Oct 302013

References Longfellow’s narrative poem, “Evangeline,” which tells of the British expulsion of the French Acadians from Canada. Many of these Acadians settled as a group in Louisiana and are the ancestors of the Cajuns. Longfellow’s story tells of two lovers who are parted by the British attack, and find each other only by accident many decades later when the man is hospitalized, and the woman has become a nurse in a religious order. Their last moment of life is one of recognition, where they feel their love has stayed true, and then the man dies. The eternal search for desire, the quest for what our heart as seen, as if in a vision, and fidelity to that quest: what else can create a trajectory of meaning in our transient lives, but this manifestation of the immaterial? The man burdens himself with recriminations that he could have kept them from being separated in the disaster, and spends his days wandering throughout the country seeking his sweet Evangeline. The world itself begins to fade, or become an opposing force, as his desire grows ever brighter, ever stronger, ever more real. Either love or faith by themselves are mighty centers of action, drawing meaning after them in their cometlike wake; together, the comet must make landfall and crater hearts.

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