LITERATURE: Henderson The Rain King – Theme of Every Man

Henderson is such a goof–as are we all.  Goofballs down to the core of our souls.

"She say," Itelo translated carefully, "world is strange to a child.  You not a child, sir?"

"Oh, how wonderful she is," I said.  "True, all too true.  I have never been at home in life.  All my decay has taken place upon a child."  I clasped my hands, and staring at the ground I started to reflect with this inspiration.  And when it comes to reflection I am like the third man in a relay race. I can hardly wait to get the baton, but when I do get it I rarely take off in the necessary direction."  (p. 83)

Why do we do it?  Why do we grasp at straws and turn them into I-beams?  Henderson is so anxious to find what he is seeking–and to find out what that is–that he has pronounced this village queen, Willatale, to be a woman of mysterious wisdom who will be capable of handing him all the answers he seeks.  He is now doubly anxious to save these people from the plague of frogs in their water cistern, and as he mentioned, as Moses saved the Egyptians.  Henderson, in his self-deprecating manner, feels that he is unworthy and must do something for others to become of value to himself and be deserving of the love he receives from his family. 

Is it a fact that no matter how well situated we become in life, however we feel about ourselves and our world, whatever our religion and politics, there comes a time that like Henderson we question it all and our place within it?  Do we, like Henderson, wonder if we are out of place in society–who in general seems to flow through its daily business despite great events, joy or grief–and have the nose-pressed-to-the-window feeling?  Not a feeling of envy at not belonging, but of wanting to understand what draws the border between us? 

I have; haven’t you?

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