by Mary Doria Russell Book : Fiction  |  1st ed
Dreamers of the Day   (2014-01-25)
By Damga Horami
Dreamers of the Day
Mary Doria Russell, New York, Random House, 2008. 253pp. ISBN 978-1-4000-6471-7. U. S. A. $25.00
Her story is history! Thinking about a middle-aged girl may throw our minds toward thinking about marriage or fear of being a maiden. This is not an “engaged” story; this is a story of our destiny. Mary D. Russell wrote Dreamers of the Day , an inspiring fictional novel.
The story’s credible characters help readers relate to the story, and makes reader to be a one of them, a character that is forgotten to be mentioned by the author. A plot which is filled with twists and turns may happen, but that is what keeps readers to get hooked onto every single word. Overall, various themes including politics, religion, faithfulness, and war are expressed vividly offering insights into real life.
Agnes Shanklin, the main character, at first tried to throw herself directly to the job, and didn’t believe in education. Further, she always has questions about religion and the mystery of life. She is the daughter of a mechanical engineer and a house wife living with her two little siblings, Lillian and Ernest. She becomes an American school teacher and then travels to the Middle-East meeting some important people in Egypt; those are Sir Percy Cox, Thomas Edward Lawrence, Miss Arthur Bell, and a German spy Karl. It is the aftermath of World War I, and they are there to draw a new map for the Ottoman Empire.
Plots of Dreamers of the Day are unexpected but believable plots with various surprises. The story starts with Agnes parents who have a plan to invest their savings building a small factory in Oberlin. The Great War in Europe and influenza comes which cause millions of casualties in a matter of few days. Her brother, Ernest, leaves them after her father passes away and joins the army. She becomes a school teacher and then travels to the Middle-East to pay a visit to the Pyramids and Holy Land. There, she meets some important people working on the division of Ottoman Empire. She faces many difficulties their due to Arab uprisings against foreigners in Alexandria and the Holy Land. Mary describes the uprising in this way, “In a matter of seconds, however, the boys were lost in a huge mass of grown men running alongside the train. A sudden tempest of rocks rained against the sides of the car. Window after window splintered” (Mary 168). After her survival from the ashes of these conflicts, she returns back to the U.S the period that America’s economy is booming. She sells her mother’s house and starts working buying shares in the market, but all of the sudden, Black Thursday comes an affects all people as (Mary 231) says, “All around me, disheveled panicky women started at their ticker tape in stunned despair, or wept, or even fainted as their stocks dropped and dropped again”. The story ends with solutions and improvements of economy in US and what happened to the German Jews under the rule of Adolf Hitler.
Dreamers of the Day, includes various themes throughout the story, but the most important is politics. There is an intensive relationship between politics, economy and human rights. Whenever one talks about politics, the latter two inevitably come. Before World War I, the whole Middle-East had been occupied by Ottomans and they established their own empire over there ruling the whole area. During the war, Ottoman Empire was collapsed into pieces, and western powers came to divide the land so that it can be easily controlled and the depressed nations can get their own rights to rule themselves; however, this is a disputable subject. Mary draws the scene while those western people whom they are in charge of the division argue about creating a national home for Jews in Palestine, Iraq, Kurds, and Arminian when in the actual text she writes,
Colonel Wilson wants to rule right out in the open. Mr. Churchill wants to save money and rule on the cheap. What do you want Colonel Lawrence?
“A state for Kurds,” he said, “And one for Armenians. Separate kingdoms for Basra and Baghdad. A national home for Jews in Palestine…” (Mary 95).
Regarding economy, the story clarifies the tie between economy and politics. There is a scene that explains French Colonialism, when they colonized Syria and Mosul which was rich in oil; and thus, Colonel Lawrence wants to draw a plan to kick them out.
People in this region must take such works into account and read Dreamers of the Day . Agnes, the main character, tells us how great powers treat us for the sake of their own interest. In terms of social and political life, brilliant and intellectual Agnes, creates a character that every reader can relate to. The whole themes, especially politics, teach a lesson that shall be used for our future life. Following what Lawrence suggests will place us into a peaceful life and avoiding any further conflicts.
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