Friday, November 1, 2013

A Different Society

October has closed and so has our perusal of “The Old Curiosity Shop”. I will not spoil anything for those who are behind or who have not yet taken it upon themselves to read that great work; just know that reading it was an incredible journey. 

While writing this book Dickens said, “I am breaking my heart over this story… I can’t bear to finish it.” Now that I have finished reading this masterpiece I feel I can empathize with his pain. I am breaking my heart over the portrayal of these characters. I could not imagine creating them, writing their suffering, penning their character, thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears, into the reality that exists on the page.  

Dickens depiction of the goodness of mankind is beautiful, sobering, and encouraging all at once. It makes one feel something akin to despair to look at how far humanity has fallen since then. Where is the decency, honesty, and goodness that is so profoundly displayed in the youth of this work? 

But the feeling of hopelessness that is brought about by the comparisons of the two societies cannot stay long. Dickens points to the hope before the closing of the story in a quote that was so poignant and beautiful that, in the midst of my tears, I had to take a moment to jot it down. 

“In the destroyer’s steps there spring up bright creations that defy his power, and his dark path become a way of light to Heaven.” This is a wonderful way to demonstrate that which the devil tries to destroy, the Lord can turn around for good.

Happy endings abound in this story, but not without a faint underlying feeling of tragedy. It was the perfect combination which strikes a nerve at the reader’s heart, leaving one with the desire to go and be that light to Heaven in this dark world.

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