Day Six: The Worthing Saga

June 20, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Posted in The Worthing Saga | Leave a comment

The Worthing Saga
by Orson Scott Card
Day Six
Chapters 9-12

The last chapter ended with Lared bringing his father back home safely. His father is still recovering–obviously–and this is something that will take time to heal both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Lared needs to heal as well. And though I don’t know how aware Lared is of this, I think that is why Lared throws himself heart and soul into the writing. It is both an escape from his reality and a healing from it in a way.

Hoom.

The legend of Hoom continues on in this chapter as Jason and Lared have some meaning-of-life type conversations.

“Lared, for thousands of years my children watched all the worlds of men, protected you all from pain and suffering. In all that time, Lared, in all those years there never was a Hoom! Do you understand me? A Hoom or Wix or Dilna is impossible in a universe where actions have no consequences! Why do you love Hoom, if not because of what he did in the face of suffering? Without the suffering, what was he? A clever carpenter. Without his father’s beatings all his life, without the face of his father haloed in the flames, without his wife’s adultery and the deaths of Bessa, Dallat, and Cammar–yes, without the touch of Cammar’s fingers as he leapt and fell, what would there be in Hoom to make you love him? What would there be of greatness in him? What would his life have meant?”

Jason’s passion shocked Lared. He had been so calm for all these weeks, it made his rage the more fearsome. But Lared would not be put off, even so. “If you could ask Hoom, I think he would gladly have foregone the greatness if he could have lived his life in peace.”

“Of course he would. Everybody would prefer that everything go smoothly for them. The worst bastards in the world are those who devote their entire lives to making sure things go smoothly for themselves. Individual preference has nothing to do with what I’m saying.” (208-209)

The conversation goes on…

“Lared,” Jason said, “people aren’t individuals, even though we all think we are. Even before I came, what did you know of yourself, except what your family told you? Their tales of your childhood became your vision of yourself; you imitated your father and mother both, learned what it means to be a human being from them. Every pattern of your life has been bent and shaped by what other people do and what other people say.”

“So what am I then? a machine that echoes everyone around me?”

“No, Lared. Like Hoom, you have in you something that makes a choice–something that decides, this is me, this is not me. Hoom could have become a murderer, couldn’t he? Or he could have treated his children as his father treated him, couldn’t he? It’s that part of you that chooses that is your soul, Lared.” (209)

Quite a lot isn’t it? I mean it addresses true meaning-of-life stuff. Why is there pain and suffering? Are who we are a result of nature or nurture? What makes you you? It really doesn’t get more basic than that–why are YOU you? DNA? Genetics? Your parents? Your family? Your society? Your environment? What makes a person great? Why do two individuals in the same situation make such radically different choices? Using Hoom as an example, we see that he had every excuse in the book to be a bad guy. He was an abused child. Isn’t there some truth to the statistic that abused kids can and sometimes do grow up to be abusers themselves? I’m not saying every case, but sometimes family patterns are hard to break. And after his father’s fiery death, Hoom could have easily let that one bad decision ruin the rest of his life. He could have ’embraced the dark side’ if you will. He could have become hardened, angry, bitter, hateful. And his marriage–he could have been jealous, angry. He could have sought vengeance. He could have tried to kill his wife and his best friend. He could have hated his children–after all, he very well could have been raising Wix’s children. But he was full of love, full of compassion, an example of grace and mercy. Why? How? Do you buy Jason’s argument that Hoom was great because he suffered greatly? Do you think it was adversity that caused him to be great? Or do you think it just revealed the greatness that was lurking underneath the surface?

What are your thoughts on Jason? Do you agree with him? “I would rather live in a world where there can be agony like Hoom’s–so that there can be a man like Hoom.” (210)

Jason does spill some secrets though, doesn’t he? Does this shed some light on Lared’s parents? Their coldness and awkwardness with one another? With his father’s abrasive attitude towards him at times? IT did for me. His father is a man in pain, a man who is hurt.

Interesting concept isn’t It: “Which do you want, boy–to be safe or to be free?” (211) This premise, this argument gets around a lot both in real life and in fiction.

Jason now tells the rest of his stories…the rest of what he knows. Justice will finish the job after Jason’s through.

The creation of Worthing Farm.

“I gave them powers beyond anything men had conceived of except in their dreams of God; but I also made them less than human in their hearts. The miracle is not that they grew powerful. The miracle is that when they finally left Worthing Farm, any of them had any humanity at all.” (215)

I love this concept in science fiction or in any type of fiction really. This idea, this questioning of what makes us human. What separates us from monsters, from animals, from that great OTHER?

Sibling rivalry. Elijah and Matthew. Not easy to read about Elijah’s power is it? But it gets worse doesn’t it? Anyone else hate being stuck in the mind of Adam? I know I did. I wanted more separation. Adam is truly terrifying. A true horror. So not-human. So vicious, so cruel. Why do you think Uwen is attracted to Adam? Why is she drawn to such evil-incarnate?

Faith. What do you think of her? I admit I was puzzled by her. How she could accept, take in, all of Adam into her soul, her mind, and be at peace with it…to not go insane. How could she be ‘good’ or be ‘pure’ and do such a thing. Yet her purpose was to first understand, to know evil, to know pain, to know everything in order that she could heal it from the inside out. Anyone else surprised that this worked? That she survived her meeting with Adam?

And we come to the end of that tale. Who do you believe? Lared or Jason? Is ruling and enslaving by kindness any less slavery? Do you think that Jason’s children had in fact enslaved all of mankind? Do you think that the Day of Pain was a liberation day? A day where freedom to live, to be human, was finally won?

And so we’re almost finished–with this part of the book at least. Justice and Mercy. The tale of a brother and sister. A tale of how Jason came to be awakened. A tale of the Day of Pain.

What did you think of Justice? Of mercy? Of the systematic watching of all planets? What do you think of their decision to STOP watching? What of their decision to kill themselves? Right? Wrong? Too harsh a price to pay?

What do you think of the ending? Of Sala testing Justice? Of Justice’s decision to stop pain (though not death) for this one village? I admit I’m torn. If you bought into the idea that interfering with human’s pain and suffering was wrong in the chapters that came before…how can it be right now at the end of the book? I’ll grant you that it was the stopping death and altering memories part that was ultra-creepy, but still…I’m not completely satisfied with the ending. What do you think of Lared’s decision to travel with Jason?

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