Jeanne d'Arc in battle

Joan of Arc (Original French: Jeanne d'Arc) was a French peasant woman in the early fifteenth century who, after a series of supposed visions from the archangel Michael and various saints, supported Charles VII in his attempts to recover France and win the Hundred Years' War. A series of victories won or accredited to her renewed French morale and led to their eventual victory over the English. Before the war's end, Joan was betrayed by the Burgundians and handed over to the English, who burned her at the stake when she was just nineteen-years old. Today she is considered a French hero and a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

Norman Boutin was most likely inspired by Joan for Theresa Sullivan, the eponymous character of Empress Theresa.

Norman's Admiration Edit

Norman has shown a deep - if not maniacal - admiration for Joan of Arc. While Joan's contributions and noble traits won't be denied by anyone, Norman seems to take her to an almost super-human level.

Norman has said regarding Joan: "Her story was amazing. She was amazing."[1] He has also said: "Her short life was like an exploding meteor. It takes you breath away. "[2] In a post he wrote on Christian Forums,[3] Norman stated that if "anybody else had set out to do what she did they would have failed miserably." He called Joan "a genius in the highest rank. Old generals admitted she knew more about strategy then they did," and in regards to her military expertise "she was so brilliant she learned the most complicated subjects instantly." Even Norman's forum signature is a quote about Joan of Arc (sourced to himself):

God gave Joan of Arc what anybody has to say was the most impossible and burdensome task ever imposed on a human being. She obeyed. She loved God with her whole heart, and her whole soul, and her whole mind, and her whole will.

Norman listed her as one of the top five Christian "Thinkers/Theologians/Philosophers," alongside Tertullian, Thomas Aquinas, and Augustine of Hippo.[4] He has boasted that Joan "performed wonders that leave secular historians mystified to this day."[5] He also believes,[6] had Joan not saved France, that many of the following possibilities would arise:

  • England would have had "an empire on the European continent instead of being restricted to their island as we know in our history." (Norman forgets that England, later Great Britain, expanded well beyond their island, and formed something that was called "the British Empire").
  • France would have been "cut up in pieces by surrounding warlords in Spain, Italy, and Germany." (Norman forgets that all three of those countries were at that time "cut up in pieces").
  • "French culture as we know it would not have arisen."
  • The relationships between England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and other countries "would have been changed from what we know." (This charge is so immensely vague that it could be said of any other person in European history).
  • "The balance of powers in Europe would have been changed from what we know." (Another vague charge).
  • "The history of Europe for the past six hundred years would have been changed from what we know." (Another charge so vague that you could have said it about everyone from Charlemagne to Martin Luther).
  • "The discovery, exploration and settlement of the New World would have been changed from what we know." (It might have had less French influence - that is about as far as the speculation can go).
  • "The map of the New World today would be completely different from what we know." (Again, it would probably have far less French influence and little else).

Norman argued elsewhere that Joan saved the Roman papacy,[7] and that the supposedly fulfilled predictions she gave are evidence for the existence of God.[8]

Norman likewise believes that Joan did not die by being burned to death, but rather suffocated from the heat and flames, and hence had a more peaceful death.[9] He has even written an article on the matter, entitled Joan of Arc's Death: From Heat Stroke.[10]

A username used by Norman on an MSN thread was "Joan-of-Arcfan1."[11] He also wrote a series of Amazon reviews in the 2000's, each one titled with a variant of "A 5x year old Joan of Arc fanatic [verbs] on [title]". The reviews were for Mark Twain's Joan of Arc,[12] Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities,[13] and Melville's Moby Dick.[14] The Moby Dick comment is especially telling of Boutin's Joan obsession: he comments on Melville's book (even though this is for the Gregory Peck film version), and his main point seems to be to encourage people to read about Joan of Arc, because she was a real person, unlike Ahab, and because she "totally devoted herself to working for others," in contrast to Ahab.

Similarities with Theresa Edit


What Norman believes

The following are parallels between Theresa and Joan, either in their stories, or in Norman's discussions about them.

  • Norman has stated that anyone of any religion can understand and learn from Theresa's story. He has likewise said that "anybody, Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, even atheist, can get some benefit from studying Joan’s example. The principles which she demonstrated so superlatively are universal."[15]
  • Norman has stated that Theresa's religion is merely about trusting in God. He has likewise said about Joan that "God presented us with Joan of Arc as an example of the possibilities of a human spirit who trusts Him."[16]
  • Theresa bonded with HAL when she was ten-years old. According to Norman, Joan heard her first voices from God when she was about twelve.[17]
  • Norman often brags about how he can only tell the truth about Theresa. He has likewise said, "I will always tell the historically accurate truth about Joan to the best of my ability."[18]
  • Theresa is referred to by some characters as a personal servant of God. Norman has likewise quoted Joan saying "All that I have done was at the command of God."[19]
  • When defending Theresa's character, Norman often quotes from fictionalized British prime minister Peter Blair. Norman also often makes reference to a quote from Winston Churchill, the British prime minister during World War II, regarding how marvelous Joan of Arc was.[20][21]

Many critics have denounced Norman's attempt to draw parallels between Theresa and Joan of Arc. A few critics on the Kiwi Forum called Norman's obsession with Joan "creepy."[22][23] One Amazon critic wrote:

There are occasional references to God, including a Catholic priest named Father Donoughty ("Do-nothing" would be more appropriate), and a dedication to Joan of Arc - perhaps an attempt to cash in on the "inspirational romance" market. However, this is doomed from the start: Theresa is no Joan of Arc. It would be easier to buy Dan Quayle as Jack Kennedy than to assume that the remotest parallel applied between Joan's heroism and Theresa's Mary Sue-ishness.[24]

References Edit

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