Friday, October 20, 2006

March . . .

Who would have thought a short novel written as a Civil War diary could be so timely? I'm about halfway through this little gem by Geraldine Brooks which details the cognitive dissonance of "Mr. March" - the father of the "Little Women" in Louisa May Alcott's novel by the same name. An Abolitionist and pacifist, March finds himself at war, both with the South and with himself. One can't help but recall Peter indignantly stating that he could never betray Christ, and finding himself in just such a position only hours later. March is written much like a journal that includes portions of sanitized letters to his wife and girls. I just reached a chapter that begins by debating the difference between courage and cowardice, and his struggle with these two words is illuminated in the following paragraph. I know a President of a large country who needs read this . . . (or have it read to him . . . I'm not sure he reads):

"Who is the brave man-he who feels no fear? If so, then bravery is but a polite term for a mind devoid of rationality and imagination. The brave man, the real hero, quakes with terror, sweats, feels his very bowels betray him, and in spite of this moves forward to do the act he dreads. And yet I do not think it heroic to march into fields of fire, whipped on one's way only by fear of being called craven. Sometimes, true courage requires inaction; that one sit at home while war rages, if by doing so one satisfies the quiet voice of honorable conscience." [March - Geraldine Brooks - Penguin Books - 2005, p. 168]

Forget it (reading it to "W") - the words are way too big for him to understand, and the ideas are even bigger . . . But YOU should read it.

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