Second Companion Book – Brideshead Revisited (Part 3)

Let’s continue by analyzing the second of the four main characters of the novel: Sebastian.  Sebastian is the son of Lady Marchmain who simply can not stand being around his family at the Brieshead estate.  He spends much of his time at Oxford drinking to excess.  In fact, wherever he goes he drinks to excess.

While Sebastian is not overly envious of others or greedy, and he does appear to fight being lazy and gluttonous as he ages, it is unclear by the end of the book as to whether Sebastian will reach true happiness.  However, it is clear that he has matured and that his mother’s Catholic upbringing has had its desired effect on him.

The last mention of Sebastian concerns his wanting to be a servant to others at a monastery.  He has no other wish than to serve others in whatever capacity he is allowed: it is his faith that has brought him to a monastery.  In fact, the author gives us a very clear clue that Sebastian has not only received the grace of Faith but also the grace of Hope (it is fairly clear that the grace of Hope was received at the monastery).  The author writes, “If he lives long enough, generations of missionaries in all kinds of remote places will think of him as a queer old character who was somehow part of the Hope of their student days, and remember him in their masses.”  Like his mother, Sebastian eventually receives and reflects to others the theological virtues of Faith and Hope.  And, like his mother, it is unclear whether he will receive the final grace of Charity and be welcomed into happiness.

Sebastian does live up to the expressed hope of his mother by accepting the mantle of her dead brothers.  He does keep the family faith alive, and projects the graces of faith and of hope, albeit not at the Brideshead estate.

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