February 6, 2023

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Marilyn Robinson: "Jack" - Impossible Love

Marilyn Robinson: “Jack” – Impossible Love

This novel begins with a strong rejection. What happened on the evening of their first meeting will not be resolved until later. Why was she so humiliated by him that she never wanted to see him again.

Then they meet again – in a strange setting: at night in a cemetery. They are there for various motives, failing to leave the building before the gates are closed by the warden. He worries about her, she teases him, they talk and talk – about their fathers and the Ten Commandments, about hope and spirits, dreams and the end of the world.

Odd couple

Darkness makes them brave. It is where it “shouldn’t be”. Suddenly he didn’t feel like a bad person anymore. She is so sure of her faith, he doubts it. She is polite and well dressed, and he drinks heavily and wears tattered clothes. What will be the fate of this couple – Della and Jack? After all, they share a love of literature. Both read a lot, sending each other poems by Robert Frost, and recommending “Paterson” to William Carlos Williams.

A love story set in 1950s America, in a country with a “brutal regime”: between Haludrey, a thief, a white man in prison who has disappointed his parents, who lies and deceives – and an ambitious, intelligent and intelligent black teacher, life seems predetermined.

One of these novels was also intended for Jacques’ now namesake: “Zuhause” (The House). It tells of the life and struggles of a dying father for his lost son. And at the end, the black daughter-in-law and their children appear in a touching scene.

Kill all enemies

“Jack” tells the story of how this love, doomed in reality, comes into existence, and how, against all odds and impossibilities, it cannot be ended, it cannot be shaken off. The two should not be with each other, hostile and alienating. By narrow-minded whites, but also by her black family, who insist on racial segregation because it is the only way to change the status of black Americans.

He wants to separate from love so as not to spoil her life. But he cannot abandon her any more than she can abandon him. Nothing—neither the brutality of the white man, nor the opposition of the black man, nor the prospect of a hard life nor the justified fear that their children will belong nowhere later—makes these two lovers suspect.

Again, Marilyn Robinson disagrees in 1 Corinthians 13: “If I did not love, it would do me no good.” It answers the question that the title hero kept asking himself: “How did people experience life?”