Sunday, May 31, 2009

Anthony Winkler's The Duppy: My Take

Anthony Winkler is a Jamaican novelist who happens to be one of my favourite writers. Many years ago I read one of his most comedic novels, The Duppy. A "duppy" is the Jamaican equivalent of a ghost. And it's not pronounced dooopy, it's sounds like guppy!

Basically I want to focus on an important element of The Duppy. This element is Winkler's concoction of the Supreme Being, God as He is commonly called out here. In the novel, the Almighty is a firefly in heaven when Baps the protagonist arrives there. He explains that he was a great ball of light at first but as he created the Earth, he got smaller and smaller as his energy was being expended. So, by the time the majority of Earth was created he was tiny. He became like a firefly or as we say out here a peenywally.

Everyone goes to heaven in the novel. Murderers, prostitutes, thieves, molesters, rapists, every criminal, every person with one or more vice. Everyone. Licks (slaps/thumps/punches etc) are orgasmic...there is no pain. There is no hell.

I like creativity and imagination :)After reading this book, I've worried less about God and I only read the Bible at church. I don't take everything in the Bible as the truth and I question various edicts of Christianity. The Bible was written many many many years ago. I wasn't there when it was written. I've become hesitant to view God in the same manner as some Christian leaders: we are all weak sinners who must constantly live in fear of judgment/God is austere and will smote iniquity/ live thinking about where you will go after you die.

I am a Christian, I am a believer. But if a man can write a story about God with a different, unique perception and it refreshes me and opens up my mind, well bring it on! God in the novel, as one may perceive is forgiving even in eternity and has the largest heart full of love and is a joy to be around. The fact that none of us alive really knows what happens after death, it says to me that nothing is certain in this life and I can choose to be happy with myself and how I see myself as a Christian. I have no clue who wrote the Bible. I know that many different hands had a "hand" in it. It could have been corrupted and distorted over the thousands of years since it was written.

I really would not argue with someone who cusses that Winkler's novel is blasphemous. These days I'm not so salty as to debate religion. I don't debate art that much either. I've simply been losing my problem MON! :)(I hope you readers will realize the sarcasm - Jamaicans do NOT say MON, we say MAN.)

But yes, I wouldn't argue because I'm tired of mouthy people who don't know when to relax themselves...I'm in a class with some ultra assertive types who really don't know how to be quiet. So, I'm really not inclined. If you want to know my opinion about something, read my writing. As it stands with God, Winkler's firefly God and the novel The Duppy, I'll close by saying that I am not so concerned so much these days with Hell, blasphemy, sins, temptations, evil, heaven, "good" Christian behaviour. God in The Duppy is sympathetic to the rough life humans have to cope with on Earth before death takes them. Life is so hard and then you die. God knows this. God knows that He gave you breath to face myriad challenges throughout life.

At the end of the day, it could very well be that we'll all meet him. Religion has historically been political. This very rigid, stern approach to sins, immorality and iniquity could all be a way to control mindset and behaviour. I am going to take the artist approach and make art my life. Yeah, I read a book and now I think differently about how I will spend eternity. Makes me sleep better at night. God and I have a relationship...we talk constantly, daily and He knows me better than I know myself. I know Him because I feel him through my pain, suffering, tears, blues, joys, happiness...He's my hope that one day I will smile without a care in the world. I know Him as my friend and Saviour. But a lot of what has been said about him, the part that tries to fashion a certain behaviour? I'll reject it until I can evidence the truth myself.


Paul Bernard said...

Hi JR,

I read a novel this year that took a different tack at trying to make sense of God, creation, reality, time travel, other minds, the power of the church and sex.
It was a feat of imagination, certainly and an enjoyable read.
It was 'The End of Mr. Y' by Scarlett Thomas. You might get a kick out of it.

Jaquanda Rae said...

I will definitely be checking it out, as soon as possible have the same name as my father....a tad jolting...:)