I have delayed to answer this month’s The Classics Club meme until now, to dig my memories about every classic I have been reading, and when is it that I was so enlightened to say that certain classics have had some contribution in changing my life? And the final answer came to me right after finishing a book. So, here they are….
What classic book has changed your view on life, social mores, political views, or religion?
The very first classics I read—though I didn’t realize it as classics at that time—was Agatha Christie’s. I was in seventh grade; and the first Christie that intrigued me one day when I was hanging around in school library was After The Funeral. And after that, I read more and more Agatha Christies. I borrowed from the library for a couple of times, but after that my parents allowed me to pick any Agatha Christie title whenever we went to bookstore once a month. Sometimes they let me pick two at a time, when I could not choose which one I want most (one of my best inventions as a child, actually! LOL).
Reading Agatha Christie was my first experience of thinking and reflecting not as a child. After being fed up with lulling tales of ‘happily-ever-after’ and ‘good-and-evil-as-white-and-black’ kinds of things for years, I was like being thrust into a new world of reality by Agatha Christie’s crime stories. At that time my comprehension was that there were two groups of humans: the good (charming appearances, good manners, kind and generous), and the evil (the opposite values of the good). I thought we all get it from our birth; meaning that we are born as either good or evil.
Agatha Christie’s novels opened my mind that good and evil are not as black and white. Most of the murderers in her books are ordinary people, even good people who are generous to their friends and relatives. However, one little stint in their history, or one small wrong decision could turn them to a murderer. And what shocked me at that time was how easy it is to turn into evil. In fact, it only requires one decision, and a person—no matter how good his/her life for years—once he/she committed a murder, he/she would be a murderer, he/she has stepped the threshold of being evil. It was when I first learned that being good or evil is a personal choice, and our choices would have its consequences. I think it was also the first time I ever learned about conscience.
Reading Agatha Christie’s was not for me merely enjoying the mystery, but more about digging into human psychology and playing with the “if” questions: If I were the murderer, if I had the same personality, if I faced the same conflict, would I decide to do the same thing aka to commit murder? Is it really the only way out? What would happen if I didn’t do the same thing, would it be worse than committing murder?
And so….Agatha Christie’s is the first classics that changed my way of viewing reality about good and evil in life.
The second one is….
Harry Potter series
Yes, to me Harry Potter will always be a classic, because it taught me much about the power of Divine Love.
Since I finished reading the seventh book (Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows) about five or six years ago, I have realized that J.K. Rowling meant to talk about Love as the most powerful power; that there won’t be any other power that can beat it. By talking about Love, of course she meant God, our Creator. I was amazed at that time by the depth of this story, despite of the popular theme of fantasy.
However, it’s not until now that I realize how Harry Potter has, in a way, changed my way of viewing life. I have written about this in my imaginary letter to Dumbledore, to participate in a meme. In short, Harry Potter series has reminded me that Love is the most powerful weapon God has armed us to fight any dark or evil power, no matter invincible it might have been, if only we have enough faith to trust Him. While people were questioning how my family—vulnerable and innocent as we were—would be able to survive from the wrath of that evil power, we could only continue on praying and ‘embracing’ each others in Love, while hoping everything would get better soon. And it did! Believe it or not, it did! Our friends suggested that we ‘fight back’, but it’s not our intention. We believe that God will take care of us, and because we have that most powerful weapon in the world, free and abundantly: LOVE!