A Contract With God

Written & drawn by the late Will Eisner.

A Contract With God is a book that I admittedly would buy if there’s no other graphic novel in theContract_with_god  book store. The characters are roughly sketched. It’s printed in sepia which I find plain (the introduction, however, explains the purpose of such a colour–it’s a colour of dreams or memories). In addition, there are too many words to my liking. Granted it’s a graphic novel where stories are supposed to play more significant role. Still I’d have expected more drawings than words. But, I bought the book – in the end – at one of the book store in Kemang. Always keep an open mind, right? No other graphic novel to be picked, anyway. First of all, just because I was really curious about the title “A Contract With God”. Read it yesterday & no regret.

There are four stories in the novel. A Contract With God is one of them. The most memorable one as it deals with a humane expectation concerning religions. Or God. Do good & you’ll be rewarded. Do bad? Be punished. The foundation of all religions.

The story features one old Jewish man who since he’s young has done good things to others & in return, blessed by good things. He’s sent to America with the money donated by people of his village (one of the blessing as he has a chance to survive as the village is under constant attack during a war. He writes that contract with God on a stone on his journey). He adopts a baby girl abandoned in front of his doorstep (another blessing as he now has a family). But later on, the girl, who has been growing up as a loving daughter, suddenly dies. The father angrily accuses God of not respecting the contract. He throws away the stone. And he decides to stop honoring the contract.

He uses the bonds entrusted to him as a collateral to buy an apartment building. He raises the rental fee. Mercilessly. He’s rich within 1 year. He acquires more buildings & as the story suggests, Luck has been kind to him. His return of investment is impressive. His timing? Superb. He becomes very rich. Has a mistress. Luxury. Everything!

Yet he feels empty. And one day, he returns the bonds (once used as a collateral for his first purchase of property) to the rightful owners: the synagogue leaders. The bonds plus the interest. What he asks is the leaders to draft a new contract between him & God. The leaders eventually agrees. Not without a lengthy discussion among them. But yes, a new contract is meticulously drafted.

The old Jewish man is glad as he feels he has made peace with his God. He has accepted the possibility that the breach of the first contract (the one in the stone) is due to him writing it as a kid and thus, the contract is not properly written. He wants to do good things in life. He wants to be back to how he is before. Doing good things & be happy. As simple as that.

Guess what happens next? When he’s still joyful reading the contract–all smiles, knowing God will honour this new contract, a heart attack hits him. He dies.

Life and its unique sense of humour. Huh?

Can you find the moral story guys…

Anyway… That story was really hit me in the first place…

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