Church or vicarage or anything that related to religion should contain something to teach people about good moral. However, in Sage’s Bad Blood we can see that the author perceives church not as a place which full of good deeds, but a place full of hypocrisy. This reflection will talk about on how the autobiography displays the ugly side of the church.
The first example is the grandfather who is a vicar which is depicted as womanizer by the author. As Sage finds the diary of her grandfather, she realizes the moral decadence of her grandfather by his surreptitious relationship with many women. This behavior can be considered as transgression, because he has already a wife and there cannot be accepted to have more than one relationship in his monogamy culture. His transgression also makes Sage fully hates with his grandfather. On the first chapter of this autobiography, she presents her grandfather as “[t]he ‘old devil’, my grandfather, …” (Sage, 2000: 7). Of course the characterization of her grandfather doesn’t reflect the proper church image. The way she hates her grandfather is also showed when her mother expresses Sage’s similarities with her grandfather and then she argues that she had bad blood of her grandfather.
Furthermore, in Sage’s perspective, she states that “[t]he magic of the Church no longer impressed us” (Sage, 2000: 197) after she comes to the communion which she claims as her last communion she will visit. It can be happened because in the confirmation classes, she cannot confirm her belief in God. However, Mr. Hopkins, probably her religion teacher, seemed that her behavior cannot be accepted and will shame both Mr. Hopkins and the parents. Then she expresses her dislike to the church by stating “[t]he Church’s job was more like exorcism, turning the incubus into a husband and provider after the [marriage] event” (Sage, 2000: 197). The incubus, I assume, is a metaphor for her grandfather, because as I told before, she dislike her grandfather’s promiscuity which is like devil-provoked deeds.
The Sage’s background which is close to church circumstance also makes a different perspective on how she perceived her pregnancy. Instead of feeling guilty, she actually feels furious. It is all happened because her family expects that she will commit suicide, whereas she hates when her family thinks on that way because she never feels guilty and despair because of her pregnancy.
On the other hand if we were bold enough to go to a magistrate for permission we’d probably get it, because I was pregnant and we weren’t – they weren’t – respectable or well-off enough for their objection to count. And the case would be in the Whitchurch Herald [italic by the author].” (Sage, 2000: 197)
In this quotation, we can see that the church instead becomes a barrier for the marriage between Lorna and Vic. It is described that they are underage, so the church cannot grant their permission to marry. Moreover, the marriage will make them no longer legally in the guardianship of their parents, and the church sees that they are not ready enough for it.
Sage, L. (2000). Bad Blood. London: Fourth Estate.