Scripture is often silent on the person, and the role, of St. Joseph. Yet, we see in retrospect how the Lord used Joseph’s trust, his unmentioned fiat , to assist the birth of the new Israel—the Son of God, made man. He is the patron and protector of our Lady, and, therefore, of our Church, because he continues to watch over the Messiah’s ongoing incarnation, now extended through Christ’s holy sacraments, in and through his holy Church, through all ages. Scripture acknowledges the prefiguring of St. Joseph’s holy vocation as a protector and loving husband and father. During March, the Church gives us this feast to celebrate how all hopes and dreams of Israel have become fact, have become flesh.
Unlike the antiheroes of eras past, modern man-boys simply refused to grow up, and did so proudly. Maybe nobody grows up anymore, but everyone gets older. What happens to the boy rebels when the dream of perpetual childhood fades and the traditional prerogatives of manhood are unavailable? There are two options: They become irrelevant or they turn into Louis C. K. (fig. 5). Every white American male under the age of 50 is some version of the character he plays on “Louie,” a show almost entirely devoted to the absurdity of being a pale, doughy heterosexual man with children in a post-patriarchal age. Or, if you prefer, a loser.
For some unknown reason, the epilogue is absent from the British edition. British reviewers were puzzled to read a book with a first-person narrator who apparently did not survive to tell the tale. Accordingly, the Spectator objected that "nothing should be introduced into a novel which it is physically impossible for the writer to have known: thus, he must not describe the conversation of miners in a pit if they all perish." Two other papers asked "How does it happen that the author is alive to tell the story?" The upshot was confusion, and poor English reviews. These, in turn, cast a shadow over the American reception of the novel. Melville's career never really recovered. He told Hawthorne in 1856, "I have pretty much made up my mind to be annihilated."