Wishing You a Flawed New Year

Monday, January 3, 2011

Flawed? Did I really say flawed? Yes, I did. I hope you have a happy 2011, but I can't promise it. I can promise that you'll have a flawed one.

I just finished reading Vanity Fair by William Makepiece Thackeray. It's a satire (heavily laced with sarcasm) written in the mid-1800s about "genteel" life earlier in that century. Its subtitle is A Novel Without a Hero.

In fact, Vanity Fair has both a hero and a heroine. The hero is large and clumsy and has a heart of gold, and I love the character. The heroine is gentle and soft-hearted and meek. Her meekness drove me crazy, but good fiction reflects life, and real people are flawed. Even the hero is blinded by his love for and loyalty to family and friends.

It isn't just the characters who are flawed, though. Each year they live through is flawed, too, and some of those years contain burdens almost too hard for them to bear. Fiction reflecting life again. And if the characters had it easy, who would read Thackeray's story?

If you're hoping for a perfect 2011, you're bound to be disappointed. If you're hoping for a happy one, you may or may not get it. All I can promise is that you'll have a flawed one, because that's what life is like. So I wish you a flawed and happy 2011.

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The drawing at the head of this post is "Mr. Joseph Entangled," which appears to have been one of the original drawings for Vanity Fair. Thackeray drew his own illustrations.

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