Left Behind

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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Left Behind By: Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins 468 pages Cameron "Buck" Williams is the protagonist in the story. Buck is a news reporter for CNN. He does not have a faith in God, but is willing to believe anything. Rayford Steele is a captain for an airline. He is a family man, with a wife and two kids, but is infatuated with one of his flight attendants. Steele does not have a faith in God, but believes his wife is using God as a crutch. He is also afraid to push his relationship with Hattie any further. Hattie Durham, the object of his infatuation, is a flight attendant for the airline. She later gets an offer from the U. N. and works for them. Raymie, Steele's son, and Irene, Steele's wife, have a strong faith in God and do not get left behind because of their faith. Nicholae Carpathia is the antagonist in the story.

Later revealed as the "Antichrist," Carpathia wins the world over by supposedly solving their problems. I liked Buck the best, but not because he's the protagonist. He seems like a daring and out-going person. I liked Steele the least because of the fact that he cheated on his wife.

The main conflict in this story is man vs. himself. Many of the characters have to forget themselves and put their faith in God. Without God, they are doomed to burn in Hell. The second conflict is man vs. man, mainly that of Buck vs. Nicholae. The conflict is not quite solved in this book, but will be solved in sequels.

Much of the beginning of the story takes place on a plane in the near future, but has many flashbacks to different times and places. Later on, it takes place in New York and Chicago. Before the rapture everything was calm and in order, but afterwards, it was like a war zone. There was military and armed people everywhere. It definitely helps to understand a different time period in the story. It shows you how bad the world is after the rapture takes place.

The world before the rapture is calm and in order. Then, subtly, people start disappearing. All of the religiously saved people have gone to heaven. Family members and friends do not know what has happened. The world soon becomes a disaster. The military basically takes over the world. There is much disorder as people try to find friends and family members or at least try to figure out what happened. The climax was when the rapture actually happened, but it occurred at the beginning of the book. The world goes into a shock. The military takes over to try and keep the world in order. There is also a new U.N., led by Nicholae Carpathia, the Antichrist. He is pure evil and has plans to rule the world. The struggle is not quite resolved in this book, but is resolved in later books, which is substantiated by the introduction of the Tribulation Force.

The authors were trying to convey a simple message: trusting in God is the only way to get to Heaven. When Jesus comes again, you must be religiously saved, a born-again believer, in order not to be left behind. They are saying that the world will be terrible, and it would not be good to be in the world in the shape that it will be in. It helped me to understand how subtle the rapture will be, and how bad the world turns out in the end.

Left Behind was an excellent book. I think the best part was when Carpathia killed the men, and then made everyone believe something else. They had just witnessed the murder, and he told them it was suicide. It was very interesting because it kept me "on the edge of my feet." I really did not want to put the book down. I would recommend it to people 10 and older; this is because it may be too intense and violent for younger people. I think Left Behind would be a good book for anyone that loves adventure and enjoys novels about the Earth in its last days.