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Thoughts from the Other Hand

Gavi's picture

"Everyone wants to make a difference, Sarah, but there's a time and place." (233)

I'm learning many things from this course. Perhaps the most meaningful thing I've been asked to consider thus far is the moral imperative of precarity. Or, the responsibility I have toward other humans in precarious situations of ensuring that I am as dedicated to change as they are. Or, in the words of Juan Segundo, "Unless we agree that the world should not be the way it is … there is no point of contact, because the world that is satisfying to us is the same world that is utterly devastating to them." Or, the importance of connections and of making a difference.

Another concept I've been presented with is the notion that there is concreteness neither of time nor of place, that my thoughts and actions echo resoundingly from the before and into the after and overlap so as to make distinctions of before and after quite impossible to make out. The issue is not causality, then, "no longer ensuring the fulfillment of certain aims but setting in place a set of conditions for justice, flexibility, and responsiveness." (Welch 24)

"I do not need to tell this story to anyone else. Thank you for saving me, Sarah." (257)

"We won't ever give up on Little Bee. Because she is a part of our family now. And until she is happy and safe, then I don't think we will be either." (261)

As Little Bee progresses, Little Bee and Sarah allow each to throw the other into situations of precarity with  increasing frequency. By the end of the novel (I will write ambiguously, no spoilers here), each feels that she must be with the other ("save" the other) in order to have a complete narrative. Their relationship is one between two women who have unequal levels of social capital but have equal levels of concern for the happiness and well-being of the other. Precarity is a part of life, for some more than for others, and for Sarah and Little Bee it is part of the territory of their relationship. Precarity is not something for which either can delineate a time or a space. It is something to share and to shape and to retell.

"I knew that the hopes of this whole human world could fit inside one soul." (264)

"But what if the story is that we are in the story?" (233)