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There are many pieces of literature in history that reflect on the character of the author and can also tell what the author thinks about society. One such piece of literature is Thorstein the staff struck. There are many examples throughout this story that show what kind of character the author has.
Thorarin is introduced in the beginning of the story and is said to be nearly blind. He has a son named Thorstein, who is referred to as being even-tempered but powerful. Bjarni is introduced next as having a servant called Thord. Thorstein and Thord arranged for a fight with their horses. During the fight, Thorstein was badly injured by Thord; some time later, Thorstein killed Thord in retaliation for what happened. A while later, Thorsteins and Bjarni were talking and agreed to fight. Thorstein went to say goodbye to his father, but later wound up being the winner of the fight. Thorstein could have very easily had the upper hand and killed Bjarni. However he chooses not to and told Bjarni he didn’t want to fight him because he was scared. He then gave Bjarni the options to settle the matter; this is the first example of how the author portrays society. From the way Thorstein ended it shows a humble and almost servant nature. He gave in but was honest about his feeling about fighting Bjarni. Bjarni in turn respected this by making the comment of what a remarkable man Thorstein was; this is yet another example of a portrayal of the author’s view of society. Bjarni could have used this against Thorstein, but he commended him instead. This shows a nature of one with a spirit of gentleness, which is the spirit of Jesus, as is the humble nature. Bjarni was so impressed with Thorstein he went into compliment him to his father. Although his father did not feel the same respect for his son as Bjarni did. Bjarni still extended an offer to his father for him to take the seat of honor for the rest of his life. Bjarni did this based on his feelings for Thorstein. The father accepts but then in turn tries to kill Bjarni with a sword. Bjarni denounces the attempt and tells the father he takes back the offer. But even with this betrayal by his father he still keeps his respect towards Thorstein. This shows that type of person Bjarni was, he had the opinion of the whole community on his shoulders, and he still made an offer to his father, which if known by the town would make Bjarni look cowardly instead of the humble man he really was. This is a good example of how Christians as taught to not worry about the opinion of others when making decisions that will affect others. Turn the other cheek and love those that hate you are two basic principles that are taught to Christians and Bjarni and Thorstein both display these values. Thorstein had to live with his father’s negative opinion of him and not supporting him when he was trying to do the right thing. That is hard not to have your family’s support instead having them judge you. Thorstein goes with Bjarni over to live with him. Bjarni was pressured by his wife into this fight as revenge for the death of his servants. He listened to his wife only because of his position in the community and what people were saying about him. He had a reputation to uphold because of his position in the community. Bjarni is a man of beautiful character, even with all this on the line and the fact that Thorstein kills his servants, Bjarni still extends his home and services to Thorstein. This is another example of how the author truly values a man of character and noble virtue. In a society during that time that seemed to have been plagued with murders, and dishonesty, out of this comes this story. It is obvious that the author tries to prove to the reader that a man who is honest and humble will reap more rewards then that man who is dishonest and of bad character. This is very important to the author, who truly values humbleness. This story ends with Thorstein being thought of as a man with great courage and became better liked and had more self control with age. Self control is a concept that is talked about a lot in the Bible. We as told to be slow to anger and kind when we speak and to control our tongues. The fact that Thorstein has appeared to evolve into a patient and self controlled individual is evidence that the author must have some knowledge of the Bible or at least Christian principles. The story also goes on to say Thorstein was very trustworthy. Thorstein went on to become a devout Christian and even made a pilgrimage to Rome.
The author makes several mentions of principles that Thorstein and Bjarni both had and even acquired through time. These are attributes of nobleness, honor, integrity, being peaceful and kind concession and even humbleness and recognition of ones own faults and wrongdoings. The concepts these principles are put into with the context of the story tell much about the author and his view on society. He is a person of integrity himself and embraces the principles of Christianity. The way Thorstein was presented at the beginning of the story shows he may not be honorable because of his refusal to be exiled and he hid from that but he redeemed himself at the end of the story; when he has his encounter with Bjarni. The author has a view of society that shows he wants a peaceful land with people being able to work out differences through other methods of other than fighting. And even when fighting did take place at the end, it ended without violence, another biblical concept. This is a beautiful story and shows many biblical and Christian aspects.
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