A Truthful Free Man & The Woman Of Clarity
FRANK: Latin for “free man”. In English, ‘frank’ also refers to someone who is sincere or truthful. Frank, as we have seen, sees himself to be above the fray. A political Nihilist, Frank has used betrayal as a means of freeing himself from weakening attachments to policies or political affiliation and perhaps even from the cages of morality. Frank’s only allegiance is to himself and in that sense, he is an ideological free agent assigned to a mission defined only by what he deems true.
CLAIRE: Latin for “clear”, but also used in French to mean “famous”. Claire seeks influence, notoriety and ascension in the ranks, all prerequisites of fame. It’s no coincidence that she heads the Clean Water Initiative, a non-profit she wishes to make a global success. Clean water is defined by its how clear it is. In our Chapter 2 analysis we also talked about how betrayal has given Claire a ‘clarity’ of vision against the fog of indecision.
Oh When The Saints Go Marching In
In Chapter 1, as Frank and Claire enter the lobby of the symphony, they are surrounded by those they feel have betrayed them. They have a brief but fascinating exchange:
Frank’s dialogue is peppered with religious undertones:
Patron: A person who supports with money, gifts, efforts, or endorsement. By extension we arrive at Patron Saint, regarded as the special guardian of a person, group, trade, country, etc.
Benefactors: A person who confers a benefit; a kindly helper. By extension we arrive at Benediction, a blessing offered by a minister of the Church.
Lepers: A person who has been rejected or ostracized for unacceptable behavior, opinions, character, or the like. Both Claire and Frank may consider themselves all of these things, but by extension we are also reminded of Jesus curing the Lepers.
Things get even more interesting as Claire cryptically retorts:
“Believe it or not we’re angels.”
Here, I am immediately reminded of Saint Francis of Assisi who, as does Frank ‘whip’ congressman in line with the policies of the President, ordered his followers to simply “walk in the foot steps of Jesus Christ.”
Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic preacher who founded the Franciscan Order. One of his first followers was Saint Clare of Assisi who co-founded with him the women’s nunnery called the Order of Poor Clares. Why this is interesting in the context of HOC is that St. Clare outlived St. Francis by sixteen years. In Chapter 1, Claire tells Frank he must take better care of himself because she worries about outliving him. St. Clare also took care of St. Francis as he grew old and ill, staying by his side until his death. The Order of Poor Clares mirrors the non-profit, female dominated CWI, which Claire struggles to make successful due to lack of funds (Poor Claire!). She longs to leave a legacy of helping developing countries give their citizens easier access to clean drinking water, a saintly pursuit.
St. Clare was such a close follower of St. Francis and believed so much in his way of life that she was often to referred to as alter Franciscus or “another Francis”. This falls in line with our Chapter 1 analysis where we likened Frank and Claire’s symbiotic relationship as the co-joining of mirrored spirits, one reflecting the other and together standing guard as a two-headed creature of the underworld.