By Morris, Rene Goscinny
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Extra resources for A Lucky Luke Adventure 2: Ghost Town
In all he did, Francis’s aim was the imitation of Christ. His ultimate reward was the appearance of the stigmata, the five wounds of Christ, on his body. The stigmata signified that he had learned to suffer like Christ for mankind. In the novel, Morris is wounded in the robbery staged by Frank and the detective’s son, Ward Minogue. This wound doubles as the Fisher King’s wound and the original stigmata of Christ. Frank first appears to have stigmata when he scratches his hands with his nails in his frustrated desire for Helen, but the ultimate stigmata occur at the end of the novel when he is circumcised, making him a Jew like Bober.
Unthreatened by obvious device, made comfortable by prior knowledge, we are relaxed in a situation we are convinced we understand. There seems to be nothing going on that is beyond our control: a reader likes this feeling of sitting on high, looking down and deciding it’s all very interesting. And Malamud makes certain we stay convinced of our superiority. ’’, Malamud quiets this thought in Bober’s line that, swallowed here, becomes difficult to digest later on: ‘‘What can you learn here? ’’ If and when we are no longer satisfied that Alpine remains at the store simply out of guilt or pity, when we are on the verge of discovering with what kind of energies we are really dealing, Malamud feeds us a little more line by introducing the second motive—the attraction to Helen.
Morris shows his worth by his power of endurance and his refusal to act unethically (cheating his customers, for example) to escape his situation. He suffers, but he does not lose his humanity. In this sense the store/prison serves as a testing ground, an opportunity for moral and spiritual growth. The metaphor is applied also to Frank’s life after he begins to work at the store and live in Morris’s house. Al Marcus warns him, ‘‘This kind of a store is a death tomb,’’ suggesting he is likely to be there forever unless he gets out while he still can.