Thursday, March 17, 2016

Scarlet Pimpernel

A pimpernel is a flower in the primrose family. 

“The Scarlet Pimpernel” is a novel by Emma Orczy. It was published in 1905 and the story takes place during the French Revolution, which changed France from a Monarchy to a dictatorship under Napoleon and eventually to a democratic republic.

“I know the story only from the movie, “The Scarlet Pimpernel” which was released in 1934. It starred Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon. This was a great movie that I have watched many times. I understand there was a remake of the movie in 1982, but I have not seen that one.

The movie takes place at the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. Prior to the revolution, the French people were ruled with cruelty from the monarch and treated with disdain by the aristocrats that cow-towed to the French king. The monarchy was unseated and the revolutionists imprisoned the aristocrats, who were systematically eliminated using guillotines to chop off their heads.

Howard's character, Sir Percy Blakeney was the Scarlet Pimpernel. He was an English aristocrat who knew many of the French aristocrats personally. He acted the fop, all the while leading a small band of like minded young men who traveled back and forth from England to France and rescued as many aristocrats as they could.

Percy wrote a poem that was quoted throughout the movie. I have told it to Kathi so many times she hates to see the title of the movie pop up on our TV. The poem:

They seek him here,
They seek him there,
Those Frenchie's seek him everywhere.

Is he in Heaven?
Is he in Hell?
That damned elusive Pimpernel.

I told that story to tell this one.

The rise of the socialists in our elections should not be a surprise. The anger of the Republicans at the elite officeholders should not be a surprise. The support for Ted Cruz and Donald Trump should not be a surprise.

Office holders are cow-towing to big money donors and the only legislation that is passed is to please the big donors. The people in this country are not being heard in Washington. The needs of the people are not being met. The rich are getting richer, seemingly at the expense of the other people. There are no jobs available that allow people to strive for the American dream. We do not have any guillotines, but the out of work engineers and carpenters know how to build them. This is a warning. Someone had better pay attention.

1 comment:

  1. When I was in college I never put the two together, the book The Scarlet Pimpernel and modern political implications. I look for those connections now when I read literature but this one would have gotten by me if I had not read this blog entry.