By Brian Liu
Graduation is on May 15th. Afterwards I will no longer be working with the Johnnie Chair or the admissions office. I wish to share, in my last post, an encouraging few sections from George Eliot’s classic: Middlemarch. The quotes address the main character of the novel, Dorothea, but on another level they speak to the question of the legacy that we leave for others in our lives. I hope that one day these words would describe my life. So long, St. John’s!
“For the fragment of a life, however typical, is not the sample of an even web: promises may not be kept, an ardent outset may be followed by declension; latent powers may find their long-waited opportunity; a past error may urge a grand retrieval.”
“Certainly those determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful. They were the mixed result of a young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. For there is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it.”
“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are no so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”
-Middlemarch, by George Eliot