Sunday, September 12, 2010

Redefining hero

Iris James, the postmistress, is listening to "that gal" on the radio, as Frankie Bard redefines what a hero is.  This long quote (from pages 119-120) was the most memorable quote (for me) in the entire book:
Iris had come to a stop in front of the radio perched on the shelf in the sorting room of the post office above the hot plate and her teakettle.

"Waiting and watching.  Weeping into your sleeves -- these are not the traits of heroes, neither Ulysses, nor Aeneas, and not Joshua.  Think, rather, of Penelope.  Think of all the women down through the years who have watched and waited -- but who, like the boys with their horse, wept and picked themselves up and went on -- and you will have a small sense, then, of the heroes here.  The occupied, the bombed, and the very, very brave.  This is Frankie Bard in London.  Good night."

Iris reached for the knob and slowly turned it to the right.  She didn't, as a rule, like the sound of that gal's voice, didn't like the undercurrent that seemed always to run through it that she held the truth in her hand and everyone better damn well take a look.  Nonetheless -- Iris stood back rom the radio and crossed her arms -- she was fairly sure that the radio gal had just redefined the nature of a hero.  She considered the black box.  Yes, she was certain that that was what Miss Frankie Bard had done.

1 comment:

alisonwonderland said...

Although I ended up not really liking this book, I think you've selected one of the beautifully written and thought-provoking passages that gave the book promise for me. I just wish the whole thing had come together better.