A Mother's Joy at Her Child's Death: Conversion, Cognitive Dissonance, and Grief


Type
Article
Change log
Authors
Goldhill, SD 
Abstract

This article explores how a sophisticated woman, Minnie Benson, could have rejoiced when her beloved son died at school at age 18. Her joyous reaction—remarked on by all her family—is in stark contrast to that of her husband, Bishop Edward White Benson, who was devastated by the death and found it the most dismaying challenge to his deeply-felt faith. Her reaction is investigated in particular through her personal Evangelical conversion and her commitment to believing literally in joy at suffering. This literalism is set in contrast to standard normative Christian responses to a child's death. The article discusses the cognitive dissonance of religious responses to death in the Victorian era, and how converts are socialized into expected horizons of response.

Description
Keywords
47 Language, Communication and Culture, 4705 Literary Studies
Journal Title
Victorian Studies
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
0042-5222
Volume Title
59
Publisher
Indiana University Press
Sponsorship
European Research Council (295463)
ERC