Saturday, February 20, 2016

Damn I'm Good at Books!

"Childe Roland to the dark tower came" -Robert Browning. This sentence has pursued me for many years. It has haunted my steps from high school thru college and now into my adult hood thru Stephen King's Dark Tower series, Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman and Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.

These were all books that I loved, for one reason or another, and yet the one literary reference binding all these great novels together remained somewhat of a mystery to me. "Childe Roland to the dark tower came". Who is this mysterious "Roland" character and what/where is this equally peculiar "dark tower" edifice?

In some ways, Roland is everyone and no one. Anyone can identify with the secretive stranger, the wanderer and the forever alone; and yet, we can never fully understand him. This romantic figure is the part of us who is searching and trapped by the inevitability of his own fate, doomed in a sense. Doomed to repeat the same mistakes, unable to see the outcome of his repetitive actions. He is lacking in self-honesty, swollen with guilt and swimming in dread, living in the eye of the storm. Perhaps he catches a glimpse of his future thru the storm but the god machine sends him forth, sends him to his destiny, despite his many protests.

Providence is the "dark tower". The tower looms as a great magnetic force that can protect or eliminate, a terrible Shiva whom we are ever drawn towards like flies to the warm glow of incandescent light. The bringer of life and the destroyer of worlds waits for all her children to return to her, one day.

Are these figures a-moral? Are we to blame for our blindness or should we accuse the creator for our lack of foresight? What is your 'dark tower'? Are you living within the tower or in search of it? It would be wonderful to have these answers but such solutions require a lot of hallucinogenic drugs.

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