest". Rather than the priest changing anything about the way that she acts or thinks, it seems as if Coral's meeting with the "whiskey priest" completes the path towards her maturity. Could this be an allegory of a rite of passage? Is the "whiskey priest" meant to be a part of Coral's life in order for Coral to complete the cycles of her development?
Since Coral dies in the novel, and the "whiskey priest" continues to remember her, it is safe to conclude that it is SHE who somewhat influences the priest, rather than otherwise.
Conclusively, the character of Coral is richly developed. The priest's character is very developed as well. Hence, it is a matter of analyzing which character influenced the other the most. It is safe to say that Coral influenced the "whiskey priest" more than he influenced Coral. For this reason, we could say that Coral was impressed and challenged. Yet, she impressed and challenged "the whiskey priest" twice over.
Thank you very much!! I also thought that way, but my professor suggested that Carol is influenced by the priest since, after their encounter, she had her menstrual period. Now, with your explanation, I'm able to understand it. Thanks again!
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