Monday, July 23, 2012

A Noble Heart

I believe every book that I have read has had a character with an exceedingly noble heart. This character often times is not even the main character. The stark contrast between the antagonist and the honest heart of that particular character is what gives a book texture. This may be an odd analogy but the Nobel character is like oil and the villain is like balsamic vinegar. Put the two together and shake them up they become mixed up but eventually the vinegar will sink to the bottom and the oil will rise to the top. The nobility of such characters is incredibly inspiring and I always seem to fall in love with them. I look up to them and I have hope that I can one day be like them.

*Spoiler Alert

Take Samwise Gamgee for example. I don’t think there has ever been a more noble, honest, optimistic and real character ever created in modern literature. I would, if I were a little hobbit lady, marry him on the spot given the chance. Sam, though he faces adversity and evils and tribulations much larger than himself (quite literally) manages to see the good in life. The simple memory of the taste of strawberries, Rosie’s ribbons, and blooming flowers bring him joy. When he and Frodo are being chased by Ring Wraths he sees the glow of elves and is, once again uplifted. He and Frodo witness a host of Sauron’s allies making their way to Mordor and as the initial horror of it passes Sam, ever optimistic, notices that they have Oliphant’s and is overcome with excitement. Covered in war paint and trained to kill thousands of soldiers these enormous beasts pass by and Sam sees through all of that and is glad of the chance he has to watch these creatures, that he has only ever dreamed existed, living and breathing. It is this way with many things in life. Events occur that appear for all the world to be entirely evil and terrible but if we see through Sam’s eyes and look past the war paint and endeavor to see the amazing Oliphant that is crossing our path our lives may be spent more happily.

Another example is Morrel in The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. The ship owner, from the beginning, is steadfast and courageous and honorable. Through no fault of his own Morrel is almost in ruins and even then he endeavors to save his family from the dishonor he fears may befall them if he is unable to pay his bills on time. This man, who has spent his life in the best way possible cannot fathom living as a man who is unreliable. He almost kills himself to save his family. Edmond Dantes saves him (disguised of course) on the verge of bankruptcy.  This man was rewarded for his integrity and loving heart. It does not always happen this way in the world but when it does it is an extraordinary site to see.

Jane Bennet, The oldest sister in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is another example of  an amazing character. She embodies all the good of this world and chooses to overlook the evils in people and tries her best to love those who have wronged her. She is so very honorable and virtuous. The first time i read the book I wanted to be like Elizabeth, witty, scintillating and confident but the second time through I began to admire Jane above all of the characters in that book. She is smart and intelligent and funny and most of all humble. Her good deeds go unnoticed and her diligence in maintaining loving relationships with others, even though it may turn out the worse for her, is admirable. Her kindness and charity is insurmountably inspiring. I wish to be like her. With all of that unworldly strength she is real. She is gentle, friendly and happy. She is a sister and a daughter and friend. She is vulnerable and hopeful. People take advantage of her kindness but she never loses faith in the goodness of humanity and life. She may be innocent but she is not naive. She lives her life unhampered by Pride or Prejudice. 

All of these characters are real. Real in the sense that they are imperfect like all mankind. They make mistakes but the difference is they take responsibility for them. They step up and weather the consequences of their actions. These characters were often disregarded and their good deeds overlooked but for those who were benefactors of their kindness and virtue they were loved and respected.  They choose to be this way. They exercise the fullness of their agency to better the lives of all those they love and because of that their spirits are indefatigable. I cannot express how these characters have changed my life and how I desire with all my heart to be like them. Their integrity is eternally inspiring.

So “Be happy, noble heart. Be blessed for all the good you have done and will yet do. Let my gratitude remain hidden in the shadows like your good deeds.” - Dantes "Count of Monte Cristo"

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