Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jacques Bernis in Courrier du Sud

Bernis was the main character in this philosophical—and I believe quite autobiographical—novel of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Courrier Sud (Southern Mail). Bernis was a pilot for the airmail service from Paris to Dakkar. In the early 20th century aircraft was a new technology, thus working as a pilot meant you faced a great danger everytime you fly. Bernis’ risk was doubled as his route forced him to fly over Sahara desert which was difficult to navigate with such simple equipment they had at that time.

However, although people underestimate his career (and called him as ‘ghost’, as they could not imagine how a human being could fly), Bernis could feel happy only when he was alone in his cockpit, flying the atmosphere and threw his gaze to the horizon. Bernis loved the sense of freedom, where everything was moving when he passed them. He also loved the change of the atmosphere and the weather along the flight. I can imagine how it feels, to think that we could leave one place and kept on moving to another, never be in the same place, like the flow of water which never stays at the same place.

Bernis was a kind of man who can never feel happy in this life. Unlike ordinary people who need to have a home (a real house and routine life), Bernis’ home was beyond the society; his true home was in the air, when he was surrounded by wind and clouds, sun and moon, sky and earth. When Bernis lived ordinary life, he was distressed and bored because everything was so routine and unchanged. I feel pity on him, he must be the most lonesome guy in the universe, never belonged to anywhere or anyone…well..except, perhaps, God.

Bernis was not a man who insisted his will. When he loved a woman (his childhood friend), but the woman chose to be with another man, Bernis did not get angry of her, he just let her go—bitterly though. **spoiler** However, when the woman got troubled and wanted to leave her present life, Bernis was happy to take her with him. But when at the end the woman could not live Berni’s way of life, Bernis let her go, for a second time. And I felt sorry even more for poor Bernis…**spoiler ends**

This is Exupery, but I always take Bernis as
Exupery himself, anyway...

I always wonder, was Bernis happy with the life he had chosen? I think yes, if only he never loved Geneviève, and if he has courage to stand on his own life, no matter how strange or different it was from the world, and if he cherished what he had or what he loved. I sometimes felt different from ordinary people (although not as extreme as Bernis), but I have learned to be happy with who I am, what I have and what I love in this life.

That is my Character Thursday of this week, an analysis of book character of my choice, who is yours?... Just put your post URL in the linky below. Do you like to join us in discussing characters from books you read? See the details of Character Thursday first.

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