This is a family story in which no one is happy. Why? Because all of them are doing what they don’t want to do. An accident or maybe a blessing changes their lives. Everyone can do what they enjoy with the society’s approval.
This book brings a message that does not change with time.
The preface of the novel says that this is not a feminist story as has been hailed, but a story about children. I don’t agree with either of these two opinions.
I believe this is a story about how society ties us up and makes us unhappy. How this unhappiness make us make other people unhappy, and how easy is at the end to be happy and make people happy.
Too much “happy” in this sentence, but it is about this.
The characters in this novel evolve from those that are unpleasant or weak, to those who are nice and strong. The point of view of the reader change with the situation in this story of their personal lives.
Their health, their dreams, even their way to breathe. Everything changes if your life takes a new path. A path that makes you happy. “Life has a different colour”, this is the sentence that gives the best picture of what happens in this story.
Every character in the story has a negative part that could be positive,if we look at it from a positive way:
“She detested people who moved languidly and dragged themselves around”
From the depression for others behaviour …
“Oh, Mr. Willing I love it. I do hope I’ll give satisfaction, for I love every bit of it”
to the happiness about those things that you enjoy when your are just a child.
Lester has long ago given up any hope of having enough time to do other things that seem worthwhile. To read the books, he liked, to meditate, to try to understand anything.
“A man who is a failure in business-office ought not for an instant to forget his failure. The least he can do is to be conscious of his humiliation at all times”.
“Of course it is dreadfully hard for a mother to be separated from her children; but we all have to do the best we can”.
Do your really love your children less because you have other interests and ambitions? Society is always controlling us.
“What a ghastly thing to have sensitive, helpless human beings absolutely in the power of other human beings! Absolute, unquestioned power!”
“How queer not to have somebody tell her what to do and make her do it”.
The children of this family grow up in a brave way.
“Lester Knapp took the greatest comfort in Henry’s being just like anybody else. So much the better for him! For everybody! There would never be tragedy in his life, no thwarted, futile struggling against an organisation of things that did not fit him”.
“Father will miss me when I go to school. Father likes to have me around”.
The incredible discovering of what is the basic love of a father.
“And I am the man who, three months ago, was so eager to get out of life”.
The sensation of feeling comfortable with the standard things of life.
Society and its rules have been created to control excess and “misbehaviours”, but the bad use of every power has turned these rules against us, and hypocrisy and envy have substituted what was created for us as good.
Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879 – 1958) brought the Montessori Method of child-rearing to America, presided over the country’s first adult education program, and influenced American literary tastes as a member of the Book-of-the-Month Club selection committee from 1926 to 1951. A committed educational reformer and social activist, the popular Arlington, VT writer produced 22 works of fiction and 18 non fiction books on a wide range of subjects.