Thursday, May 1, 2008

Splendor in the Grass

As a theatre major in college, I learned all too well how art imitates life. Sometimes the angst and sorrow we face in life can best be expressed by fictitious characters. We laugh with them, cry with them, and learn from their mistakes. In April I attempted to dissect the film Now Voyager in accordance with a "theme" I had designated for the month. This didn't work for several reasons, the primary one being that are just too many themes inherent in a good story that one can't really give them all the proper attention they deserve in a weekly blog post. That being said, I will instead simply recommend a film every month, and encourage the readers to apply the themes discussed on this site to the characters in the story. Sometimes, viewing ourselves in the plight of the characters can give us an introspective look at the consequences of our own sinful behavior.

This month's featured film is Splendor in the Grass, the story of two young lovers whose relationship is destroyed by sin. It is for this reason one of the most heartbreaking stories of all time. As you watch the mistakes made on both sides, consider how your own behavior in your courtship or marriage is affected by sin.

STATS
Year: 1961 (Not Rated)
William Inge (writer), Elia Kazan (director)
Starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in his first film role
Setting: Southern Kansas, 1928 (just prior to the Great Depression)
Won 1962 Oscar for best screenplay and best actress (Natalie Wood)
Content warning: Some scenes contain intense kissing and several references to fornication. One scene features showgirls in revealing costumes.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Dating without accountability. Even when two people are sincerely in love, emotions that are not kept under control can result in heartbreak should the spoken intentions never come to fruition. Bud and Deenie's hearts were so emotionally intertwined, the pain resulting from the end of their relationship could be comparable to that of a divorce.

2. The goodness of marriage. If God brings someone special into your life and there is no good reason to postpone the union, the Bible encourages you to marry (1 Corinthians 7). Had Bud not postponed his desire to marry Deenie, the hope and promise of being able to eventually consummate the relationship with Deenie may have helped him resist temptation.

3. The pain of sin. This story is about two single people, however married viewers can see how important it is to remain faithful to their sexual commitment, else they be tempted outside the marriage. Sexual desire leads to sexual sin. Sin is a threat to relationships.

4. The power of love. The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. In spite of the pain Bud caused her, Deenie still loves him. In spite of his pride, and in spite of the fear that he no longer deserves her, Bud still loves Deenie and is heartbroken over having hurt her.

5. The plans of man. The Bible says that in his heart, man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9). Sometimes we can do everything according to God's laws, but that doesn't guarantee things will always go the way we want them to. We can become confused and question God's goodness when our choice to do the right thing results in pain and heartbreak. (The bathtub scene where Deenie says, "I'm a good little, good little, good little girl!" is gut-wrenching.) But it is important to remember that God is always good, no matter what happens.

TRIVIA
The film's title comes from William Wordsworth's poem "Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood":

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...


Want a preview? Here is the original trailer of this classic film:

3 comments:

Edwin said...

Courtship with a multitude of counsel is wise. A prudent wife comes from the Lord. a website I just recently am checking out:

http://www.courtshipinthecovenant.com/

Books supporting courtship:

I kissed dating goodbye: a new attitude towards relationships and romance/ boy meets girl: say hello to courtship (Joshua Harris)

When God writes your love story (Eric and Leslie Ludy)

Jennifer said...

Hi, Edwin. I'm sorry I don't know how your original comment got deleted -- but yes, you have touched upon a topic that I did not get to discuss this month, because I got sidetracked with the headcovering topic. Courtship must have proper accountability, otherwise, people end up defrauded and hurt (or pregnant!). I do hope to address this topic soon . . .

I have read all three books and been to the site you've suggested. I preferred Boy Meets Girl to I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and I liked Eric and Leslie's book a lot. Have you listened to the sermon, "Sex and the Single Man?" Excellent. If you click on the label "Purity" you will find a post by the same name where you can link to the sermon. I highly recommend it for both men and women.

Edwin said...

Jen

I deleted the first one b/c i had a miss spelling i have not heard that sermon you are talking about, but i heard the paul washer sermon on courtship. I will listen to the one you are talking about