This difficult year and the events of this week in the United States at this time of year drew me again to this film. This saccharine film with some stereotypes of the period (esp with respect to women’s roles and African American’s positions in society) still presents a vision of the triumph of the “better angels of our nature” (pun intended) whether one invokes the supernatural or spiritual aspects or not. It is, perhaps, one of the “big lies”.
I have struggled all my life with the concept of “friend” but never so intensely than this year. So, Clarence Odbody’s message in front leaf of “Tom Sawyer” viewed from a position of failure, my experience sadly supports the contrapositive.
This, however, does not prevent me from seeing the hope in my children’s generation despite the “movement” that events like the outcome of the US election seems to represent. My children (my eldest daughter in particular on this occasion) gave me this hope directly. It is easy to focus on villains and escalate divisive rhetoric. “Haves” and “have-nots”, “educated” Perhaps, some small legitimacy to many or all of these factors from various narrow and often self-serving viewpoints (I claim no immunity from such framing and frank biases). However, at such a complex and confusing time rather than escalating division contemplating George Bailey and Clarence Odbody has lessons (at least for me).
The “message”: never give up provides me a kernel for my own little “world”.