The play is titled ‘The Whale’ to help define the innocence of the characters who have been isolated due to fierce walls they have erected in their hearts. It is this innocence that strikes deep emotions and dares us to care about the characters without relying on their sentiments. The title ‘The Whale’ represent the need of the characters to be embraced with love and empathy because being incapable of caring is not beneficial.
The story of Jonah figures into play when Elder Thomas learns it was the last speech Alan’s father gave him during his last day in church and related it with Moby Dick’s story that Charlie had asked him to read for him. He gets convinced that God put him in Charlie’s path to help him get saved. That is when he tells him that Jonah was swallowed by a whale after refusing to listen to God’s will. He prayed while in the Whale’s womb, and God forgave him and was spit by the whale on the shores. He tries to convince Charlie how his lifestyle of being guy was against God’s will and that it wasn’t too late to learn the truth and seek God’s salvation. In the play, Elder Thomas tells Charlie, “…your boyfriend-He knew the truth. He never prayed for salvation – but it’s not too late for you.”
There is a crisis of faith in the play. The characters have lifestyles and beliefs that contradict the teaching of the Mormon Church. Elder Thomas is a Mormon missionary that suffers from a crisis of faith. Charlie is battling with the bitterness of losing his boyfriend as he says the Mormon Church drove him to grave. Liz too believes that Mormon faith brings no joy but sadness in life. Charlie’s daughter tells Elder Thomas… “You are shitty for being a religious person.”