Wednesday, June 3, 2009

FIDELITY - Five Stories by Wendell Berry

Fidelity : Loyalty, faithfulness, adherence to
truth observance of the marriage contract.

Five stories on the subject. Wendell Berry
does what Flannery O'Connor said when
asked about the meaning of her stories, she
answered " If I could tell you the meaning,
I wouldn't have written the story." Berry
never uses the title in any of the 5 short
stories, but those synonyms are all over the
characters and the themes. I finished the
book this morning.

"Josie Tom was a plumb, pretty, happy
woman, childless but the mother of any
child in reach. Mary Penn loved her the
best, perhaps, she loved them all. They
were only in their late thirties or early
forties,but to Mary they seemed to belong
to the ageless, eternal generation of mothers,
unimaginably older and more
experienced than herself. She called them
Miss Josie, Miss Daisy, and Miss Thelma.
They warmed and sheltered her. Sometimes
she could have tossed herself at them like
a girl to be hugged. "

"She and Elton has married a year and
a half earlier, when she was seventeen
and he eighteen. She had never seen anyone
like him. He had a wild way of rejoicing,
like a healthy child, singing songs, joking,
driving his old car as if he were
drunk and the road not wide enough.
He could make her weak with laughing at
him. And yet, he was already a man as few
men were. He had been making his own
living since he was fourteen,
when he quit school............He wanted,
he said, to say thank you to nobody. Or,
to nobody but her. He would be glad, he
said with a large grin, to say thank you
to her. It was wonderful what he could
accomplish with those enormous hands
of his. She could have put her hand into
his and walked off the edge of the world.
Which, in a way, is what she did."

From A Jonquil for Mary Penn, one of the stories.

1 comment:

beth said...

I love this collection and A Jonquil for Mary Penn is my favorite.

Hope all's well with you and that you are enjoying rest and peace after all the excitement of the wedding. Looks like it was very, very special!