a Christmas thought (and wish)

 

 

“I should be glad to hear … people’s estimate of the comparative danger of a ‘little learning’ and a vast amount of ignorance; I should be glad to know which is considered the most prolific parent of misery and crime. I should be glad to assist them in their calculations by carrying them into certain gaols and nightly refuges I know of, where my own heart dies within me, when I see thousands of immortal creatures condemned … by years of this wicked axiom.”

 

— Charles Dickens, address to the Manchester Athenaeum, October 5, 1843

 

 

*****************************************************

 

The film ends with an idealistic vision of a day: “when … prison bars wrought in the fires of intolerance -” will no longer prevail. Prisoners in striped uniforms in a long corridor shake their fists up toward a prison wall. “Instead of prison walls — Bloom flowery fields.” Brilliant light descends from above toward the exterior of a prison. The prisoners who are gesturing toward the wall suddenly move through it – the prison walls disappear. The exterior of the prison dissolves into an open country scene with a flowering field in the foreground, and mountains in the background.

— plot synopsis of closing scene, Act II of Intolerance (1916), a silent film directed by D. W. Griffith.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   December 23, 2017

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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