(Image is my own)

We’ve been discussing Marilynne Robinson’s novel Housekeeping in American Literature. I haven’t gotten around to reading the novel yet, but it sounds like an interesting read. In lectures, we discussed the background of the novel, the author and some themes that appear.

Something that was brought up that interested me was this idea of light and darkness. Writers will often use images of light and darkness to elicit certain feelings in their readers. I think for most people light would be associated with good things and darkness with bad things.

I found it interesting that Robinson flips this idea around in her novel. Light is bad and darkness is good.

Looking at things from Robinson’s perspective I think I can see what she’s doing. In the light, we are more aware of our surroundings and more aware of ourselves. Sometimes this self-awareness can be hindering rather than enlightening. It has the potential to make you view the world in a materialistic way.

In the dark the materialistic side of life is less prevalent, maybe even non-existent. The way you look, what you have, what you own do not matter when you cannot see them. Maybe sometimes it is better in a way to be blind to these things.

It was interesting to reflect on light and darkness from a new perspective, but it’s probably better to be enlightened than in the dark when it comes to matters of life.


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