November 24, 2008

Oh Henry! Oh. what a downer.

Talk about depressing -- I was reading the O. Henry Prize Stories (1997), and came across this:
"You could go out of doors. The blueness of the sky, the brightness of the sun, the freshness of a tree would greet you, but in the end you would only have to go back somewhere to sleep. And that would not be beautiful; it would be where you lived. So beauty seemed a dangerous, foreign, and irrelevant idea. She turned for solace, not to it, but to the nature of enclosure. Everything in her life strained toward the ideal of separations: how to keep the horror of her parents' life from everything that could be called her life."
--Mary Gordon, City Life
Imagine replacing all beauty with enclosures and separations. The world would be a prison.