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Timshel

In: English and Literature

Submitted By alexkluge
Words 439
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"It was your two-word retranslation, Lee- 'Thou mayest.' It took me by the throat and shook me. And when the dizziness was over, a path was open, new and bright. And my life which is ending seems to be going on to an ending wonderful. And my music has a new last melody like a bird song in the night." Lee was peering at him through the darkness. "That's what it did to those old men of my family." "Thou mayest rule over sin, ' Lee. That's it. I do not believe all men are destroyed. I can name you a dozen who were not, and they are the ones the world lives by. It is true of the spirit as it is true of battles-Only the winners are remembered. Surely most men are destroyed, but there are others who like pillars of fire quite frightened men through the darkness. 'Thou mayest, Thou mayest!' What glory! It is true that we are weak and sick and quarrelsome, but if that is all we ever were, we would millenniums ago, have disappeared from the face of the earth. A few remnants of fossilized jawbone, some broken teeth in strata of limestone, would be the only mark man would have left of his existence in the world. But the choice, Lee, the choice of winning! I had never understood it or accepted it before. Do you see now why I told Adam tonight? I exercised the choice. Maybe I was wrong, but by telling him I also forced him to live or get off the pot. What is that word, Lee?" "Timshel," said Lee

This passage portrays the theme of Timshel which means 'Thou mayest' in hebrew. Once Lee told Cal about timshel, Cal felt had the power to choose and have the choice between good and evil. As he got enlightened, he now realized that he could move on with his life and forget about the past. "He had never understood it or accepted it before. Do you see now why I told Adam tonight? I exercised the choice." Throughout the book Cal does many wrongs that he never gets over, but as he grows as an individual, he learns that "Thou mayest rule over sin, I do not believe all men are destroyed." Having the power to choose is something that cannot be taken away from oneself, this "Choice" is exemplified many times as Steinbeck goes through the characters lives. The power to overcome sin is what lets us move on in life and get through the tough times. Like Cal we all have the choice.…...

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