Glory, a 1989 film directed by Edward Zwick, tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first all-black regiments to fight in the American Civil War. The film follows the journey of the regiment, from their initial recruitment and training to their eventual deployment in the war, and focuses on the experiences of several key characters, including the regiment's white commander, Colonel Robert Shaw, and several of its black soldiers, including Trip, a runaway slave, and John Rawlins, a former servant.
Throughout the film, the theme of glory and the various ways in which it is understood and pursued by the characters is a central and driving force. For the white officers and politicians who encourage the creation of the 54th Massachusetts, the prospect of sending black soldiers into battle is seen as a way to prove their worth and earn the respect and admiration of their white counterparts. For the black soldiers themselves, the opportunity to fight for their freedom and the freedom of their fellow African Americans is a source of pride and a chance to claim their own sense of glory.
However, as the film progresses, it becomes clear that the pursuit of glory is not always straightforward or without cost. The soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts face significant challenges and hardships, including discrimination, prejudice, and the dangers of war. They are also faced with moral dilemmas, as they struggle with the weight of the expectations placed on them and the sacrifices they must make in order to achieve their goals.
One of the key themes in Glory is the idea that true glory is not always about achieving fame or recognition, but rather about standing up for what one believes in and making a difference in the world. This is exemplified by the character of Colonel Shaw, who initially joins the regiment as a way to redeem his family's honor, but comes to understand that true glory lies in his commitment to his men and their cause. Similarly, the character of Trip, who initially resists the idea of fighting in the war, ultimately finds glory in his willingness to stand up for what he believes in and fight for his own freedom.
In conclusion, Glory is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores the theme of glory and the various ways in which it is understood and pursued by its characters. Through its portrayal of the struggles and triumphs of the 54th Massachusetts, the film highlights the importance of standing up for one's beliefs and the power of ordinary people to make a difference in the world.
"A White Heron," written by Sarah Orne Jewett, is a short story about a young girl named Sylvia who lives in a rural town in New England. One summer, a ornithologist arrives in town and offers a large sum of money to anyone who can guide him to a white heron. Sylvia is torn between her love for the natural world and her desire for the financial reward, but ultimately decides to protect the heron and keep its location a secret.
The story is set in a time when the natural world was still relatively untouched by human development, and Sylvia's love for the outdoors is evident in the way she describes the landscape and the animals that live there. She spends her days exploring the woods, climbing trees, and watching the birds and other wildlife.
However, the arrival of the ornithologist threatens to disrupt this idyllic way of life. Despite the allure of the money he offers, Sylvia ultimately decides to protect the white heron and its habitat. This decision reflects her deep connection to the natural world and her desire to preserve it.
Throughout the story, Jewett uses imagery and symbolism to convey the beauty and fragility of the natural world. The white heron itself is a symbol of innocence and purity, and its threatened existence highlights the importance of protecting the environment.
In the end, Sylvia's decision to keep the heron's location a secret suggests that the true value of the natural world cannot be measured in terms of financial gain. It is a reminder that we must prioritize the preservation of the earth's resources and wildlife, rather than exploiting them for our own gain.
Overall, "A White Heron" is a poignant and thought-provoking tale about the delicate balance between humanity and the natural world. It encourages us to consider the impact of our actions on the environment and to prioritize the protection of the earth's resources and wildlife.