Soon: Chapter 30: Anger and Inhumanity
We’ve been noticing all the way along that Paul has little to no introspection regarding his activities while an evil Christian-killing atheist. Although passing mention was made back in Chapter 17 of Paul’s “futile” prayers “about his remaining sense of guilt over killing people he knew were now his brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Not only does such phrasing imply that it is more wrong to kill Christians than it is to kill anyone else, but this is yet another case of Tell, Don’t Show. We are told that Paul has guilt over his murders (four fleeing civilians), but we never see any real effect this has on his life and thoughts.
Now that Ranold and Bia have executed their “holocaust,” consisting of exactly one more victim than Paul alone killed, he is having some…well, not deep thoughts. But some thoughts:
He felt sickened by what he’d witnessed that afternoon. Was I ever that bad? He feared he had been.
It had been a thrill to pull the trigger in San Francisco; he had felt justified executing Christians. He had entrapped Stephen Lloyd, then stood by without lifting a finger as Donny Johnson beat him to death. Even that agent, Jefferson, was offended.
Wow, more progress. Even an admission that an evil atheist, Jefferson, was not as bad.
I was acting in anger, not from inhumanity. At least I hope I was.
Um, okay. Not so much with the progress, here.
This whole anger vs. inhumanity thing is a strange little conundrum with which Paul presents himself. I suppose one could argue that anger is a very human emotion, and that it is wrong to do bad things without emotion, i.e. in an inhuman way.
Then again, how is it so much less wrong to act in anger? Paul thinks about Ranold and Bia and how much he hates what they are doing, but it is made very clear that Ranold, at least, is acting almost entirely out of anger. We got the scoop on that way back in Chapter 1, when it is revealed that during WWIII, Ranold was the commander of the U.S. Army of the Pacific (just go with it), and lost everyone under his command when Hawaii was destroyed by a tsunami (again, just go with it).
This was during a devastating war that was, mind you, caused entirely by religion. So Ranold could be argued to have more reason than most to be FRAKKING PISSED.
Not that Paul gives a thought, during his thirty seconds of navel-gazing, to how alike he and Ranold really are.
As for Bia, she bears the brunt of Jenkins’/Paul’s contempt. (I know, shocking, right?) If Paul is desperate to see himself as not inhuman, Bia is the one who is inhuman. Only one chapter ago, “she looked nearly inhuman.” She is objectified as much as possible with her eyes like pools of mercury, “psycho eyes,” as The Dork Too Stupid called them way back in the Prologue. She has been portrayed from the beginning as either a psychopath or an “I was only following orders” type. And Paul seems to see this as infinitely worse than Ranold, who is alternately portrayed as either a buffoon, or a bloodthirsty monster.
Paul’s navel-gazing continues. Now that his nanosecond of reflection on his own bad acts is over, he can focus on his newfound morality and how hard it will be to keep said morality a secret around the others.
*cue world’s smallest violin*
Paul prayed he could keep cool enough to make some positive impact on what appeared to be a hopeless situation. And his father-in-law–Ranold was merciless, Paul knew, but how could he endure Ranold’s bloodthirsty glee the whole time he would be stuck at Tiny’s?
Paul: Man, and here I thought being a double-agent would be so EASY!
If Paul couldn’t contain his disgust, what suspicions might that arouse?
Bit late to be thinking about that now, Mr. Holocaust.
Even so, Paul could never keep quiet about the killings. I’ll have to maintain the courage of my convictions–stay steadfast in my faith–and take my chances.
Yeah, that’ll work so well for you, Paul. If your goal is to GET CAUGHT.
Honestly, in all your years at the NPO, did nobody ever teach you how to keep your emotions in check?
Look into it.
Try a little think called ACTING!