Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lord Chandos/Ulrich

Lord Chandos can no longer write. It isn't as though he can't write anything at all; indeed, he manages to write quite a lengthy letter to explain his problem. He is unable to say the words "body", "spirit", or "soul". He can't criticize his daughter for telling a lie. He spends what seems like ages contemplating the grooves of his fingertips. He is having a crisis because he worries about the words he is using, or trying to use. Does he know what they mean? Does he understand what he's saying? Why is it that he feels unease using these words that he was previously accustomed to using? I feel as though his reticence is a signal that perhaps he is beginning to more fully understand the weight of his own words. To discuss "spirit", "body", and "soul" is to explore the meaning of it all, who we are, what we are. Perhaps Lord Chandos no longer feels comfortable doing so because he can't describe his thoughts with absolute conviction. I think he and Ulrich would understand eachother. Ulrich both acknowledges himself as a man without qualities in terms of his society and the values with which he was raised, and yet exhibits many other qualities at the same time. He is unsure of himself when it comes to the parameters of society, because he knows that he hasn't attained the goals considered important by others. He might also feel reluctant to commit to an explanation of the world around him because he realizes how little he understands.

No comments: