Whose life does the author allude to in his description of Crummell's three temptations?

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Jessica Pope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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In his essay, "Of Alexander Crumell," W. E. B. DuBois alludes to the life of Jesus Christ by making references to symbolic transitions in Crumell's life that that mirror those found in the story of Christ. According to DuBois, Crummell was called, like Christ, to be a leader and savior of his people: "a voice and a vision called him to be a priest,- a seer to lead the uncalled." Crumell, like Christ, struggled with three temptations. In the "red dawn" of his life, he was tempted by Hate as he observed the cruelty and ignorance of humanity. In the "darkening noonday" he struggled with the temptation of Despair, and at the "twilight" of his life, he was tempted by Doubt. Like Christ - who faced his three temptations during a forty day fast - Crumell's temptations preceed (and seem to prepare him for) deep humiliation and symbolic death. Crumell's humiliation was being rejected from every university he applied to, despite stellar credentials. Christ's humiliation consisted of the pain and shame associated with the Crucifixion. Crumell's symbolic death was his deep depression and suicidal thoughts, which mirror Christ's actual death. In both narratives, the hero's "resurrect;" they emerge from the ordeal with greater power. In narrating Crumell's story so that it alludes to the Christ story, DuBois elevates Crumell's story from one of an individual success to one of mythic and legendary significance.

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