Cradle and All Themes
The encompassing theme is the triumph of good over evil. The relationship of man to God and Satan is explored through secular and nonsecular characters being tempted, rewarded, and punished for actions taken. The protagonists do not have the opportunity to make the choices that change their lives. Other people who do not have their best interests at heart make their choices. The teenage girls are denied the chance to grow up and mature before adult responsibilities are pressed upon them, showing an unpleasant side of the coming-of-age process. The place of God and Satan in the beliefs of society and the part these beliefs play in decisions made for the good of all human kind is also a theme.
Nicholas Rosetti represents the good in all men and the battle between good and evil that is often fought on a personal level by all men and women. Because Rosetti truly believes in God, Pope Pius chooses to entrust him with the secret prediction made by the Blessed Lady of Fatima in her appearance in Portugal in the early 1900s. The pope hopes that Rosetti's belief in God will help him to identify the virgin who is about to give birth to the divine child and do whatever is necessary to rid the world of the satanic child about to be born to the other virgin. Rosetti has the ultimate responsibility of saving the world. The forces of evil are sure they will win, so sure they are beginning to inflict plagues and famine upon the citizens of earth.
The invisible enemy, working in the mind of Rosetti, represents the evil seeking to take over the world. Outward manifestations of the evil are the plagues and famines. The mysterious death of the pope signals the growing confidence of this force. Attempts on the lives of the teenage virgins add to a sense of...
(The entire section is 471 words.)