Think of a baptism scene from a work of literature. How are the characters different after the experience?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The baptism scene in Puzo's The Godfather is extremely significant.  A the moment when Michael stands as godfather at the baptism of the child of Connie and Carlo, all of the family's enemies are murdered at Michael's command.  The consolidation of power under the Coreleone name and specifically under Michael's control is at the exact moment when the child is being taken in by the Lord and when Michael becomes baptized as the child's godfather.  Whereas there was a sense of question as to how Michael would be able to operate when his father dies in the role of the Don, the baptismal moment answers this with stunning brutality.  It seems that Michael has embraced the darkest of demons at the moment when he is called to the brightest of lights.  The baptism fundamentally changes Michael, for it opens the door to a moral depravity and a sense of political control from which he never relents.  He kills Carlo for his treachery, even though moments earlier he stood as godfather to his child.  Michael is estranged from Kay, who turns to religion in the hopes of saving Michael's soul and preserving her own spiritual identity.  It is here where the baptism has relevance for it is a singular moment that is appealing to both the angels of the divine and reflective of the most savage instincts of the human being.


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