Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Great Expectations

How to live up to the title in just one post.  Impossible.  Suffice it to say that Stiva and I (and Elsa and Tuffy) enjoyed the 1946 version of Dickens' "Great Expectations" as a family tonight.  Stiva has since gone to bed, but not without the significant nods of the head when the phrase was uttered throughout the movie.

If you haven't read the book, there is no excuse.  It's available here, free of charge, to all who are interested:  You don't need to sign up, you don't need to have an email address.  All you need to do is read.

It made me think about what the poor kids being brought up today are going through.  They are denied the real life experiences and hardships of the hero "Pip" and yet, they have the label of "Great Expectations" etched on their foreheads.  What can we expect of these children?  Ultimate failure, I'm afraid.

We shall not harangue, we shall just observe.  And exempt our little canines from "great expectations".  We shall only love them, and encourage them to be the best they can be.  In this way, they cannot ever let us down.  They can only ever belong.  To us.

Dickens is believed by many in today's literary circles as shallow -- as a writer who wrote in installments for monthly journals -- as a "recipe" author.  So you can also accuse Harriet Beecher Stowe or Louisa May Alcott.  Judge if you wish to, that's perfectly ok.

Dickens was a hater of social evils -- an early civil rights proponent.  He hated and exposed social evils, injustice, and hypocrisy. While yet a child, he came to understand the concept of oppression.  He was not allowed to finish his own education; rather, he went to work in a factory.  He had plenty of characters from his personal experience on which to base the characters of his books.

If you ask me in person, I could tell you about a lot of characters I have met:  Larry, Newman, Christine, and others.  Good grief, but a life of gainful employment does give one characters to work with!!!

So I'm not sure what the conclusion of this post it.  Just an acknowledgement that folks need to be loved, even dogs, and great expectations are usually a setup to great failure, sad to say.

Here's to letting kids be kids!!!  And growing up with the burden of the knowledge of (REAL) fair play and justice.  Not just the ubiquitous "It's not your turn yet" of shallow parents to even more shallow chidren, but real self-sacrifice and social justice from parents who have done some serious self-examination to children for whom the prayer is to be real, grounded people with a real life and a real God.  The real important stuff.  Because how to get ahead and always hold your head up as a "respectable person" is pretty shallow stuff, for sure.  Great expecations -- of the parents/benefactors.  It's a real mess!

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