Study Guide

The Sound of Music Religion

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In The Sound of Music, Maria's got two great loves: God and Georg von Trapp. God comes first, natch, but her feelings for Georg are making her wonder about her priorities.

See, Maria's a devout believer. Love of God has always driven her life decisions. It sent her to the abbey and then to the von Trapp home to take care of the children. She's devoted to figuring out God's will for her and then getting to work on it. When she thinks she might be in love with the captain, she bolts back to the abbey to refocus on God.

Once again, it's the Reverend Mother to the rescue. She reassures Maria that you can be devoted to God and a family. She convinces her that finding your purpose in life is a religious obligation as important as prayer or a religious vocation. Maria probably wouldn't have been able to make this decision without a religious justification.

By the end of the movie, Maria's able to integrate her own unique strength and desires with her religious sentiments, thanks to the coaching of the Reverend Mother. The Abbess comes across as the most solid character in the film. She's devout, deeply caring and understanding, principled, realistic, and strong—a great role model for anyone, religious or not.

Questions About Religion

  1. Why is Maria so set on being a nun, when her general inclination is to behave in a way that isn't welcome at the abbey?
  2. Do you find it odd that Reverend Mother would talk a novice out of being a nun, as she does with Maria? Why do you think she pushes Maria away from the novitiate, rather than training her or waiting for her wild ways to calm down?
  3. Where does Maria's spirituality stand at the end of the film, and how do we know?

Chew on This

The movie ends up suggesting that romance and family trump religion; it's a completely secular message.

The fact that Maria and her family return to the abbey when the family faces their biggest crisis (the Nazis) is a nod to her continued reliance on her faith.

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