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In Leo Tolstoy's story "Where love is there is God" what are the themes?

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swarnamalis | College Teacher | Salutatorian

Posted December 3, 2012 at 11:13 AM via web

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In Leo Tolstoy's story "Where love is there is God" what are the themes?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:49 AM (Answer #1)

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This short story focuses on the spiritual growth of the central character, Martin, who begins the story grief-stricken and void of purpose at the death of his only son, and ends the story having learnt a significant lesson about God and what it means to follow him in this world. The central theme of this story could therefore be described as Christian growth. Martin is a man who becomes gradually transformed through his reading of the Gospels and then his acting upon them. When he hears a voice--he assumes of Jesus himself--telling him that he will be paid a visit, he eagerly expects Jesus to come knocking on his door. Because Martin is so attentive towards what is happening outside he sees various sufferings and helps those people out, only to find at the end of the story that, in God's eyes, these count as helping out Jesus himself. Note the passage from the Bible that Martin reads at the end of the short story:

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.”

And on the lower part of the page he read this:

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25).

And Avdeich understood that his dream did not deceive him; that the Saviour really called upon him that day, and that he really received Him.

Martin learns the truth of these verses: by helping out various individuals he has actually helped out Jesus himself. The title is proven by his example. His expression of love indicates the presence of God, even though it might not be in the way that Martin himself is expecting.

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