The Da Vinci Code

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Chapters 38–44

Summary Chapters 38–44

Aringarosa feels contempt for Church officials not only because of their status as members of the new, more liberal church, but also because they are, in his opinion, weak men incapable of saving the church from catastrophe. He decides to implicate them in the plan himself because he is not sure that, given the choice, they would implicate themselves.

Brown again writes Sophie and Langdon, who are trapped in the Swiss bank, into a seemingly inescapable situation. By playing up the impressive trappings of the bank, Brown emphasizes the contrast between Sophie and Langdon’s naiveté and the bank’s sophistication. Brown wants to portray Sophie and Langdon as underdogs so that if they do prevail, their triumph will be that much more impressive.

André Vernet’s appearance is something of a deus ex machina—a device from Greek plays in which a god suddenly descends from the sky and straightens everything out. Vernet is probably the only person who could have helped Sophie and Langdon get out of the bank vault without being arrested. Brown’s reliance on characters like Vernet is convenient, but it might strike some readers as a bit of a cop-out, a too-handy device for a thriller writer who needs to get his characters out of a mess. More satisfying, perhaps, would be a scene in which Sophie and Langdon manage to extricate themselves without help.

Sophie’s role as the intuitive member of the duo is emphasized again when she guesses her grandfather would have used a code number with meaning. At this point, Sophie is not only the person who uses common sense to get herself and Langdon out of scrapes; she is also the one who is better at interpreting human nature. Here, she takes on a more stereotypically female role, while Langdon plays the part of the non-intuitive, analytical male.