Minor Characters Introducing Major Characters in the Bible and American Lit

One motif in the bible is minor characters introducing a major character. The chief example of this is Jesus being introduced to the world by John the Baptist. ““I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire,” (Luke 3.16) he says to the crowd gathered around him, baptizing Jesus while God appears above. A character as significant as Jesus being introduced by a minor character adds weight to his introduction. It contrasts Jesus with a similar character who is less important, making Jesus seem more important by comparison. The painting below displays John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. It was made by Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci. In the painting, you can see the dove and God’s hands above Jesus, showing the world that he is the son of God. This motif occurs various times throughout American literature, a good example being in Daisy Miller. In the book, the titular character is introduced to Winterbourne by her younger brother, Randolph, who doesn’t play a very big role, when he says “here comes my sister!” (Chapter 1).  Randolph introducing Daisy makes her seem more notable in contrast to him. Another example of this is in the play A Streetcar Named Desire, where Blanche is introduced to audience through the minor character of Eunice, asking her “what’s the matter, honey? Are you lost?” (Scene 1). Blanche is described as looking very out of place, which is accentuated by the way that she is introduced to a minor character who is perfectly ordinary for the neighborhood.

Image result for da vinci baptism of christ
The Baptism of Christ by Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci (1475)
This entry was posted in AP Mindset, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Minor Characters Introducing Major Characters in the Bible and American Lit

  1. nicolestjacques says:

    I really enjoy your analysis! I find your points about the emphasization and role of this type of introduction very insightful. I do not have much criticism other than I wish this was longer. Have you noticed this motif being utilized in more modern-day literature? If so, what books?

  2. aidenmill6 says:

    Great analysis Justin! I think your ideas about the role of minor characters is very nice. How do you think your painting could relate to other motifs? My only criticism is the length of the post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s