What resonance does the title of the book Saint Maybe have in chapter 8?

The title resonates in chapter 8 because Daphne calls Ian “Saint Maybe.” She says it derisively. She’s implying that Ian is too cautious and guarded to live life to the fullest. His lack of conviction also appears in his interactions with Reverend Emmett. Emmett wants Ian to eventually lead the church. Ian reinforces his “Saint Maybe” designation when he tells Emmett he’s “not sure” if he could handle the responsibility.

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There are several ways to discuss the resonance of chapter eight with the title of Anne Tyler’s novel.

Of course, in chapter eight, Daphne calls Ian “Saint Maybe .” It’s not a compliment. She’s criticizing Ian for being overly cautious and excessively guarded. She also calls him “King...

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There are several ways to discuss the resonance of chapter eight with the title of Anne Tyler’s novel.

Of course, in chapter eight, Daphne calls Ian “Saint Maybe.” It’s not a compliment. She’s criticizing Ian for being overly cautious and excessively guarded. She also calls him “King Careful” and “Mr. Look-Both-Ways.”

Daphne’s allegations seem to resonate with the title because her observation, however derisive it might be, looks to have some truth to it. Frequently, Ian appears to waver back and forth about what he should with his life and the children that he’s come to care for. With the chapter eight scene in the car, Daphne makes Ian’s vacillating ways explicit.

His uncertainty is further reinforced by his interactions with Reverend Emmett. Remember, in chapter eight, Emmett brings up the idea that perhaps one day Ian could lead the church.

Ian’s response reinforces his “Saint Maybe” label. He tells Emmett that he’s “not sure” he’ll be able to provide people the proper answers. Emmett tells him that’s what bible school is for. Ian counters that it won’t be enough. He then modifies his statement and says, “I mean, maybe it’s not enough.”

There’s that “maybe” again. Once more, it seems like this chapter particularly brings out the doubts and insecurities of Ian. Perhaps you could criticize Ian for not acting with more conviction. Conversely, you might commend him for being so thoughtful and considerate. Perhaps acting decisively is overrated. Perhaps it’s Ian’s pronounced hesitancy that makes him a good person or a "Saint."

Of course, there are key areas in which Ian does act assertively. For example, he does resolutely assume control of his brother’s children.

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