What impacted me about Ain't Scared of Your Jails was the simplicity and determination of it all. It was simple in that there were no complicated motives behind the movement. No political agenda. No conflict between what was willing to be lost for the gain. They know what they were willing to lose -- their lives and physical security was of no object in comparison to their freedom. We see this in Frederick Leonard's interaction in the jail --
"Peewee came down on my head, man, whonk, whonk. He was crying. Peewee was crying. I still had my mattress. And that's when I -- You remember when your parents used to whip you and say, "It's going to hurt me more than it hurt you?" Hurt Peewee more than it hurt me."
Leonard's almost humorous account shows us what mindset he was in. He wasn't in jail. He was on the pedestal of his cause.
|Ben West, Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee|
Ben West was voted in as Mayor in 1951. After the city hall march-in West appointed a biracial commission to desegregate lunch counters, which was the first southern state to do so.
Ben West lost the following election as Mayor in 1963 and retired directly after the loss.
The theme in Enemies and Friends, collectively, stood out to me. "Hatred is much closer to love than indifference" went through my mind while reading it. Hatred causes strict observance in an otherwise complacent relationship. This causes you to get to know them better than most any other setting. Strunk and Jensen kept close tabs on each other and began to get to know the other person better without intending to do so.
I would like to know for how long interaction took place. Was it for most of the war? We see that, over a month's time, they began to invest in one another, but what was the recovery time after the hatred?
I think the writing was at its best where the interaction take place between Strunk and Jensen, after Strunk stepped on the mortar. This convention, dialogue, between the two hows a tenderness, a willingness to lie for the comfort of the other, to no gain for yourself.
In "How to Tell a War Story" the theme that stood out to me was that if a war story is pleasing, it wasn't a real story. There is no moral. "In a true war story, if there is any moral at all, it is like the thread that makes the clothe. You can't tease it out. You can't extract the meaning without unraveling the deeper meaning. And in the end, really, there isn't much you can say about a war story except, maybe, "oh". I felt that this part of the chapter was well written. I wonder what category O'Brien would put his book in. No moral at all? Or an unwinding moral?