How did the Church of the Second Chance offer Ian a second chance?Also, do you think Anne Tyler portrayed religious fundamentalists in a true and/or positive light?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Church of the Second Chance, with Reverend Emmet, gave Ian a second chance by telling him the truth about what some call true moral guilt. Ian had unintentionally destroyed his brother Danny's life, which then rebounded on Danny's wife Lucy and destroyed her life. Lucy had imposed on Ian one night and as a result he was late for a date of importance with his girlfriend--and angry about it. In his anger, Ian exploded and spoke without thinking yelling at that Danny that his wife was deceiving him and having an affair and that the new baby wasn't Danny's. This revelation so devastated Danny who took his life by driving into a wall. Later, Lucy is overwhelmed with grief and work and takes sleeping pills but she accidentally overdoses, inadvertently ending her own life. Ian knows that he is to blame for events--he is culpable--he bears true moral guilt--regardless of how many people want to it wasn't his fault, it was Danny's and Lucy's choices.

At the Church of Second Chances Reverend Emmett acknowledges Ian true guilt in the tragic events and tells him that restitution must be made--being sorry isn't enough, Ian has to do something to try to make things different. Reverend Emmett tells Danny he must raise the orphaned children. Emmett goes further and says that Ian must also forgive Danny and Lucy for their sins, their choices and their deaths. In this way, the Church of Second Chances gives Ian a second chance by directing him to a second chance at a life not burdened by true guilt caused because his decisions and choices in life had negatively impacted the lives of other beloved family members.

Read the study guide:
Saint Maybe

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