Summary and Analysis: Part 1 (Fiat Homo), Chapter 1
Brother Francis Gerard: a novice monk at the abbey of Saint Leibowitz
The Pilgrim (also known as Benjamin and Lazarus): a man Francis encounters during his Lenten fast
Brother Francis, a monk who is in Utah, sees a pilgrim with girded loins walking on the road and gradually approaching him. He is in the desert, and it is midday, and very hot. As the pilgrim nears, Francis finds a pile of rocks so he can hide from the possibly dangerous pilgrim, and sees that he is an old man carrying a staff and dressed in burlap around his midsection. The pilgrim sits down on a chilled rock and sings as he eats some cheese and a biscuit. Francis, who is under a vow of silence because it is Lent, emerges from the rocks and is greeted with hostility by the pilgrim. However, the pilgrim soon sees that Francis is just a monk, becomes more gracious, and offers Francis some of his cheese and biscuit. Francis is fasting, so should not eat such food, but he is tempted to eat it. Under the angry and deluded suspicion that the pilgrim is actually Satan, Francis throws holy water on the pilgrim to protect himself from this temptation. He runs away from the pilgrim and starts to gather some rocks to build more of his stony hut. This hut is intended to keep Francis safe from the local wolves.
The pilgrim walks over to Francis, who is sitting by the hut, and blesses him after Francis tells him he can find shelter at Francis’ abbey, which is nearby. The pilgrim leaves after finding a rock that Francis can use to help build his hut as Francis sits reading the book called Libellus Leibowitz in order to guide his meditations during his time of solitary Lenten fasting. As the day proceeds, Francis works on building his hut, and comes across the pilgrim’s rock and sees that the pilgrim has written something on the rock. As he pulls the rock off the rubble heap on which it rests, he sees a hole in...
(The entire section is 706 words.)