December 28, 2009
Analysis/Commentary on “Our Lady’s Juggler” By Anatole France
Background of Author: Anatole France is a son of a Parisian bookseller. His life was one of incessant controversy. His attitude against the church and state was ironic and bitter, though he was educated at a religious school. And while his novels attacked conventional Christian institutions at the depths of his heart, as in the core of every person’s being – France had faith in the Almighty and innate goodness of man.
Analysis: Anatole France identifies with his main character Barnabas (Our lady’s Juggler) using the following defense mechanisms:
1. Repression. His subconscious compelled him to write against religious norms as a result of his repressed anger on the church and conventional Christian institutions. The story pointed it plainly that Barnabas suffered in silence.
2. Compensation – Barnabas lamented about his ignorance. To make-up, he settled for something less. He could not compose writings in Latin and hymns, instead he juggled and performed tricks as offering in which he got the attention of the Virgin. In real life, France felt a deep sense of insecurity with the Church/State leaders and that is why he chose to write.
3. Rituals. Barnabas’ life was not complete without rituals. In fact, he always prayed so hard. Like the rest, he had his own faith though he was a simple man. France wanted everybody to know that faith and belief in God is a gift to both the rich and the poor, the educated and the ignorant.
4. Escapism. Barnabas loses himself in juggling. In the story, the monks thought that he was losing his wits. I understood that he was happy while doing the activity. He felt complete in his juggling. Perhaps in reality, he escapes going to a different world to feel that he is the best.
Rose Flores - Martinez
/June 16, 2000