Wednesday, June 6, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge! Day 6: Sadness

Before I get started, I have to share this quote with you that I read in George MacDonald's Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood last night:

"My own conviction is, that the poetry is far the deepest in us, and that the prose is only broken-down poetry; and likewise that to this our lives correspond. The poetic region is the true one, and just, therefore, the incredible one to the lower order of mind; for although every mind is capable of the truth, or rather capable of becoming capable of the truth, there may lie ages between its capacity and the truth. As you will hear some people read poetry so that no mortal could tell it was poetry, so do some people read their own lives and those of others."

Isn't that a beautifully-expressed thought? It is more or less the same idea as these quotes from Shadow of the Bear, or The Last Battle: the realization that what we can see, what we can touch, what we experience in the physical world, is not all there is in life, and indeed, is - by far - not the most important or most beautiful part. Some people forget, or don't ever come to know, this - and no one can ever know it completely until he moves from this life to the place where Truth dwells - but those of us who see a glimmer of the truth today are filled with the joy of anticipation. We are filled with the sense of longing for something more real and more beautiful that is, as C.S. Lewis says, "more desirable than any other satisfaction." Do you ever get that sort of ache-y feeling?


Day 6: What is a book that makes you sad?

At first, I just thought of books that I cried while reading (The Christmas Shoes and - though I don't really know why, now - Saddlebag Parson), but those didn't really seem to fit the bill, somehow. And then I remembered the first time I actually read...
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but the cover and pictures of this particular edition are part of what made it such a lovely read and story (I just learned that it took 4 years to complete the over-50 oil paintings it contains). And yes, though it makes me sad, it is lovely...and very little like the Disney movie everyone thinks of. Exciting, comfortable, and sweet, yet heart-wrenching at the end:
"Then the window blew open as of old, and Peter dropped in on the floor.
He was exactly the same as ever, and Wendy saw at once that he still had all his first teeth.
He was a little boy, and she was grown up."

How tragic that was! For Wendy to grow up and yet have her friend still be in the younger age. The beautiful age of children. Because children can see the poetry in life far better than the rest of us. They can remember that princes and princesses and dragons are real, and merely known by different names. They can remember that we are princes and princesses. They can remember to see life as an adventure. They are continually amazed and awed when the sun comes up each morning, bathing the sky in color. They can marvel at a bug's secret winding passages through blades of grass. They have eyes. They remember.

Peter Pan is a book that makes me sad, because it is, in the end, the story of one who grew up and forgot, even after so many special adventures. Wendy cried that she had forgotten; she was sorry for it - but despite her grief, she had. As I grow up, I hope I will never forget, will never stop seeing the poetry, will never turn my life and others' into mere prose. Perhaps this is why the book touches me so poignantly.

Do you have a book that makes you sad?


Mikaela said...

Mmm...we started to read Peter Pan together as a family, but never finished. I can see we'll have to pick it up again! (I love books that make me sad, because they also make me think!)

The Yearling and My Antonia are both achingly sad in the same way you described--retrospective and mourning changes (both good and bad) that mean nothing can be the way it was.

Alone Yet Not Alone and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and The Hiding Place are the few books that made me sob--perhaps because they're real stories of tragic events.

Jessica said...

I think the Velveteen Rabbit is a very sad book. The toy bunny is hated by the other toys,laughed at by real rabbits and ultimately taken away from his best friend to be burned.