Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Freedom in Thinking

Over Thanksgiving break I watched Dead Poets Society for the first time since about 9th grade. It was great! I forgot most of the plot line of the movie so it was almost as if I were watching it for the first time ever. My favorite character was Knox Overstreet, who uses his new found poetic abilities to woo a public schoolgirl. However, I cannot quit thinking about the story of Neil Perry. The young man that commits suicide after feeling his life and thinking do not deserved to be controlled by his parents. I kept thinking about the major theme of the movie and what that means in my future as I begin teaching. In my mind there is a conflict of tradition thinking and the new ways of thinking associated with the modern world. I have concluded there is a time and place for both. Nevertheless, Neil Perry's thinking was just (although his actions were tragic and wrong). Thinking should always be free. Throughout history people have been physically enslaved, but what keeps people alive is freedom of mind. We all should allow others that same freedom, especially the ones we love. I read a poem today that reminded me of this:


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
when the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that were picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than nay other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away

Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.

- Seamus Heaney

All I have left to say is: carpe diem.

1 comment:

  1. 1) You're right. (Indeed, you're always right)...
    2) Agreed. Both tradition and questioning conventional thought have their place.
    3) Your favorite character would be Knox Overstreet.