Summary: Silas returns to his lodgings, worried about his murder of Sister Sandrine—primarily for the fact that he has endangered his father-figure, Bishop Aringarosa. He remembers how Aringarosa trained him to think more highly of himself than others had conditioned him to think of himself, telling him that his albino skin was a sign of God’s special purpose for Silas’ life. But he also seems to hear “his father’s disappointed voice,” calling him a disaster, and a ghost. Praying for forgiveness, Silas begins to flagellate himself once more.
Analysis: Readers are given a brief glimpse into Silas’ past and psychology, as we view the contrast between his two father-figures: his actual, biological father, who abused him; and Bishop Aringarosa, who encouraged Silas to think of himself as special and chosen by God: “Were you not aware that Noah himself was an albino?… Noah saved all life on the planet. You are destined for great things, Silas” (p. 181). This brief chapter, then, again presents us with a character who is utterly convinced his actions are not only motivated by but also blessed by God. Silas justifies his murder of Sister Sandrine by telling himself, “She was working against God! She scorned the work of Opus Dei!” (p. 180). And so we also see once more the uncritical equation of God with a human institution—an error that Langdon and others in The Da Vinci Code will claim (not without merit) has caused the world much harm.