Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Went Down

I, like many others, have been watching Little Dorrit on PBS, a series that originally aired in England last fall. I first saw Little Dorrit, a tale written by Charles Dickens, when I was dating my husband, some twenty years ago. The movie, in black and white (I think), was in two parts and we went to the Berkeley theater for two successive Saturdays to catch the whole thing.

Like any Dickens tale, character is king. And multiple characters, for Dickens, are needed to populate his fictional kingdoms. I was very interested in Little Dorrit for her quiet ways, a life I felt like I lived as wife, mother and silent partner. And now, ready to marry again for a second time, I was putting away any visions of earthly fame and grandeur (really quite unrealistic, truthfully, given my four children) and again took on another man's name.

What struck me about the movie, other than it's sheer length, were the final narrated comments, seemingly so parallel to the life I was choosing:
"Little Dorrit and her husband walked out of the church alone. They paused for a moment on the steps of the portico, looking at the fresh perspective of the street in the autumn morning sun's bright rays, and then went down.
Went down into a modest life of usefulness and happiness. Went down to give a mother's care. . . Went down to [be] a tender nurse and friend. . . . They went quietly down into the roaring streets, inseparable and blessed; and as they passed along in sunshine and in shade, the noisy and the eager, and the arrogant, and the froward and the vain, fretted and chafed, and made their usual uproar."

I was reminded of this from another post on Junkfood Science (another fav) about a woman named Susan Boyles from Britain. In her interview, she says she lives with her parents, never been kissed, and you can tell she has had a life much like Little Dorrit's in many ways--living quietly. If you haven't caught the video of her yet, you must, but first--read what was said about her in The Herald:
"Susan is a reminder that it's time we all looked a little deeper. She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a companionable and caring daughter. It's people like her who are the unseen glue in society; the ones who day in and day out put themselves last. They make this country civilised and they deserve acknowledgement and respect. Susan has been forgiven her looks and been given respect because of her talent. She should always have received it because of the calibre of her character."-- The Herald, April 14, 2009.

1 comment:

Kristen A said...

I love the comments from the book. Thank you for sharing them!