In Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson, what message is the author trying to share?I know it talks a lot about this person who is an addict but is there something deeper to this book.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Denis Johnson's book entitled Jesus' Son, it seems that the author is telling the story of a drifter and drug addict, whose life is a "car wreck," but that in doing so, he is introducing us to other lost souls who are running away from the "car wreck" that defines their lives, searching for something of value.

As you believe there is a deeper meaning in this book, some of the people the narrator meets also believe there is more to life than first meets the eye. While they search for a deeper meaning to life, the narrator lacks focus or purpose.

Critics see Johnson's work as a way for him to address issues surrounding Catholicism. The book is presented as "a purgatory of sorts," where there is a chance to make things right, but the narrator isn't interested—yet, while others around him are trying to find their way.

Perhaps it is the need of a kind of salvation that Johnson refers to—for example, this is the case with Georgie, the orderly in the hospital. He speaks of wanting a church, worship and a chapel, but the narrator is oblivious. As said, he isn't "there" yet. Johnson is non-judgmental, which is, ironically, a Christ-like behavior. The story, then, may be about surviving, doing our best, and finding the best life has to offer.

The world of Jesus’ Son is one in which the characters, especially the narrator, are nostalgic for a better life, a life with a deeper spiritual meaning...


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Jesus' Son

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