Why We Love Tragedies.

I’ve recently finished binge watching The Gilmore Girls, and yes, I’m a few years behind the times. (X-files was more of my love when I was a teenager.) With the witty banter and romance, I can see why Gilmore Girls is so popular. But when looking at the show, I see it for what it is, a tragedy. By the end of the show (I’m referring to the original, though the new Year in the Life applies as well), Lorelei has ruined her chance at happiness with only the promise of a kiss with Luke. Given her previous history with love, it isn’t much. Rory, while finally graduated from college, also loses in love and only has a promise of a low paying journalist job. The show is definitely missing its Happily Ever After.  I can keep complaining about the girls’ poor choices and week parenting, but I was glued to the show like everyone else.

Then why do we watch? Is it the promise that somehow, they’ll pull their lives together? Maybe in the hopes that Lorelei will one day make a commitment or that Rory will go for the too good to be true rich boy, Logan.  Maybe we watch because real life is more complicated that a simple fairy tale.

I look at another tragedy, one of my favorite novels, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In the end, his life is over, everything and everyone he knew is gone. The only hope is a small group of old scholars that go around, sharing the books they’ve memorized. They have no chance at freeing their ignorant society or over throwing their government. They live in the misery of their knowledge, with barely a hope. I love that small hope.

Like Shakespeare himself, tragedies span the history of storytelling.  Maybe we revel in the pain and suffering of tragedies, because we can relate to them. Life is ugly, messy, and complicated. We make stupid mistakes and have to suffer through them.

In these tragedies, though, the characters also find happiness and humor in small bits of joy and love, and in those small kernels, we may find the reason for this life.

Tragedies remind me to find the pleasure in the path ahead however challenging. Like Lorelei, we can rip open ten different bags of candy and watch an old movie, criticizing their judgments and escaping our own reality for a time.

While we each experience our own tragedies, small or large, I hope we can find joy in the journey and peace in the quiet times, and maybe we even experience a happily ever after now and again.

SPOILER ALERT: If you have finished the Year in the Life on Netflix, I love to hear your thoughts, and maybe your guess on the father.


Old School Dystopia

I love how dystopia has taken off lately. I devoured Hunger Games with everyone else and recently watched the fourth movie in the theaters. Suzanne Collins told of pain, love, and war masterfully, and of Katniss’s antagonist, the government.

I recently went back to some of the old school dystopian stories that I loved. And reading them a second time, helped me appreciate not only the story but the artistry involved in every word. I couldn’t help but mark up Fahrenheit 451 and pause in awe several times. 1984 left me with the haunting images that I’ll never forget. Another one off the beaten path I found was The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper. There were secrets unseen that left my mind reeling for days.

Enjoying the revival of this genre makes me appreciate the classics all the more. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Ray Bradbury.

“Stuff your eyes with wonder… live as if you’d drop dead in 10 seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there were never such an animal.”