Yesterday, my campus was grieving. We are Canadians yet the impact of the US election was felt no matter where you went. While Canada, last year, stepped ahead and elected Trudeau, America took a giant leap backwards.
In my class on Jane Austen, my professor opened by telling us he was in no mood to think today. His mind was a mess, a hurricane, with thoughts colliding rather than connecting. We briefly shared our thoughts on the election, then my professor made a segue into Mansfield Park.
What proceeded to happen was the best literary discussion of my academic career.
We were all mad and hurt and upset, yet discussing Austen seemed to organize our thoughts in a way that wasn’t distracting, but revealing. Austen allowed us to talk about slavery and racist in the early 1800s. Her work and our discussion allowed us to see how literature, how art, is used to demonstrate the politics of the day. Maybe Austen had a political agenda, or maybe she didn’t. Either way, Mansfield Park reveals the concerns and the hope– the hope!– that existed in this time period.
Mansfield Park allowed us to heal and hope for a better tomorrow. It let us see beautiful art is made from the pain of today. This art expresses everything we want to say, but can’t, or everything we don’t know how to convey. The most beautiful art is brought forth from pain.
Don’t let the election results hinder you. Let them be the fire in your veins.
For with literature and art, we can mark our history and change the day.