The Tale of Despereaux; Hope & Humility

This book is amazing.

And sad.

I finished it very quickly, reading it in only two or three sittings. It's a very easy read, and relatively short. I haven't watched the movie yet, but I'm working on it.

Today, I want to talk about two things that the book mentions. I will be quoting bits of the book, so if you haven't read it, and you'd rather not read snatches, then go no further. But I promise you that I won't be giving anything away by what I share.

First, Hope.

"Reader, do you think that it is a terrible thing to hope when there is really no reason to hope at all? Or is it... something that you might just as well do since, in the end, it really makes no difference to anyone but you?"

This struck me. To me, in my life, hoping is always, always, the better option. We all have a choice, and choosing to hope brings more hope. When I read this question to my husband, he said, "Hope is a black and white matter. Either you have hope, or have a lack of hope, which is despair. Each begets more of itself." And he's absolutely right! The quote says that hoping really makes no difference to anyone but "you", but I disagree. I believe that as we hope, believe, and have faith in our dreams or desires, those powerful emotions rub off on those with whom we interact. At the same time, if someone is lacking hope, or filled with despair, that emotion can effect individuals around that person as well. I believe, and it has been scientifically proven, (though I couldn't tell you the reference) that happy, positive thoughts are hundreds of times more powerful than negative thoughts.

This is good news!

It makes me think of the dementors in Harry Potter. They are such foul, evil creatures, feeding on negativity and despair, drawing the happiness out of any place or person with which they come in contact. But, a SINGLE HAPPY THOUGHT can produce a patronus to repell even a hundred dementors! It was brilliant of Jo Rowling to have written something so utterly true. (Sorry, to those who may not have read HP before, I've read them dozens of times, so the thoughts come naturally to me :-/  )


Second: Humility

"Reader, have you ever seen a king cry? When the powerful are made weak, when they are revealed to be human, to have hearts, their diminishment is nothing short of terrifying."

My initial thought on this, was a quote from a leader in my church, President Thomas S. Monson, who said, "...a man never stands taller than when he is upon  his knees." I was thinking of that quote until I reached the word, "terrifying". Because a man in humble prayer to his God is not a terrifying thing. So it got me thinking, why terrifying? These are two different types, or levels, of humility here. One, is self-initiated humility, (being the one Pres. Monson is talking about, humbling oneself before God) and the other, is caused by events out of an individual's control, as in the case with this king. My husband (the great thinker, remember?) explained it to me this way: the thing that is terrible in this case, is not the fact that a man is brought low, but that this is a king, who is subject to great pride, power, and control, being put in a position over which he not only has no control, but which has completely broken him. That is the terrifying part. That someone so great could be brought so low.

This also makes me think of Jesus Christ. He was a great man. The Son of God on earth, and He was brought lower than any other human being ever has, or ever will... food for thought, ay?

I know that for me, the first time I saw my father cry was a bit frightening. This was my dad! He's tough, he doesn't cry... but he had felt so strongly about something at the time, that he was brought to tears. It changed my view of him, knowing that his heart was soft.


These are the things that stood out to me in this book, the things that got me thinking.
What do YOU think? Do you agree that the choice to hope is better than choosing not to? Do you know anyone who you would be afraid to see brought to tears?

If you have a minute, share this post on facebook or twitter, and let's see if we can get more people in on the conversation here. Also, I'd love to hear what your initial thoughts were as you read those quotes.

Darci - The Page Traveler

P.S. I'm going to have to skip The Screwtape Letters for now, I'll be starting on a new book as soon as it gets here... I'll explain later. The book is called Too Rich for a Bride, by Mona Hodgson, if you're interested in following along.

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