Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little Dorrit

Dickens is excellent reading for convalescence. There are wonderful character sketches, you never have to wonder too deeply about what's going to happen, and you rarely run out of chapters before you've recuperated. 

Last week I read Little Dorrit. I enjoyed it, but the heroine would not go over well in a modern novel. She's quiet, helpful, naturally generous. Her strength lies in doing what needs to be done in a gentle and self-sacrificing manner. She's not flashy. She's not sexy. She's got spine, but it comes from groundedness, not assertiveness. She's not out to prove anything, because she is who she is, and that's enough.

In this day and age, the timidity and saccharine overtones of Little Dorrit make her appear quaint. If you or I had a daughter like her, we'd appreciate her sweetness, but we'd worry that the world wouldn't see what we see. We'd urge her to stand up for herself more, to speak up, to aim a bit higher. 

But maybe we should look at things the other way 'round, and think about what it is that helps kids to find their grounding, so they can be who they've been created to be.

1 comment:

  1. My convalescent reading: Dorothy Sayers, Elizabeth Peters, Laurie R. King.