Once upon a time, there lived a reader. Her name was Matilda. No, Matilda wasn’t just a common reader. She began reading at the age of three, and at t...moreOnce upon a time, there lived a reader. Her name was Matilda. No, Matilda wasn’t just a common reader. She began reading at the age of three, and at the age of four she devoured all newspapers and magazines she could find laying around her house, along with one cooking book that happened to be the only book in the household. Poor Matilda, being a child so bright in a dreadfully unsupportive family, she had to find her own way to the library, the place where she could find all the books she wanted to read. Voila, after devouring every children’s books in the library’s collection, this magical child managed to read these books before she even turned five years old:
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Tess of D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy Gone to Earth by Mary Webb Kim by Rudyard Kipling The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck The Good Companions by J.B. Priestley Brighton Rock by Graham Greene Animal Farm by George Orwell
Hard to believe, I know. But the story does not end there. We can say that it was Mr. and Mrs Wormwood’s fault that Matilda entered school quite late. They were Matilda’s parents, and they didn’t give a damn about their daughter’s education. So at age five and a half Matilda went to school for the first time. Crunchem Hall, the name of the school, was the place where you can find the biggest, most ridiculous contrast ever between two people. The headmistress of Crunchem Hall was called Miss Trunchbull, and there is only one word that could define her best: a nightmare. She was a gigantic monster, a terror, a menace. She enjoyed punishing children in such a horrifying and unexplainable way that the parents would not believe if their children told them about the headmistress. Meanwhile, the exact opposite of Miss Trunchbull took the form of a Miss Honey, Matilda’s teacher. She was a slim-figured young woman who was mild and quiet. Later on, Miss Honey would recognize the extraordinary talent that Matilda possessed. As their friendship grows, Matilda would learn that Miss Trunchbull was the one who is responsible for Miss Honey’s miserable life. Using her newly found “superpower”, Matilda arranged a plan to take revenge on Miss Trunchbull for what she has done to Miss Honey.
My Thoughts—Spoiler Alert!
For children, this book could be enjoyable since logic won’t spoil the fun. They won’t think about how on earth stupid people like Mr. and Mrs Wormwood could have a daughter as bright as Matilda. And maybe they won’t wonder why the antagonist has a horrible name like Trunchbull and the protagonist has a name so sweet and innocent like Honey. For most people, this book might be an innocent reading, a quick stroll into childhood. I like it that Matilda found comfort in books, when she was feeling depressed living with family who are so different from herself. But in the book I also found some things that I object, especially in the matter of family relationships. Maybe because, thankfully, I grew up in an encouraging and loving family, I never felt what Matilda felt. I just couldn’t get the idea of punishing your parents, no matter how irritating they are. And the ending as well, I just couldn’t get it. I mean okay, Matilda’s finally got her happily-ever-after, but why must the author broke the relationship between her and her family? Couldn’t he make them (Matilda’s family) change instead? Well, maybe I have taken the book a little bit too seriously, but this is what I think of it. On the other hand, this book could be a gentle reminder to ignorant parents. They should be able to see that a child is a human being who deserves their attention, and sometimes children are capable of things beyond older people’s comprehension.
In the end, MAYBE this is the message of Matilda:
Family is people whom you should always go home to if they are good people. If they are bad people, then you can go home to other people who are nicer to you, form a bond with them, not by blood, but by heart.
P.S.: MAYBE means even though I wrote these words, it doesn’t mean that I agree with it.
Gitanjali (Song Offerings) is a collection of poems Rabindranath Tagore wrote to express devotion to God. The word gitanjali is composed from “git”, w...moreGitanjali (Song Offerings) is a collection of poems Rabindranath Tagore wrote to express devotion to God. The word gitanjali is composed from “git”, which means song, and “anjali” which means offering, and thus mean “an offering of songs”. I decided to read a work by Tagore to take part in Blogger Buku Indonesia (BBI)’s project for October which is to review any work by Nobel laureates, because of these reasons:
1. I have been a fan of Western poets such as Sir Walter Ralegh and Robert Frost, but I have never tried reading poems with flavors of the East. From that, I would like to pick a well-known poet from the East. 2. Tagore was the first non-European to be awarded Nobel Prize in Literature. 3. Gitanjali was originally written in Bengali and then translated into English by the author himself.
I believe you have read reason number #2 and #3. In today’s words, I would say that those two reasons are “DOUBLE AWESOMENESS!” And so I read all 103 songs of Gitanjali. From the very first song I felt like I was thrown up in the sky to behold the majesties of God, but in such a familiar way. Reading it felt heavenly, but still natural, as if seeing face to face with your own father.
The first song opens like this:
Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life. This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new. At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable. Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.
In Gitanjali, the author distinguish The Creator and His creation; he presented the human character as a lowly being, dressed in rags, full of debts and failures, waiting for the Lord to pass by her house. He also praised highly the beauty of nature in his songs. However, I am puzzled that in some songs Tagore addresses God as my friend, my master, my king, and my Father. This resembles how Christians address God (especially “my Father”). I even found a similarity between some lines from Gitanjali and some lines from the Scripture. Here it is:
“In the night of weariness let me give myself up to sleep without struggle, resting my trust upon thee.” (Gitanjali: 25). Is this not similar with Psalms 4:8: “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” ?
Don’t ask for my favorite part of Gitanjali, because there are so many. However, the songs that I love the most are Gitanjali 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 95, and 101. You can read Gitanjali 35 in this post.
On the whole, the feeling I had when reading Gitanjali was close to the feeling when reading Psalms. It is divine and comforting. It made my heart burst with freshened love to the Lord.
This is my prayer to thee, my lord—strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart. Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows. Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service. Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might. Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles. And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.
The play brought a great lesson and a great mystery to me. A great read to start 2013, though. Read my complete review (in English) here: http://surga...moreThe play brought a great lesson and a great mystery to me. A great read to start 2013, though. Read my complete review (in English) here: http://surgabukuku.wordpress.com/2013...