‘Don’t you think blessing does any good?’

Elizabeth looked up sharply, as one does at a small child who asks its first coherent question. ‘No. No, I don’t, actually.’

‘It looks nice though. Don’t you think? I wish someone would bless me.’

Elizabeth twitched her crochet hook in and out. A sucker for a cult, she thought. Better keep her out of the city at night. ‘The last time anybody blessed me,’ she said, ‘was when I took a bag of old clothes to the Salvation Army opshop. But I did get myself baptised when I was a student.’

Did they push you right under?

‘I wasn’t a fundamentalist, thanks very much. Just a cross on the forehead, a bit of nice music, turn to the east, forswear the devil and all his works. And guess who my godfather was. Dexter.’

Does "A sucker for a cult" mean: Blessing is like A sweet for extreme religious people? Does it mean literally?


Does "Did they push you right under?" mean: Did religious people force you to be baptized?

Source: The children's Bach by Helen Garner

  • 1
    to be sucker for [anything you like].
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


No, a sucker for a cult means "a gullible person who is swayed by any cult that they might encounter".

The literal meaning of Did they push you right under was "Were you totally immersed for the baptism". But she seems to take it figuratively as "You became so deeply involved in that church that you became a fundamentalist". (Maybe it was intended that way, I don't know)

  • 1
    It says in the previous sentence that they were baptized, so yes, it means total immersion.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 20:50
  • Dose in baptism you should listen to a nice music? I am not christian and I do not know anything about it. Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 12:29
  • @ViserHashemi: See Baptism. I'm not Christian either.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 17:20

There's some context that the other answers have missed.

Sucker for a cult is Elizabeth's take on the speaker's religious faith. Often those opposed to Christianity will describe Christianity as a cult, and Christians as stupid or gullible. The speaker thinks Elizabeth is easy prey for manipulative people, like street hustlers or pimps. That is what keep her out of the city at night means.

Push you right under refers to the method of baptism, not whether force was involved. Force is not involved - baptism is a voluntary act, usually performed before a crowd of witnesses.

It is also clear that Elizabeth doesn't take faith very seriously. She listed off some actions, and shows an interest in surface matters. She doesn't show any evidence of a changed life or a spiritual commitment.

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