Study Guide

Where Things Come Back Religion

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Hallelujah—the Judeo-Christian God is all over the pages of Where Things Come Back. From Benton Sage, a young missionary who winds up committing suicide, to his roommate, Cabot, who finds the Book of Enoch in Benton's belongings and dives into religious fervor, to the Witters in Lily who lose a son to Cabot thanks to said fervor—whether religion is explicitly discussed or just quietly driving the plot, there's pretty much no escaping it in this book. And it isn't necessarily presented in a favorable light, either. 

Questions About Religion

  1. Do you think that Benton Sage's family is right in persecuting him because he doesn't live up to their religious ideals?
  2. Why do you think the Book of Enoch becomes so important to Cabot?
  3. How is Cabot's religious journey like that of the woodpecker-seekers in Lily, Arkansas? 

Chew on This

The search for the Lazarus bird follows the same trajectory as Cabot's search for religious meaning in his life—even though they both come close to some kind of discovery, it ends in nothingness.

Even though Cabot and Benton both see religion as a way to save themselves, their religious fanaticism ends up leading to their downfalls. 

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