June 15, 2016
"Couldn't a world be built around accepted truth? Couldn't some pains and insanities be rooted out if the causes were known?"
By John Steinbeck
My heart is heavy and this feels apt somehow.
"I think I can," Lee answered Samuel. "I think this is the best-known story in the world because it is everybody's story. I think it is the symbol story of the human soul. I'm feeling my way now--don't jump on me if I'm not clear. The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt--and there is the story of mankind. I think that if rejection could be amputated, the human would not be what he is. Maybe there would be fewer crazy people. I am sure in myself there would not be many jails. It is all there--the start, the beginning. One child, refused the love he craves, kicks the cat and hides his secret guilt; and another steals so that money will make him loved; and a third conquers the world--and always the guilt and revenge and more guilt. The human is the only guilty animal. Now wait! Therefore I think this old and terrible story is important because it is a chart of the soul--the secret, rejected, guilty soul. Mr Trask, you said you did not kill your brother and then you remembered something. I don't want to know what it was, but was it very apart from Cain and Abel? And what do you think of my Oriental patter, Mr. Hamilton? You know I am no more Oriental than you are."
Samuel had leaned his elbows on the table and his hands covered his eyes and his forehead. "I want to think," he said. "Damn you, I want to think. I'll want to take this off alone where I can pick it apart and see. Maybe you've tumbled a world for me. And I don't know what I can build in my world's place."
Lee said softly, "Couldn't a world be built around accepted truth? Couldn't some pains and insanities be rooted out if the causes were known?"
"I don't know, damn you. You've disturbed my pretty universe. You've taken a contentious game and made an answer of it. Let me alone--let me think! Your damned bitch is having pups in my brain already. Oh, I wonder what my Tom will think of this! He'll cradle it in the palm of his mind. He'll turn it slow in his brain like a roast of pork before the fire. Adam, come out now. You've been long enough in whatever memory it was."
Adam started. He sighed deeply. "Isn't it too simple?" he asked. "I'm always afraid of simple things."
"It isn't simple at all," said Lee. "It's desperately complicated. But at the end there's light."