Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Not Far From the Tree 2: Good points

The good points of Not Far From the Tree mostly involve the nebulous expression "family values." However, it is clear that those values don't stand by themselves, suspended magically in midair.

Prayer is a key factor. In a sense there's not much obvious Christianity: no altar calls, no church scenes, and so on. I would of course have been pleased with a little more overt faith. However, there is a lot of prayer, and it's not the "To Whom it May Concern" variety. While Rina's husband David doesn't seem particularly religious--his parents evidently weren't the sort--Rina and her parents clearly are, and David does recognize this as a good thing.

Perseverance I mentioned this last time. The story could reasonably be called The Trials and Tribulations of Rina. She spends a lot of time adapting to other people's problems: Her mother-in-law needs something cast out of her by a competent exorcist, her husband keeps changing jobs in hopes of finally grabbing some prosperity, and the kids have the usual misadventures.

Family ties. Family loyalty is a big issue here, even when the family member is a jerk. There is no question of abandonment. For example, when David has a long-term health problem, Rina doesn't decide to cut her losses as a lot of modern people would. She doesn't even mope around a lot feeling sorry for herself. "Divorce is not an option"--Who knew? The idea of operating sacrificially for years without a lot of sniveling may seem incredible to people today, but it is possible. As a related issue, the kids don't rebel appreciably against their upbringing. They're independent, yes, and they sometimes do things Rina doesn't like, but they do seem to remain on good terms with parents and sibs alike.

Next we'll look at some problem areas.

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