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    The Night Of The Hunter: The Preacher Essay

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    The Night of the Hunter: The PreacherWhen describing the preacher, John says, “His name is Harry Powell. Butthe names of his fingers are E and V and O and L and E and T and A and H andthat story he tells about one hand being Hate and the other hand being Love is alie because they are both hate and to watch them moving scares me worse thanshadows, worse than the wind. “This description shows the absolute essence of the preacher’s characterin Davis Grubb’s The Night of the Hunter. The preacher’s real intentions arethe hate of the left hand, and he rationalizes his evil through the false facadeof the love of the right hand.

    Even though he may appear good and holy to somepeople, throughout the novel, he still has evil motives towards virtuallyeveryone. In one of the preacher’s dreams while he is in prison, he recalls anincident in which he rationalized an evil act by claiming it was God’s will. After being solicited by a prostitute in Charleston, West Virginia, with theintention of killing her because of her “unholy” vocation, he takes her up to aroom to murder her. Just as he is about to whip out the switchblade and fulfillhis holy mission, he suddenly hears “God’s” voice telling him not to botherbecause “there were too many of them.

    ” At the moment when this revelation takesplace, the woman of the night sees the preacher in the midst of taking out theknife, and she screams. The shouting brings a Negro servant, and the preacheris forced to kill both the servant and prostitute. In Powell’s sick and twistedmind, God had merely changed His mind when Preacher’s life was in danger. Thereis a contradiction in “God’s words” and clearly the preacher is merely using his”conversations” to aid in his own egotistical self-interest. The fact that Preacher lies to most people that he meets is a way inwhich he puts up the holy act to mask his evil soul.

    He is an expert insandwiching lies between truths, weaving them in a tangled and intricate web andthus making his lies all the more difficult to discover. When he first ridesinto town, he tells the people that he knows Ben Harper because he was thepreacher at the jail that held Ben. In actuality, he and Ben shared the samecell. Powell does not want anyone to know he stole a car and he cansubstantiate his lie because he knows things about Ben from being in the samecell.

    As a result, the people (except John) do not suspect Preacher to be themalicious murderer that he is. The preacher also tells people that Ben told himthat he threw the ten-thousand dollars he stole into the river. Harper actuallynever leaked his secret and even stuffed a sock in his mouth to keep himselffrom telling. This lie made practically everyone believe the money was gone andno one (except John) anticipated the preacher’s greedy plan to steal it. Inaddition, Powell also lied after he killed Willa.

    This time his lie wasintended to conceal an act rather than a motive. He said that Willa drove awayin the car to leave him and even drove himself to shed false tears so that hewould not get into any trouble. Throughout the course of the novel, thepreacher’s lies gradually become more convoluted. The instrument with which the preacher “spreads God’s glory” is theknife. This weapon is a direct extension of the hate in Preacher’s heart. Heclaims that the reasons for the switchblade’s usage are “to fulfill God’swishes,” but the opposite is the case.

    When referring to the knife, he screams,”This is what I use on meddlers! Get me? For meddlers!” These meddlers thathe talks of are not interfering with God’s work but instead are interfering withthe preacher’s personal desires. Frequently, the phrase, “Its steel tonguelicked out. ” is used to indicate the action when the preacher presses theknife’s button. Because of this novel’s many biblical references, this phrasesuggests that the knife resembles some sort of serpent like the one in theGarden of Eden. In the garden, the serpent represents evil like the evil inPreacher’s soul. Also whenever Powell holds the knife, it is with his lefthand, and he would press its button with “the finger called H” on his left hand.

    Traditionally the left hand is associated with evil and the devil’s work. Preacher is probably a natural lefty who was swaddled in his infancy in order toforce him to use his right hand. This interpretation explains why the preacheruses the knife with his left hand but writes with the right. He uses the lefthand of hate to do his evil work.

    The knife which he always uses with the lefthand is an integral part of his madness. Because he is prone to do evil acts, the preacher creates a wall ofgoodness to make himself appear more Godly. Powell probably decided to become apreacher as an outgrowth of this elaborate act. Eventually, Preacher became soaccustomed to this charade that he began rationalizing his evil by saying he wasin fact doing good.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    The Night Of The Hunter: The Preacher Essay. (2019, Jan 09). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-night-of-the-hunter-the-preacher-essay-67737/

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