While reading “Kind One” I found myself particularly aware of not only Laird Hunt’s focus on Shakespearean quotes and themes, but also the particularly violent forms of religious imagery scattered throughout it.
Ginny repeatedly describes God in an unfavorable light throughout the book, linking him less to a benevolent or fair figure, and more of a constant antagonist, similar to the God of “Paradise Lost”. Indeed, the word “paradise” is repeatedly used in the novel.
The idea of “God” being an omnipresent and strangely malevolent force is suggested many times. Particularly page 99, where after her baptism (which she feels did not bless or change her) she describes God as “Him who was lurking everywhere.” He is also mentioned on pg. 51, where Ginny suggests that we humans are “just meat for his platter.”
I think that religion is mentioned or brought up many times because one of the themes that Laird Hunt is attempting to get us to approach is the question of evil, and how or why it could work into the world if God were real, as well as allusions to challenges on secular and dogmatic Christian beliefs.
For example, the habits and descriptions of Alcofibras are occasionally suggestive of a more natural, agnostic or positive personification of God. This is contrasted by Linus Lancaster “embodying” God momentarily, when he says that his vision of his farm was incomplete until he had seen his “Pigs turned upon the land.”
During his story telling, and when he is described on pg. 56 as blowing a flute to convince vegetables to rise from the ground. This imagery is familiar to Pan, and his name is almost exactly the same as the pen name French writer Francois Rabelais used. Francois was known for his bawdy poems and oft-times criticized writings on Christian humanism and philosophy relating to a less dogmatic or different version of God as well as how best to live in the world, among other things.
Here, another allusion to Gonstic or non-secular Christianity is mentioned. In her dream, she says “I had often wish to lay my eyes on all the glories of Earth’s Kingdom as well as heaven’s for this was true.” (p.103) This is similar to certain Christian beliefs that clash when considering if Heaven, and only Heaven will exist after we die, or if humans are capable of creating Heaven on Earth.