Tag Archives: book review

What should Virginia have done before giving editor Norman $500,000?

In the utopian fiction novel, In His Steps by Charles Sheldon, a rich, popular, and prosperous newspaper man, Edward Norman, falls into near bankruptcy after making a pledge to do what Jesus would do. Edward Norman does not, in fact, in my opinion, do what Jesus would do. He acts stupidly (see the footnote for greater information) by refusing to advertise anymore for the tobacco and beer industries and he also decides he will not cover any of the subjectively “un-godly” important news or gossip. He quickly reaps the consequences of making such an action and loses a great deal of subscribers and is on the verge of bankruptcy when he pleads his case to a rich young heiress named Virginia Page. Virginia had been feeling rather conflicted about what is to be done with her inherited funds, as she had also taken the pledge to do as Jesus would do. She felt that it was wrong for her to be possession of such a great deal of wealth, and was unsure of “What Jesus Would Do” in her situation.

So, when editor Edward Norman pleaded his case to young Virginia Page, she readily agrees to give him $500, 000 (adjusted for inflation, this number would be equivalent to millions in today’s dollar).

In this essay, I will present my opinion on what Virginia should have done before giving Edward Norman $500, 000.

First of all, we can well see that Norman has a failing business. When one goes from a state of great wealth, to one of poverty in a relatively short amount of time, you know that there is a problem that must be resolved.

So, what was the problem?

The problem was not that Norman didn’t have the original funds to make the newspaper work; he was previously a very wealthy man. No, the problem was in his business plan. It was that his business plan was a failure.

Thus, the first thing Virginia should have done was to investigate his business plan, see that it was an obvious failure, and help him to design a successful business plan.

As it turns out, Edward did have a new business plan in mind. But Virginia didn’t know that. For all she knew, she could have been wasting a great deal of money that could have done a lot of good for the poor people of her area.

Footnote:

Some of you may be wondering why I think that Norman acted stupidly by quitting his advertising for the beer and tobacco industries and by not covering any of the subjectively ungodly important news or gossip.

First of all, while I disagree with his ideology that the Bible says that it would be wrong to advertise for the beer and tobacco industries, if one believes that God is telling them to do so, then one should definitely do as one feels led.

However, Editor Norman earned almost all of his income through those advertisements and through coverage of those “ungodly” reports.

I would argue that instead of going bankrupt, Norman should have sold his business and with his life savings (which were very large) start a new (subjectively) more “godly” one.

A Ridiculous Piece of Utopian Literature

English Lesson 160

As you will all remember from my last post in which I covered several aspects of the very popular socialist utopian fiction novel Looking Backward (written by Edward Bellamy), the main character Mr. West (a man born in the 1800’s) was miraculously preserved in a vegetative sleep for over a century. I left off in my last post discussing the fallacious actions of Dr. Leete. I have now completed reading the book.

This book, as you will see if you complete reading my last post and this one, was a ridiculous piece of utopian literature. However, it amazingly inspired many people of the 18th century (the time in which the book was written) to embrace the concepts of communism. This book was a huge proponent in the rise of the communist ideology.

To bring you up to speed, Mr. West finds that he has fallen in love with Edith Leete. He then finds out that she is the grand-daughter of Mr. West’s old fiancé (the one to whom he was betrothed before he left her behind in the 19th century). He finds that she has also been in love with him…

And so it seems that they will live happily ever after. Then he goes to sleep.

Now he wakes up…except, he is back in the 19th century. The author now informs us that his vision of the 21st century was all merely a dream! Mr. West goes around views his society and the class system therein to be horrendous. It is with new eyes that he lectures and rebukes the men of the day on his enlightenment and the glory that the future can hold. However, the men reject him and are violent toward him – calling him names. Then, all of sudden…

He wakes up. Now the author informs us that he dreamed about having a dream and that the reality was what we would consider the least probable and the most akin to fiction. It is now that he goes and lives his utopian life.

This essay will be my opinion on which of the two “dreams” was more realistic: When he woke up in 1887 or 2000.

I will inform you that it was, in fact, rather disappointing to read that his utopian revelation had been but a dream; and that it was rather relieving to find that his dream of having a dream was a dream. However, it is my opinion that that his dream of waking up in 1887 was much more realistic.

The first reason for why the dream of waking up in 1887 is more realistic is because of the reactions of the countrymen. While Mr. West had been a pushover and simply accepted everything as “the way it is,” the countrymen thought him looney. They laughed and mocked him. Their reaction was a natural, realistic one.

The second reason for why the dream of waking up in 1887 is more realistic is because of the inconsistencies in the plot that had polluted the story thus far. While the novel had managed to convert thousands to the socialist mindset (in real life), it had not only failed to show how the characters in the novel had managed the peaceful, bloodless revolution of the transition from the peak of Capitalism to the alleged perfection of Socialism; it had neglected to include an action step – a call for action – the first step towards achieving the society outlined and portrayed in great detail throughout the book. It made no sense that the wealthy of society would, out of the blue, give up all their riches to the state where the state would re-distribute all the wealth. There was no mention to the steps of the formation of the government, only descriptions of how the government looked once fully formed.

In summary, the dream of waking up in 1887 after his vision of the year 2000 was more realistic than the “dream” of waking up in the year 2000 because of the reactions of the reactions to do socialist idealism and also because of the inconsistencies of the alternative option.