Thursday, May 31, 2007
As a part of what seems our never-ending Civil War unit (I don't know why we can't seem to move beyond it), the children and I recently watched the movie Shenandoah (1965). It is the story of a Virginia widower and father who tries his best to stay out of the conflict but who is drawn in when his youngest son is taken prisoner by Union forces who mistake him as a Confederate soldier. The film was recommended to us by a family member who knew we were studying the Civil War, but after watching I don't think I would make the same recommendation. Not that it isn't a good movie--it features Jimmy Stewart as the patriarch of the family plus a young Katharine Ross as his daughter-in-law--but the Civil War setting is really not crucial to the story. Instead, the film is more of a family drama that just happens to take place against the backdrop of the Civil War. One of my favorite scenes depicts a suitor approaching Jimmy Stewart's character to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage. Stewart's character responds by asking why this young man wants to marry his daughter. The young man answers, "Because I love her" to which Stewart's character asks, "But do you like her?" What an excellent reminder that the basis for a successful marriage is not that feeling we so loosely call love but rather common ground, friendship, admiration, and respect.