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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Mark Twain

In reading The Prince and the Pauper, two things have been standing out in my mind. The first is the same impression I have been getting from a lot of the reading I have been doing lately. Wow. I am so in awe of writers who can use words so effectively and beautifully. Reading Twain, I am just struck with how he strings words together to draw a picture in my head. It is such an incredible talent, and something I don't know if you can learn or train yourself to do. I love reading, because the images a person puts together from these words can become so personal, and a story can be so meaningful to so many different people. It is much more powerful than a movie, because a movie's pictures are so limited - they limit the colors, the sounds, the perspective. A good writer can move beyond that and be meaningful to such a vast array of different people. I love that. I wish I could do that. What specifically strikes me about The Prince and the Pauper is that Twain makes such an interesting comment about the way things run. When we are submerged in a world, it is extremely difficult to take a step back, look at things objectively and make changes in failing systems. Both characters, when submerged in the other's world, instantly see its failings and make changes based on their completely opposite view. It would have been impossible for each of them to do the same for their own lives. But because they come a view that is so distant from how they are raised, they can look at situations from a distinctly separate view, and make changes that correct so many wrongs that have been perpetuated by those who have always lived in a certain system. The other thing in the book that Twain makes a point about is how our reality can change so quickly. The prince, who is thrown from the palace with lines of servants to do his every bidding, quickly learns to find comfort in such small things. A dry blanket, something warm. Things that a few days before would have been abhorrent to him now become his comfort and he learns to appreciate the small things in life that before he hardly even knew existed. I sometimes wish I could be given such a wake-up.

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