Saturday, May 12, 2012

Last Line - Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekov

SONIA. What can we do? We must live our lives. [A pause] Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live through the long procession of days before us, and through the long evenings; we shall patiently bear the trials that fate imposes on us; we shall work for others without rest, both now and when we are old; and when our last hour comes we shall meet it humbly, and there, beyond the grave, we shall say that we have suffered and wept, that our life was bitter, and God will have pity on us. Ah, then dear, dear Uncle, we shall see that bright and beautiful life; we shall rejoice and look back upon our sorrow here; a tender smile—and—we shall rest. I have faith, Uncle, fervent, passionate faith. [SONIA kneels down before her uncle and lays her head on his hands. She speaks in a weary voice] We shall rest. [TELEGIN plays softly on the guitar] We shall rest. We shall hear the angels. We shall see heaven shining like a jewel. We shall see all evil and all our pain sink away in the great compassion that shall enfold the world. Our life will be as peaceful and tender and sweet as a caress. I have faith; I have faith. [She wipes away her tears] My poor, poor Uncle Vanya, you are crying! [Weeping] You have never known what happiness was, but wait, Uncle Vanya, wait! We shall rest. [She embraces him] We shall rest. [The WATCHMAN'S rattle is heard in the garden; TELEGIN plays softly; MME. VOITSKAYA writes something on the margin of her pamphlet; MARINA knits her stocking] We shall rest.
Vanya on 42nd Street is one of my favourite films, yet I have never read the original play. The last lines spoken by Sonia move me every time I hear them spoken by actress Brooke Smith. The film, which was the be Louis Malle's last film, is a simple yet extremely powerful movie about the joys and, mostly, despairs in Life.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lines - The Journalist by Harry Mathews

"The possibility had always been real. You never had to remind yourself of it. And it remains real. At such a moment, who are you? Where are you? You cannot dismiss the questions by observing that 'you' have become a mere object manipulated by the indifferent laws of physics. One part of you says that; another part listens. Who and where are they? What and where is your identity? What and where is that weaker being that struggles to survive your identity?"
Harry Mathews, a member of OULIPO, asks the question: how much is enough? Written in the style of Absurdism, the more absurd the situation became for the main character, the more "real" it was to him. There was never a limit as to how much he could create, yet when outside Reality came crashing down, the absurd manner in how it took place dissolved his "world".

First Line - The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick

"Stella, cold, cold, the coldness of Hell." If one survives in one aspect yet fails in another, are they still "free"? A woman physically survives the Holocaust yet is forever "trapped" psychologically and emotionally.

First Line - The Winter Of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

-"When the fair gold morning of April stirred Mary Hawley awake, she turned over to her husband and saw him, little fingers pulling a frog mouth at her." This novel answers a very valid question: What could one do if one knew that they could not fail? Ethan Hawley, thanks to his loving wife, typical children, grateful yet cheap boss and other other factors in his sleepy town life, makes a choice that will change his perspective forever. This is Steinbeck at his finest.