Being a part of Bibliophile’s Workshop’s many different blog tours,“ will give you the opportunity to read various novels, spanning many genres and writing styles, along with helping share new, promising titles with readers all across the internet.
James’ Journey Blog Tour Monday, April 20,2015- Ends Saturday April 25, 2015
Information About the Book:
James’ Journey Blog Tour Day 6: Review of the Film Amazing Grace:
So I leave this last post today with a high recommendation for a film that encapsulates the main theme running through Helen Lundstrom Erwin’s novel James’ Journey. That theme is the uncommon, intrepid, seemingly minor heroism of William Wilberforce, whose courage did not come through battle, or military prowess of any kind. He did not brandish war trophies, and his battle was long, and weary for both him and his compatriots. Rather, he fought to abolish a cruel industry that has cast a pallor of immorality over the whole of the British Empire, and has caused many conscientious, sensitive hearts private sorrow. In James’ Journey, much like in this film, we see the deleterious effects the “dark night of the soul” has; it usually carries spiritual meaning for many, but it can commonly be referred to as the melancholic condition that befalls those with sensitive hearts and minds, open wide to the suffering of others, that cripples us with a sense of futility. Meaning, we hold this sadness, but we have no actual compassionate action to sublimate it into a more proactive act. In William Wilberforce’s case, this tactile act is through the abolition of the slave trade, an active campaign for the rights of the impoverished, and advocacy for free education.
The film does not begin with a courageous, moral hero held in high stature by society, but rather one that has just undergone a fifteen year long futile fight in Parliament, against impossible odds, to have a bill, abolishing the slave trade in the whole British Empire passed. Through the workings of subtle, captivating film-making, scenes are arranged as a slow ascent into a literal Dark Night of the Soul for William Wilberforce. Symbolically, that “dark night of the soul,” is stretched over a period of many despairing days, of drinking laudanum, a heavily addictive fluid he took for stomach cramps and trouble (due to some type of debilitating illness). His weariness of spirit is shown with emotionally-torturing accuracy, as the audience feels the gravity of William’s sadness and sense of crippling failure, through the despondent gestures of the actor that portrays him so accurately, Ioan Gruffud.
Without spoiling things, the film moves forwards and backwards in time, as we see the lead-up to his own “dark night of the soul,” and then the ascent to a more emboldened place, as the fight to get this important bill passed regains strength, through his marriage with a fellow stalwart abolitionist. The film, much like the novel James’ Journey, deftly portrays the depths of despair and discouragement that those that fight for egalitarian goals usually have to go through. Even today, we still see this same dispiriting struggle among the many people, bravely putting their lives on the line, globally, to fight against some formidable evil that has deprived a certain class and marginalized segment of the population of the ability to be treated as fellow human beings.
Slavery has not gone away whatsoever, and this film conveys a powerful, even timeless provocative message, much like James’ Journey, that in a world where many strive for moral good; the crusade to fight for the rights and dignity of your fellow human being, to be a pacifistic warrior, requires being a counter-cultural revolutionary, who must face the slings and arrows of bad fortune, if the society you live in is fiercely opposed to overturning what it’s been complacently accepting as the “status quo.”
I highly recommend this film about a wonderful, brazen, moral crusader, much like the main protagonist of James in James’ Journey, who fought a very, very important battle, to help those around him gain the same right to respect and dignity, that he himself just happens to be privileged to have by the cruel way that society’s social/economic hierarchy is unfairly set up.