Friday, September 25, 2009

Blind! Blind! Blind!

This next little bit of David Copperfield pith is from Chapter 35, and, surprisingly, the advice is not direct. David is in love with a silly, vacuous little girl named Dora, who gets him all hot and bothered every time she shakes her curls at him, but who seems intellectually incapable of being serious for a single minute of her life. 

He has just been expounding on the greatness of Dora to his wonderful friend Agnes, whom he grew up with, to an extent, and we readers have all figured out by now that he's infatuated with the wrong girl--and only later does he figure this out, long after he had married and settled down with Dora. As he is walking out the door...oh, well, I should really let Dickens describe it:

...Oh, Agnes, sister of my boyhood, if I had known then, 
what I knew long afterwards--
There was a beggar in the street, when I went down; 
and as I turned my head towards the window thinking of 
her calm seraphic eyes, he made me start by muttering,
as if he were an echo of the morning:
"Blind! Blind! Blind!"

In that one moment, when David was about to make a huge mistake, there was a portent, out of the blue, frightening him out of his stupidity, telling him how blind he was.

It may sound creepy to you, but don't you wish you had a portent, somebody who could hop out of a back alley at you, shouting, "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" when you are about to commit a huge mistake, or yelling "Cop! Cop! Cop!" when a policeman's sitting around the bend with a radar gun? 

Of course, what did David do with the portent? He ignored it. Only long afterwards did the scene occur to him, far too late to have done anything about it. Perhaps those same portents shout at us, but we ignore them, too, and keep heading headlong into the messes we create for ourselves. 

If only we'd listen!


  1. Agree, we never listen to that small voice in our heads trying to help us out... instead we listen to that cunning yet sensible voice that know more bs that truth, more times than not we regret it...

    i wish i could program my brain to only listen to logical sound advice from any source.

  2. Perhaps the problem is not that we don't listen, but that so many other people are telling us what to do, when they don't understand the situation at all. The one thing about Copperfield's relationship is that nobody told him what to do, but when does that happen? Most of my family were very much against my own marriage--yet I can't imagine anyone I'd get along with better. Yet I had to listen to "that small voice in my head" when everyone was yelling something else at me.

    It's hard to hold onto your gut feelings and resist what everyone else is thinking, even if they are horribly wrong.

  3. I *often* listen, but the times I don't are quite enough to make up for them.

    That kind of thing is GREAT in literature, though.