Comments from the Author of Preacher
in Response to Student Journals

Book Reports

I want to first thank Mr. Sebastian Mahfood for letting me read your papers. Next, I want to apologize for grammatical and spelling errors I made in Preacher. What Iím saying, Iíve written some thirty novels. Many times when I didnít know how to do something, I would take another published book and learn how to do things. This is serious, donít ever take Preacher and use it for a writing model! Even though the novel was written at a time when I couldnít read what I wrote, I should have done better, especially since two people with doctorís (one from Yale) were paid at least seven hundred dollars to edit for me. A word of advice, if you donít have a computer with a good grammar and spelling checker, go to a library or a writing center and use it for all your papers. Youíll be surprised at what you learn by doing this. Thanks again and the best to all of you.

Stacie Mathi
The understanding and maturity of thinking your paper shows is amazing. Your point of view toward Hank is very valid. He was a "love and leave them" type of person at times. Still, as you pointed out, he had the ability to stick with a bad situation until good came out of it. Some readers thought I was slam dunking the Southern Baptist Convention. This wasn't my purpose in the novel. For the church I could have used any denomination, but I am more familiar with the Baptist government and faith. What Preacher is all about is that no matter how far you fall, with the help of God, you can come back. You have expressed this theme so well.

T. Criswell
Except for perhaps praising Hank too much, you did an excellent job. Nice writing.

Carrie Cochran
You have shown an ability to express emotions and understanding in your writing. Thanks for your understanding of Hank and his failings. Be a little more careful with your use of words. Adulty? In my novel Red Heifer, I used winched for winced. My wife who is the best proofreader there ever was after a book is published, caught this error real quickly. Iím told readers who pick the books to be published will not read if there are more than three errors on the first five or six pages. Donít lose your touch of humanity in order to gain accuracy.

Andrea Weiss
You have demonstrated your ability to express yourself in a very concise manner. Please read the comments I made about Carrie Cochranís work. Both of you might read William Faulknerís writings. He was never able to edit his work to perfection, but because he was able to express feelings, his writings will probably last forever.

Brett Thompson
Thanks, Brett, your paper is very good. You have demonstrated the ability to express yourself very good in a very through manner. I intended for the reader to know that Peggy rigged up the rifle so she would kill herself. (A shotgun would have made too big a mess). Peggy thought to get even with Hank by making it look like he did it. Another thing, Hank was in jail most of the winter.

Jim Williams
Your paper shows a very good understanding of Hank and his three women. I especially liked your ending about Hank finally realizing what God was trying to tell him to do. One thing I might point out to you and others, Hank didnít need Peggyís money. With his and Sadieís ranch with oil, he had all the money he would ever need. I meant to have Hank marry Peggy so he would have a rich liberal church where he could express his liberal views without being threatened with firing.

Mirela Besic
You have written a great paper. Shortly after Preacher was published, a man who shot the movies for Johnny Cash and Clint Eastwood came to Stephenville to talk to me about making the novel into a movie. You can imagine how thrilled I was! He told me to do some thinking about how I would like the movie to begin. Turning to the Book of Jeremiah, I had an Indian making and breaking pottery all the time Hank was riding a bull. Finally, when the whistle blew, the Indian turns out a perfect piece of pottery. Unlike your almost perfect paper, the movie deal never came through. What a great thought about Hank being broken so many times before he was molded!

JoíNel Gholston
You have written a very concise and accurate paper. That you brought out that Mary told Hank to marry some dumb woman who could further his career just about sums up his and Peggyís relationship. The only thing, Peggy was book smart, and she was every bit as good in her field as Hank. With your ability to write with your style, you might enjoy some technical writing courses.

Tony Romano
I think your writing shows you understood and enjoyed Preacher. A teacher had me read my papers aloud to catch errors.

Just before I finished with Tonyís paper, my computer screen went completely blank. Here it is almost eleven oíclock at night, Iím almost through, and I hadnít saved a thing. Fortunately, it went somewhere and then came back. A good lesson, always save your work very often.

Faisal Merghelani
Not only have you clearly expressed the fact that you understood Preacher, you did a great job of finding a meaning in Hankís messed up life. Thanks for a very good paper.

Journal 4--Chapters 16-21 (149-99)

Tonia Thieman
 Your journals cover Hank's sexual life very well.  Perhaps Preacher would have more meaning for you if you realized how intense Hank's feelings were toward Sadie. If Hank had not wanted her so much when they were making out by heavy petting, their inability to have sex after marriage would not have been such a sacrifice for Hank.  The intensity of feelings in their courtship compounded the frustration for the young husband. Hank and Sadie would have been in their early twenties when they married. For a normal couple, this would have been the time when the "nesting instinct" would have been at its peak. The great love Hank had toward Sadie probably increased the guilt he felt toward his affair with Mary. But as you so put it, it didn't stop Hank from enjoying his relation with his willing partner. I enjoyed your journal.

Kristen Siesennop
I agree. Hank blew it when he married Peggy for all the wrong reasons. Do college students still talk about "marriages on the rebound?" Some of my classmates in college made these kinds of marriages. Some of them worked after hard struggles, some didn't. Would it have been best for Peggy to have slugged Hank with a skillet, called him a bum, and told him, "Don't you ever go near Mary again."? A little messy, but Peggy and the baby would have lived, and as Hank said, perhaps the marriage would have worked with time.

Christine Spooner
I like your observation that Hank and the professor come to an agreement. To me, this signifies religion and the academic world can share without one destroying the other. This is a very thoughtful paper. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Shawn Westfall
I grew up in Navaho land. When we lived in Farmington, New Mexico, these Indians brought their wool, rugs, jewelry, and other products to  trade for white men's goods. My father hired a young Navaho to herd sheep for him, and before he was killed in France, he and his wife and children were a part of our family. After college I held services in a Baptist church in Shiprock, New Mexico. Unlike Hank, I did not take the opportunity to know these people like Hank did. You are right, Hank learned from Tom and Irie before he was able to perhaps help their people. "Walk a mile in my shoes," comes to mind. Off the subject, I wonder if a compromise couldn't be worked
out about the Confederate flag in South Carolina? Shawn, the contents of your paper are excellent.

Jennifer Spillman
Thank you for being honest about your feelings toward Preacher, but I think you mixed realistic up with disgusted. All of the things you said about Hankís conduct are true. I canít defend him, nor will I try. Sir Walter Scott said something like, "What webs we weave when we set out to deceive." Perhaps someday when you are older, and wiser, (and more experienced) you can cut a little slack for Hank.

Robbin Koker
Your grasp of  PREACHER shows that you not only read the novel, but that you received a message from your reading.  I especially enjoyed your likening life to a puzzle. I'm afraid Hank needed a lot of reshaping before he fit his place in the whole picture.  You don't know how much your paper means to me.  May God help you achieve any goal you set for yourself.

Eric Statler

Even though a reviewer must always use an author's last name except at the beginning of an article when first and last name should be used, thanks for calling me by my first name. It makes me feel warm inside. Your paper shows that you have a good grasp of the novel. Thanks.

Faisal Merghelani

Thanks for revealing something about you and applying it to Preacher. Hank did make a big mistake when he married Peggy, but as he said, if he had been given a chance, he could have made it work. Even though Hank tried to place the circumstances on someone or something else, I think he could have worked it out with his wife and son.

Stacie Mathi

Your paper is very good in logic and composition. Only one thing is wrong, Hank did not get Peggy pregnant before the marriage. His sin wasnít sex before marriage, it was marriage for all the wrong reasons. Very good writing.

JoíNel Gholston

Your grasp of the story line is good except Hank didnít have to take a lie detector test, and Peggy followed Hank and saw he and Mary get in the boat. Perhaps she saw Hank kiss Mary. These are small issues for you captured the big picture. The fact that Hank eventually found happiness not only with Mary and their son, but that he was able to help others are the important parts of the story.

Jim Williams

Very clear thinking, Jim. Career wise, Hank made the right choice by marrying Peggy. In order to have a life, he made a very bad choice. If this had been real life, I wish he and Peggy could have made things work.

Carrie Cochran

Very good paper. I do disagree with you on one point, adultery between Mary and Hank had a bearing on the trial, but it was not the reason Hank was found guilty. Had it not been for Peggy killing herself and the baby, Hank would have never come to trial. Adultery except between an adult and a minor is very seldom punished in criminal court.

There have been cases in the church where a wife has protected her adulterous husband to keep both of them from paying the consequences. Interpreting literature leaves several openings, but in this case on page 181, (Hank) "ÖYou and me practically living together while Sadie was alive was not breaking societyís legal laws, but when the law connected it with Peggyís death, it almost got me killed."

Mary, "Öbut a policeman would not put us in jail for what we did."

Carrie, misinterpreting a novel like Preacher is no big deal, but if you become a doctor, and you misinterpret a medical book, your patient might be a dead duck. In other cases, a building might fall down, an automobile might fall apart, get the picture?

Malkiat S. Kooner

You have done an excellent job of gathering facts and putting them together. After you put the facts together, you reached a valid conclusion that shows you understood what you read.

Maureen Baker

Your conclusion about accepting people is excellent. I did not think of Hank trying to force his beliefs on the members of the Bulton church. In this case, your interpretation is as good as mine. Readers who reach their conclusions on vague facts have every right to their opinion. Hank did not object too strongly to what the members believed, wasnít he fighting for his rights to preach another point of view? In modern churches, the issues are not interpretations, but the fight is over whether there can be more than one way to interpret church policies and Biblical interpretations.

Journal 3--Chapters 10-15 (100-48)

Shawn Westfall
I think you expressed very well the need for people to interact. That you pointed out even though Hank committed adultery with Mary, he cared about her feelings. Neither Mary nor Hank used the other as inanimate objects to enjoy and then discard. Too many times men who break their marriage vow become abusive toward the woman involved and take their guilt out
physically. Hank because of his position in the church could have been more inclined to hurt his partner. Also, both were concerned about Sadie's well being. I don't condone Hank's breaking his marriage vow, but I am glad he didn't go off the deep end and hurt himself, Mary, or Sadie. Thanks for a well thought out report. A kind observation that might help you, take your very good report and use a good spell checker such as the one found in Microsoft Word. Take it from one
who learned late in life, spelling does count in the real world.

Robbin Koker
I want to explain about the Baptist Church and the Succession theory that the Baptist Church comes through an unbroken line from Christ. In the late 1800ís some Baptist historians falsified ancient Church histories to prove their theory. While I was at Southern Baptist Seminary, Dr. W. Morgan Patterson had those of us in his class check quotes like Hank did in his studies. All members of the Baptist Church do not hold with the Succession theory so all Baptist believers canít be lumped as dishonest scholars. In fact some very prominent scholars have come out of Baptist schools of higher learning. At the present time the Southern Baptist Convention is going through a very troubled time because the Fundamentalist took over and kicked the more moderate members out. Perhaps this new group of idiots are a bit more evangelical, but in their zeal they are splintering the Convention. Dr. Pat Robertson, Dr. Jerry Falwell, and President Paige Patterson along with Dr. Criswell 0f Dallas have made the Southern Baptist Convention the laughing stock of the scholarly world. Either the tide will change or my beloved Southern Baptist Convention will cease to exist. Faith and reason can exist together, but neither can exist without the other.

Christine Spooner
I will admit that the threesome, Hank, Mary, and Sadie, does sound a little bit too much like a movie situation to be real. Most Sadies' I know would have thrown the special writing device at Hank and called Mama to come and get her. At least you didn't say that this sounds just like something a man would do. I know a lady whose husband had a stroke, and another man moved in after they put the invalid in a nursing home. Perhaps I should have made Hank an old time Mormon bishop instead of a Baptist preacher.

Connie Thomas
Your paper shows a great deal of mature thinking. In fact your paper is so strong in several different areas that it is hard for me to decide which one to comment about. The "agape" idea is the most appealing. All my life I have been an outdoors person. One winter I observed a pair of geese take care of each other. The male had been wounded probably by a hunter. Even though the winters along the Rio Grande in New Mexico are overly harsh for wintering, the female stayed with her mate until spring when he was able to fly again. In spite of Hank's big failing, he did stay to protect Sadie.

Nick Slape
Nice job of using deductive reasoning to find an appropriate end to Preacher. Did you ever read the story about a young man who had to choose which door to open? If he opened one door, a lion would come out. If he opened the other door, a beautiful virgin would emerge. The only thing is I
threw a curve before Hank and Mary could find a perfect ending. 

Connie Thomas
You did a good job of putting the responsibility on the parents to teach values, but can the parents do the whole job without the help of the community? Last month my son drove my wife and I to San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez. We have been paying dues for a number of years to El Dorado Ranch in Baja for a lot my wife and son were given when they were in business. The lot wasn't much, but the development had a nice club where we ate and were entertained. One night I met a Mr. Montoya who had attended the old Albuquerque High like I did, he in the 60's, me in the 40's. Mr. Montoya was expelled in the tenth grade, and I had dropped out in the same grade partly because of having to work to help out at home. Albuquerque High had close to two thousand
students, and because of the conflict between Hispanics and Anglos, it was almost dangerous to attend class. Mr. Montoya's mother put him in a Catholic school, and he went on to graduate from the University of New Mexico. I stayed out three semesters before I got my diploma from Durango High. The two of us laughed about the gang fights we had been involved in, but at the end we both agreed a different atmosphere had helped us to do better school work.  Perhaps I'll finish my account of the trip, and I'll try to post it before the semester is over. John Wayne and company started a fish camp that I want to live in. Tell you about it.

E. Statler
Probably by now you will have found out that deacons in Hank's church were aware of his double life with Mary. Probably these men didn't approve, but they realized it would do a great deal of harm to the Bulton church if they blew the whistle. Presidents Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Kennedy all three had at least one woman they kept on the side. If the general public knew about these affairs, the facts were kept quiet so the government would not be disturbed. Then came Bill and Monica, and all hell broke lose!

Kristen Siesennop
Very good thinking, and you expressed your thoughts clearly. I am sure the church people would have kicked Hank out, but I wonder if the rodeo crowd would have cared. It might seem a little far fetched that Hank could have been a successful preacher while he was living a double life. A prominent Methodist preacher in Dallas had an extended affair with a lady psychiatrist and was not caught until his wife was choked until she became brain damaged so badly that she will never be anything but a vegetable. This affair happened shortly after I wrote Preacher. The Methodist preacher was not only defrocked, he was tried but not convicted of attempted murder.

Carrie Cochran
I wonder if Mary and Hank's affair hit both of them so fast and hard that they didn't have time to think about the consequences. Because of Hank's positions in the church, his adultery hurt a larger number of people. Ministers are not the only people who are hurt because of this sin, and again I refer back to the President and Monica. It was a private affair that should have been handled by the President and his wife, but the Republicans in the House and Senate didn't see it that way; did they?

Jo'Nel Gholston
Very good paper. I wonder if discussing sexual sins with your married partner helps. What little I've read about this subject seems to indicate that a confession makes it worse. Really, all the guilty party is doing is trying to get relief from his or her guilt. The old saying, "Ignorance is bliss," might be the best way out. Just don't do it is the best practice. If you do or did, keeping your mouth shut might cause the least problems. (Ann Landers)

Jim Williams
Nice job of finding symbolism in the shark that attacked Hank. Tying the shark to Hank's problems is something I never thought about. If you continue studying literature, you might find that the critics attempts to find symbolism make as good reading as the original writing. A good paper could be done on whether Hank had suicidal tendencies all his life. His bull riding wasn't conducive to a long and pain free life.

Faisal Merghelani THE AFFAIR
Very, very good! I wonder if men and women's minds work the same. A women alone on the beach might be inclined to yell, "Rape," if a handsome man stood over her while a man would be more inclined to take advantage of the situation. Probably the AIDS thing would make most men think twice. "If she comes to me, how many other men has she approached," might scare some men away. Maybe.

Kenneth Hopen
Your good paper made me think of the summer Jim Whitman got on the University of Texas tower and started shooting. My wife was taking summer courses. I went to see about her and got caught in the crossfire. Falling back far enough to where I thought I was safe, another man and I kept people from driving into the shooting. Only after a student sitting on a lawn fell over dead did I realize I wasn't as safe as I thought I was. There was no fear until it was over, and then I got the shakes.

Stacie Mathi
Very good thinking, but it seems Hank because of his feelings of guilt was hurt more by his affair with Mary than was Sadie. Both women found a mutual friendship that seemed to enrich their lives. Hank was never sure Sadie knew about his relation with Mary. Mary told Hank she told Sadie, but Hank thought Mary might have lied to help him get over his guilt.

Jeffrey Kilcullin
Good thinking. All of us have seen badly wounded men come back from war to wives who care for them even though their injuries have made them repulsive. Occasionally we have seen spouses leave their mates because they can't cope with their mates' injuries.

Malkiat S. Kooner
Thanks for showing the good in Preacher. Don't be afraid to also discuss the bad aspects the book discusses.

To all of you.
You have shown great improvement in your writing abilities. I know your professor has played a great part in this.

Journal 2--Chapters 5-9 (47-99)

Robbin Koker
Your paper hits Hank hard. I find myself questioning whether Hank's desire to be best is all bad. Don't most successful people have a strong desire to be NUMBER ONE? Was Hank's decision to marry Sadie after the accident purely a selfish motive? Many people try to change people's thinking. Does this make them wrong? I listen to preachers, politicians, and other prominent people that I almost despise because of their views, but I listen to get their viewpoint. Your ability to express yourself with such clarity is great. Do you get Molly Ivin's columns? Like you, she makes my male chauvinist blood boil, but I read her anytime I see her name on an article. Hey, what I'm saying is you are a great writer who makes my blood steam!

Shawn Westfall
Tying Preacher in with other disciplines of study connected to the whole person is very good. Perhaps in many places of higher education, the study of religion, especially Christianity, has been done away with. Some of this has been brought about by some Christians attacking modern scientific studies such as psychology where human behavior is explained without the influence of a Divine Being. Anyway, you have done a good job of telling  how Hank and Sadie were able to overcome their problems by both the Christian religion and scientific disciplines. Very good.

Christine Spooner
I have the book Faith, Reason and Existence by Hutchison which seems to be out of print. The author explains why a Christian can believe in evolution and still believe in the Bible.  Like Hank said,  Bishop Ussher, an Irish priest, figured out the time of creation to be 4004 BC by figuring out the length of each family mentioned in the Book of Genesis. The Southern Baptist Convention has split over whether members have to take a literal interpretation of the Genesis 1-12  or not. To me, with carbon dating and modern scientific methods, it is pretty clear that the earth is millions of years old. My faith is stronger because of  the intricate steps in the creation of the earth. I like the way you handled this subject.  Remember Bill North was a deacon instead of a preacher. This means he was a member of Hank's church who had the power with the other deacons to fire Hank. Most ministers in all churches do not have the money to refuse
to do what the deacons tell them to do. Besides, once a minister is fired, he has to either find another church or forget about his education and calling and find means of supporting himself. In other words, it took guts for Hank to do want he did. Perhaps if he had failed, he could have gone to work for the Texas Department of Agriculture.  The big issue in some churches now is over aspects of the gay and lesbian issue. Other congregations are dividing over abortions. I was knocked to the floor in the Sixties by a Baptist minister for defending some Black missionaries.  It seems like after two thousand years the church would have settled all issues, but it still has to hammer out each issue
every generation.

Kris, I agree with you about marriage and divorce, but Hank goes through a great failing before finding a real marriage.

Faisal Merghelani
In modern society, is reproduction the main purpose of marriage? Some couples marry for companionship with no thought of having children. Here is a question, without Hank and Sadie consummating the marriage, were they legally married? I thought about this as an out for Hank after what happens next.

Nick Slape
Very good thought about Hank and Sadie not being able to live if they were forced to be together all the time. As I grow older I think about this more. In visiting friends in nursing homes, I find husbands and wives staying with their sick companions almost constantly. The Reagans are an example of a wife who has stayed by her husband.

Andrea Weiss
Nice job of reading Hank's mind, or did I give away too much of the story? I was in hopes some of you would write your thoughts about Hank almost telling you about what was going to happen next. Authors are not supposed to reveal what is going to happen. I thought my reading audience would be getting awfully tired of hearing a man brag about himself, so to keep an audience, I thought it best to make a conflict.

Karen Richardson
Good thought of putting the blame on someone. I've thought, wouldn't it have been best if Hank had gone all the way, gotten Sadie pregnant so she couldn't rodeo, and the two of them settled down to ranching and raising children? Then there wouldn't have been enough conflict for me to write about.

JoNel Gholston
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is located in Fort Worth, Texas. Some Baptist ministers go to four years of college, three years of seminary, and then go another three or four years to get a doctor of theology. This is what Hank did. Unlike ministers in churches like the Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc. Baptist ministers do not have to
get any formal training.

Kenneth Hopen
Good point about crowds making noise when they shouldn't. Since the Southern Baptist Convention is governed by delegates, some of the ministers who are sent spend their time visiting very loudly. Worse, some of them spend their time politicking. Congregational controlled church bodies are thought to have been the model for the United States government. If you watch congress in action on C Span, some of the members must be Baptist for they certainly talk when they should be listening.

Stacie Mathi
If a tragedy happens this is certainly a good philosophy to have. A man I knew who had a crippling disease told me, "If you can't walk, crawl, if you can't crawl, lay flat on your belly and pull yourself along, but whatever you do, don't give up."

Malkiat S. Kooner
Novels that develop through dialogue seem to be the kind preferred by publishers. In writing script for videos, one picture can take the place of a number of pages. Publishers don't like editorial comments by the author - but James Michener has done very well by doing this.

Erik Statler
In developing Hank, I made him to be not a very strong believer. In fact he succeeded not because of his faith, but because of his fame as a bull rider. The fact he was able to keep going in spite of tragedies made him a very strong character. 

Mareen Baker
Very mature thinking. I can't see you drinking poisoned Kool Aid in Jonestown, or burning in a compound near Waco,  Texas. Religion can make a person a saint or a devil.

Jeffrey Kilcullin
Hank seems to have been affected by Sadie's condition. He had planned on her being with him, but now, even though they are in love, he has to do so many things alone. When he walked on the sea shore he had to walk alone. No longer could they enjoy each others company on the ranch. Most of all, Hank stated sex was a very strong drive for him, but never was he able to fulfill this basic desire with Sadie. Never interpret literature by reading the author's bio blurb. Hank and Luther Butler are not the same person. For one thing, I am scared to death of bulls, I don't mean scared, I mean terrified! There isn't enough money in this world to get me on a bull's back! Until 1984 I kept a herd of cows, and during this time, I kept my bull at arm's length. Except, once I kept a large bull for a man who let the bull eat an ear of corn out of his back pocket! Here I would be walking across the pasture with this beast nuzzling my rear. Hank is much younger than me since I was born in 1929. Preacher was not written in 1992, but probably in 1988. I was born in Alamosa, Colorado, but my family were on their way to a homestead forty miles from Durango, Colorado. If you want to read two novels that are more about me, click the above link and look at the novels Homesteaders and Sheepherders, and D.H under LaPlata County Series. I let Son Wilkerson, the hero of the novel, share my space, but he and I are not the same. Never be taken in by an author who writes novels in the first person, if they write about themselves, they will probably lie to make themselves look better! Thanks so much for sharing your paper with me. Try rereading without the author's blurb in mind, and I know you will enjoy Preacher much more.

Journal One--Chapters 1-4 (1-46)

Tag Criswell
Nice job of tying Hank's life to yours. You expressed nicely how Hank was able to overcome his own stupid mistakes. Please reread to see if Hank became a preacher to stay out of the draft.

Karen Richardson
I like your thoughts on intimidating others. Perhaps you should study ways to control people so that when you become boss you can encourage your employees to do their work without frightening them. Make sure you don't judge people solely on whether they can look you in the eye. People with some types of eye trouble can't hold their eyes steady, and some cold blooded murderers can look you straight in the eye.

Bret Thompson
Your narrative shows a good grasp of the book, Preacher. I would point out that Hank and Sadie lived in very sparsely settled country. Five miles between houses is quite a distance. Also, you have to remember you don't know how far it was to Sadie's and Hank's neighbors on the opposite sides. Also, their ranches may have gone miles to the south. Ask me sometime, and I will tell you about walking seven miles through the snow to first and second grade. Are college couples as inclined to live celibate lives today as were Hank and Sadie? There are problems both ways. Statistics show couples who have sex before marriage are not as inclined to stay together after marriage.

Mirela Besic
Very good thoughts! It is interesting about Rosita and Sadie. Sadie set limits, but Rosita led Hank on, and then had to almost use force to keep him in place. I'll bet most men have known a few women like that! I am glad you also picked up on the eyes. Some people and animals you can control by looking them straight in the eyes, but both will sometimes kill you while you are staring them down. Anyway, it worked for Hank. 

Faisal Merghelani
Good grasp of the main points. Do remember Sadie and Hank was in the barn in the hay when Sadie's mother caught them. Some ranch people let their chickens roam, and these hens laid their eggs in the hay.  Remember Nara Visa is in New Mexico not Mexico. When I was a student at Eastern New Mexico University, ministerial students filled pulpits where
there was no minister. One Sunday I went to Nara Visa without knowing anything about the small church. Before I got up to preach, an elderly lady took me aside and told me to watch myself because the president of the bank had gotten into the pulpit and stomped their former minister the Sunday before. This gave me an incentive to not get too personal, in fact I spoke about deer hunting! This was in 1952 when Nara Visa was a cattle shipping point. Since truckers pick the cattle up at the ranches, the town doesn't have a church or a school.

Jim Williams
Nice! I like the way you put yourself in Hank's place in regard to riding the bull.

Katherine Bertels
As you said so well, if not looking the bull in the eyes worked for Hank, it was the thing for him to do. I understand some patients will not look in their psychiatrist's eyes because they think the doctor can read their thoughts. An observant doctor can pick up signals by watching closely, but they cannot read your mind. Do you really think your boyfriend can control you by looking into your eyes? Your paper will make me think thoughts I never thought before. This would make a good novel. This afternoon I went to an Aggie friend's funeral. After a solemn sermon, the minister told us to stay seated. A whistle blew, a recorded band started playing very loudly, The Aggie War Hymn. (Texas A and M) What a way to go!

Stacie Mathi
Very clear thinking, it's too bad the masses don't do family planning. Therefore, we have the bulk of the population being produced by the "unwashed and uneducated." This places the taking care of the needs of the children of these poor families on those who plan their families. Texas is becoming a breeding place for Mexicans from south of the Border.

Jo'Nel Gholston
Your paper shows you have a good ability to grasp the facts of Preacher. You have made a good point about the death of Hank's father and how it affected Hank's decision to be a preacher.

Carrie Cochran
I am chuckling about your assessment of men's feelings toward sex. Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes comes to mind. I certainly agree with your evaluation of sex education in schools. Educators found that passing out condoms didn't solve all the problems. They have found that instilling values toward sex has to be done as well as birth control methods.

Andrea Weiss
Your paper shows Preacher made you think about some very important decisions in life. Have you ever read the book, Bad Things happen to Good People? Perhaps your next reading assignment will make you think of this writing.

Kenneth Hopen
How friends can do you dirty is certainly a valid observation from reading about Hank and Earnest. Was Earnest all to blame? As my mama used to say, "It takes two to fight." Nice refreshing thought you expressed in your paper.

Cheryl Shelton
This is a very in depth study of the first four chapters of Preacher. I like the way you have tied your reading to your course in Sociology. This seems to have given you a greater understanding of the story. Remember, Hank and Sadie didn't live in a small town or city. Probably when they rode the school bus they rode perhaps twenty or thirty
miles each way. So, perhaps two or three hours a day were spent on the bus. This is why it was difficult when Hank couldn't drive his pickup - and they could have greater freedom with each other in their private vehicle.

Ben Peters. 
I enjoyed your reaction to Preacher. Just for fun, ask yourself which girl you would rather date, Rosita or Sadie? Having grown up with Hispanic girls, some of them were very desirable and enjoyable for classmates. My parents were very much against dating outside the Anglo society so this would have presented a problem for Hank. "White" people in
New Mexico during Hank's time would have also frowned on dating a "Mexican girl." There weren't many "Mexican" people in Nara Visa during Hank's time like there were farther west toward Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The novel Red Sky in the Morning discusses this social factor as does my freshly published novel, "DH," of the LaPlata County Series. Hank going with a "Mexican girl" would have cheapened Sadie, and the fact Hank went with
Rosita, would have probably been harder for her to take than if he had gone with another "white" girl. This is a difficult subject to discuss because New Mexico Hispanics don't like to be referred to as Mexicans, nor do all of them like to be called Hispanics. There are some very crude names used for this race that I don't want to dignify. Anyway, Ben, social rules were and are different in New Mexico than they were and are in St Louis!

Chrissy Spooner.
This is a good discussion of the beliefs about eye contact. Public speakers need to have eye contact with their audience for if they are able to, then most people will believe them. I believed President Clinton about Monica until he made his famous confession!
Among the Catholic Native Americans and Chicano's of the Southwest, many of the people believe certain people are witches and can place hexes by using the evil eye.

Malkiat Kooner
Be sure and don't mix Hank with Luther Butler. Also, when I write, I free write for my own pleasure entirely so I never know what is going to happen until the words are on my computer screen. It certainly wasn't my intent to preach moral values with Preacher, in fact, I pointed out some fallacies when the Religious Right people had young people sign pledges not to have sex before marriage. There are some things that are much worse like abuse of drugs and alcohol. My characters develop page by page without too much rhyme or reason, and since Hank was forced by Sadie and her mother to be virtuous, it added to the development of the story. I am pleased you picked up on Hank's understanding of nature. Do you think he might have been a pantheist? Some of the Lake Poets seemed to have been.

Jeffrey Kilcullin
Very, very profound. Your paper made me have some very deep thoughts. Kurt Warner sounds like Roger Staubach(sp) a former Dallas Cowboy. Dieon Sanders does much in helping people in the Dallas area in becoming Christians, but little things, like his sore toe, kept him from being a Hank. I'm still irked at the fact Dieon was paid million for playing only a few games. He did look noble on his exercise bicycle while his teammates were busting their backsides!

Kristen Siesennop
Very idealistic. Sometimes no matter how motivated a person is, something unexpected can come up. Christopher Reeves is an example. The fact he has continued to find a meaning for his life is what has impressed me.

Jennifer Lenssen
Very clear thinking. Some of the cruelest things have been done by members of society to keep young people "pure" until marriage. The cruelest I've heard about is the mutilation of the female children's sexual organs. On E.R. the other night, a mother burnt her little daughter's hand to keep her from "touching herself." I went to seminary with a young man whose father used a straight edge on his son's penis when the father caught the boy with
a consenting girl. The irony was that the young man and his wife were expelled from school for being practicing homosexuals. They took twelve very brilliant graduate students with them. 

Jennifer Spillman
Remember again, Luther Butler is not the one who doesn't look into the bull's eye. Hank is the guilty one. I enjoyed the way you tied not looking the bull in with your obstinate teammate who wouldn't make eye contact. If she had looked you in the eye, would the outcome have been different? Perhaps this is why she avoided looking at you. When I was growing up, my oldest sister would tell me, "You look at me when I'm talking to you." She
tried to control me in this way.

Brittany Majzun
Isn't there a saying, "Couples who play together, stay together?" I know the religious people put "pray" instead of play. Remember the poem, "Maude Miller" or was it,"Muller"? where the successful judge wishes he had married the simple country girl instead of the society woman? Perhaps it is good to live your life so you don't have to say, "I wish it had been." Like Robert Frost, I've always wondered what it would have been like to have
taken the other road.

Erik Statler 
I'm pleased Preacher in the first four chapters has made you think about how you want to make decisions for your life. When Sadie's horse died, do you think it was important to Hank that there was a defect in the trailer?

A. Baker
Very deep thinking! Off and on, I read World's Religions by Houston Smith to try and determine how the values of Christianity can be applied to other beliefs without destroying the values of other faiths such as Hindus. I don't know if any agreement can be reached in this area since the Church of Christ and the Baptists, who are very similar, can't come to terms of agreement. Perhaps your generation can bring more harmony and love into the world's religions!

Kris Askins
Very relevant to modern times! As you have said so well, both parents have to work in order to have enough money to have a decent lifestyle. Perhaps the emphasis should be on quality time together. You could argue that it is more important for the wife to stay at home, but this decision would have to be weighed against the child having or not having some important things like food, clothing, and a college education.

Shawn Westfall. 
I wish you were my publicity person! You have a very good grasp of the first four chapters, and I am glad Hank and Sadie brought idealistic thoughts to your mind. Thanks.

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Luther Butler's Answers to the Examination over Preacher:

Why_Sexual_Tension:                               Before the accident, Sadie wants to remain a vrigin until the marriage night. Sadie's mother is against premarital sex. Hank won't go all the way because he promised Sadie's mother he wouldn't.
Hanks_Attachment_Rodeo:                           Hank enjoys the thrill of the ride, and he enjoys the crowd cheering for him.  Most of all, he enjoys the fame it brings him especially after he becomes a public speaker. Not near as many people would have listened to a nobody from Nara Visa, New Mexico.
Hanks_Not_Looking_Bulls_Eyes:                     Hank thinks the bull will gain control over him. In other words, Hank doesn't want to eat arena dirt.
Hanks_Begrudging_Religion_Sexuality:              After Sunday services, Sadie is not as free in their heavy petting.
Death_Hanks_Dad_Help_Him_Understand_Christianity: Hank understood about resurrection and life after death. He began to understand the meaning of Christianity more fully.
Job_Hank_after_Graduation:                        Hank was offered the job of pastor of First Baptist Church in Bulton, Texas. He was to do the preaching and let the deacons take care of the house keeping.
What_Happens_Sadie:                               Sadie dismounted to accept the award of all round cowgirl at the Collegiate Rodeo in Fort Worth's Will Roger Colesium. The bull Hank had been riding broke lose and gored Sadie. Hank saved her life, but he couldn't save her from being an invalid.
What_Hank_Forbidden_Marrying_Sadie:               Hank is warned not to have sex with Sadie.
Hanks_Project_Psychology:                         This one I am a little hazy about. One, Hank's involvement in religion caused him to rely on faith instead of reasoning things out.  Two, Hank's ambition caused conflicts in his personal life.
Hank_Sadies_Marriage:                             Hank charges his battery at Sadie's bedside, and he gains strength. Sadie looks forward with her time with Hank so they can share ideas. Really, their relationship is a meeting of the minds that can't include physical fulfillment of sex..
Symbolism_with_Shark:                             The shark made Hank realize life can be ended at anytime.  I really never thought about symbolism in  the shark attack. This is one answer I'm waiting to read.
Hanks_Meaning_Ruling_Heart_Emotions:              Hank loves Sadie with his heart, but Mary is able to take care of the physical aspects of sex, therefore, Mary rules the physical part of Hank's emotions.
Office_Southern_Baptist_Convention:               President of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Hanks_Deepest_Regret_Sadies_Death_Mary:           The fact Hank was at the seacoast when Sadie died causes him a great deal of personal  grief.
Why_Mary_wont_Marry_Hank:                         Mary doesn't want to be a preacher's wife
Why_Hank_Marries_Peggy:                           Hank wanted the large liberal church in Fort Worth that Peggy's father could get for him. He also hoped their marriage would work into something really meaningful for both of them.
What_Peggy_Want_To_Be:                            A Baptist preacher
Kind_Marriage_Hank_Peggy_Have:                    Hank has sexual relations with Peggy, but their marriage is too formal. There is not the love Hank had with Sadie and Mary.
How_Hanks_Relationship_Changed_with_Mary:         Hank and Mary are good friend outwardly, but Hank still carries a torch for Mary.
Why_Stay_in_FtWorth:                              Hank had plans for the Fort Worth church he wanted to carry out.
Why_Peggy_Engineers_Her_Death:                    She wanted to get even with Hank for going to see Mary.
Where_Hank_Goes_After_Trial:                      Hank goes back to the ranch at Nara Visa
Symbolism_Behind_Storm:                           The storm was a cleansing power that washed Sadie and Peggy out of his mind. In a sense it was a new birth for Hank.
How_News_of_Hanks_Marriage_Received:              The fact Hank and Mary only waited three months after Peggy's death caused headlines in newspapers. The public did not approve of the sudden marriage. Peggy's father was the most bitter.
How_Navajos_Help_Hank:                            Hank was able to use his schooling to help Tom overcome his problems. Through the two Navahos, Hank found a mission field to preach the Christian religion.
Preacher Examination:                             Send this baby home!


The English teacher accussed Hank of trying to poke his religion down people's throats. He also argued that Hank used his converts to be rodeo clowns to pick him up after the ride. Hank argued that the conversion experience changed converts lives. The teacher said he saw students change because of their insights gained in reading literature. Both the teacher and Hank's arguments have validity. Which one of the men had points in their favor. Hank's religion caused some people to change while the teacher saw changes brought about by classroom experiences. Who is to say whose argument is most valid. A combination of the two approaches would be the most valid.


Hank's pride caused him to marry Peggy so he could have the biggest and riches Baptist Church in Texas. This desire to be the biggest and best almost cost him his life. It caused the death of Peggy. Hank let pride lead him into a lifestyle he was unable to cope with. Bringing the question to a conclusion, Hank's pride in being the best at every thing took over his whole spiritual and physical being.


Right or wrong, Hank did what many men would do in the same situation. Morally and spiritually, Hank was wrong in having the affair.