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In the Face of Tragedy

27 Oct

Old Man in Sorrow Vincent van Gogh

I love a happy ending, but the value of tragedy is no longer lost on me.

Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time, to a time when there were still privacy, love, and friendship, and when the members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason.

For Winston this realization comes with the recollection of his mother’s sacrifice for him.  Even though he cannot remember the reasons for that sacrifice, he does know that in his current condition such a selfless act could never occur.

Today there were fear, hatred, and pain, but no dignity of emotion, or deep or complex sorrows.

I’m not a fan of sorrow, even when it doesn’t manifest itself in complex and deep ways.  But I do put a pretty high value on privacy, love, friendship, and family.

So, if anyone asks how reading the WEM list has changed me, I think my answer will be colored by these passages.  For the dignity of emotion is a gift transferred from one generation to another through the arts, and exposure to their fear, hatred, and pain teaches us the value of our own safety, love, and freedom.

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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in 1984

 

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