Friday, January 06, 2006

Dying for a Sentiment

Stransom died this morning, as I read the final paragraph of The Altar Of The Dead. For a feeling. Was it love? Is it possible to limit emotions- love, jealousy, release- in words? Can the sanctity of the notion be ever captured? Henry James comes very close in this story. He consecrates a life devoted to caring for one’s Dead. And the strings that attach strangers and bind us to our pasts and possible futures. People visit our lives, leave their imprint, but they don’t always vanish. Some of them live within us, continue to watch our every step until we discover the ultimate solace. Stransom does, in a sad but ennobling way. He gives away the notion of a life as he experiences the insignificance of his forgiveness in the face of the magnanimity of a stranger. A stranger who alters his life and is forced, against her wishes, to keep his final request: “yes one more, just one!”

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