Rick McGinnis writes:
The Naked Pilgrim ends sadly; moved despite his best efforts by the ritual he sees, and touched by the piety and kindness of the pilgrims he meets, Sewell is invited to let Jesus into his heart by young pilgrims at the door of the cathedral. Stubbornly and with palpable regret, Sewell turns away, back to art, away from religion.
Just as art and religion do not do the same things, suicide and self-sacrifice aren’t “different only in degree.” The latter asks us to be good; the former asks nothing, not even that we continue to exist. The end of life often isn’t dignified or pleasurable, but it asks us to persevere, to see what the gift of life finally offers as it slips away.