Friday, September 2, 2011

Sometimes Karma Runs Over Dogma

Do you share Hinduism's belief that how you treat people comes back to you? What about Jesus' teaching that revering God means loving neighbor? Perhaps, the greatest literary account of karma running over dogma is the two-part Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources by Marcel Pagnol.

Transport yourself to Provence France, where a city slicker inherits a farm. Jean de Florette enthusiastically moves onto the land in hope of giving his family a better life but is as ignorant of and resistant to nature's primal realities as most book-learned urbanites are.

Meanwhile, his new neighbors are as ignorant of and resistant to outsiders as most untraveled provincials are. Jean de Florette sees little reason to be concerned when he finds no water source on the property and townsfolk see little reason to inform him of a spring.

The betrayal of Jean by pitiless neighbors and waterless heavens is followed by mind-blowing, breath-taking justice from above. I couldn't close the book after the last page but sat in stunned silence at this moral parable that had unfolded then neatly tied itself together before my eyes.

After you read Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, don't miss the film versions featuring Gerard Depardieu, Emmanuelle Beart and Yves Montand, with music from Giuseppe Verdi's: The Forces of Destiny. If you're tired of pompous lit that's much ado about nothing, try a simple tale about water, drawn from life's deepest well.


  1. I know that the book reads are different from the movies. Thanks for this post.

  2. I saw the movies years ago in French classes.