September 6, 2007

The Tin Flute

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:59 am by changisme

Coming back to Vancouver, I have just finished readin the Tin Flute by Gabriel Roy. I don’t want to discuss how it is a very well written piece of literature, but rather a central theme it spins around.

The story is set after the depression and during WWII. Most of the characters struggle in finance. People can’t help but worry about money day and night, at the same time men ponder on the issue of enlisting or not.

Wealth or spirit, they struggled on this "eternal human enigma". I think no one, except for Rose-Anna-mother of 12 children and the one who is most intimate with the dimes and pennies, understand what money means. Her husband Lazarious is a naive and free spirit who would rather careless about money, while Florentine, Eugene search for their spirit and self definition in the wealth. Is it really wealth is not important? It is really that money shouldn’t be seen as what generate the spirit and self esteem, but it is what runs the show in so many other aspects of our lives.

The quality of Rose-Anna’s children’s physical and mental wellbeing: Daniel’s biggest tragedy, leukemia or the sadness in his longing to go to school as he fiddle with the letter cards in his hospital bed. Florentine a happy and romantic spirit ultimately hardened by the importance of money, which becomes the only outlet of his vanity.

it is really not a question of how important wealth is, but rather where wealth stand in our lives. Our lives are not one-dimentional ranking of importance I think. it’s more a scattered potholes awaiting to be seeded. Wealth is the one that shouldn’t go into self-esteem. Though it remains to be important.

Having said that it is also not easy, because self-esteem is a very demanding pothole awaiting to be filled and yet we find it difficult to do so. Emmanuel apparently does it with enlisting for the "good war". Many argue that WWII is terribly handled and the motives of the big powers are entirely betrayed by their actions, but could it have been visible to the commoner like Emmanuel? Would he have wanted to know the war is much more complicated prior of making his decision? He doesn’t seem like he regretted his decision even after Florentine became his girlfriend and later married him. It’s what makes him him. The war itself becomes less important, compare to his grasp for his own identity. Is that any better than using money filling the hole? I’m not quite sure. It seems equally damaging.

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