So, during class, as we were asked to discuss our favorite parts of “The Tenth of December,” I held back. I found the ending, the most obviously likable part of the story, to be my favorite. Molly and Eber reunited after this intense near death experience, the hopeful light of tomorrow shining through his depression and her sadness. It’s all so sweet. And I didn’t want to say that. Gosh, I thought, how old fashioned and dumb, to enjoy something warm and human and tender. The normal response, it seemed to me, ought to have been a mocking barb against depth of feeling, a roll of the eyes and a wry grin, ‘oh, isn’t it all just so Disney.’

But I didn’t feel that. I felt good about the ending. I felt that these characters could face whatever troubles they might have in their fictional lives together, heads held high. And that seemed so childish to think in such a public setting. So I said nothing, and we moved on. But I cannot help but still think what I thunk before. That sweetness, that depth of feeling was good and true and right.

So I wondered why I oughtn’t say anything. Why did I feel so compelled to voice only the cynical? I feel like the answer is in the interview with Wallace. It talks about the age of the cynic. How, in the end, I gets us nowhere on its own. After everything is deconstructed and ridiculed, what comes next? You can’t simply point at the old and point out its imperfections forever. There’s nothing new there. I sometimes feel suffocated by my own cynicism. When I see something genuinely moving, it’s a shaft of light, obscured by that cynical fog. I’d like to think Wallace was right, that now we can move to a newer appreciation of what makes us human. Maybe that’s optimistic, or at least, not so cynical.

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