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Essay outline

Thesis: In Hey Nostradamus ! and Saint Ralph, Douglas Coupland and Michael McGowan
encourages people to be the architects of their own lives rather than accepting the belief that
religion can dictate one's fate.

Argument 1: Belief in one's goal is more important than belief in religion


→ Evidence: From Saint Ralph
“faith, purity, prayer...” (Father George Hibbert).
→ explanation: This was Ralph's answer as to how to perform a miracle. Note that faith is in the first
place prior to purity and prayer. Since people often associate priority with importance, one can say that
to succeed or in Ralph's case, to perform a miracle; faith, or belief in what one does is of greater
importance than prayer, or belief in religion.

Argument 2: Bowing to fate in the face of difficulty worsens the situation.


→ Evidence: From Hey Nostradamus!
“...Don't shoot at me [Cheryl] – I'm not making any noise! Look! Look at How! Quiet! I'm! Being!...”
(page 17).
→ explanation: This was what flashed through Cheryl's mind when she was trapped in fear under a
cafe table. She chose to remain silent and hope that praying to God can pull her through, and her death
proved her wrong. This situation also reflects the kneeling figure on the cover in that many people
kneels to pray and it seems almost like they are waiting for God to rescue themselves; however they do
not realize that their posture is also one that awaits for execution. In this sense, praying is like waiting
to be executed.

Argument 3: One's life is effected by his or her actions, which oneself has more control over than
religion does.
→ Evidence: From Hey Nostradamus!
“...my [Jason] many friends from Youth Alive! Set the tone, gleefully providing police with a
McCarthy-era dossier on Cheryl and me – a diary of the time we spent together...” (page 89)
→ explanation: Both a diary and a dossier are in full detail, yet neither is meant to be publicized.
People would think that the Youth Alivers would have great moral values seeing that they are religious.
However, these supposed friends of Jason betrayed him and Cheryl by leeking out their utmost
privacies. Moreover, they spoke with a gleeful tone, sounding as if they have forgotten the grief from
Cheryl's death. For the Youth Alivers, religion was certainly not the cause of their immoral actions;
rather they themselves were.