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Marcelo in the Real World

Marcelo in the Real World


by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo in the Real World Theme of Religion

In Marcelo in the Real World, Marcelo's interest in religion starts out as an obsessive Asperger's-kid interest. He was raised Catholic, but he's studying Judaism with his mom's rabbi buddy, and he named his dog Namu after a Buddhist prayer. But once he enters the "real world" of the law firm and sees more and more suffering and injustice, religious teachings stop being so abstract. And when he hears Wendell talk about sex, that whole thing about Adam and Eve gets a lot more real, too. Thankfully, he's got Rabbi Heschel to explain it all with stories about Volkswagens and hemorrhoids.

Questions About Religion

  1. Why does Marcelo feel compelled to quote scripture to others and pray the rosary in public? How do these things comfort him?
  2. What Buddhist prayer does Namu's name come from, and why do you think Marcelo chose it?
  3. Why does Marcelo's obsession with religion lessen throughout the course of the book? Is it for the same reason his IM starts to fade, or is something else going on?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Aurora practices Catholicism, but you can totally tell she doesn't really believe in God.

Rabbi Heschel feels that religious leaders have messed things up royally, but she doesn't give up being a rabbi because religion is personal for her.

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