Every Generation’s Quandary: The Perennial End of the World

“Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.”

                                         – Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies

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Roey Ahram. Newspapers. 2012. Flickr.com. Web. Feb 7. 2014

It is easy, mired within the endless problems of the world, to believe the end is nigh. They are the concerns of each consecutive generation, from those that experienced the devastation of World War I to the parents who decried Elvis Presley and Rock ‘n’ Roll to the anxiousness that marked the Cuban Missile Crisis. What seems to spell the end for one generation is, for another, the most promising of beginnings.

The American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote the poem “Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies” as if to illuminate this fact. Until the disappointments of life have lit up, after friends have disappeared and illusions have been cast aside, we can exist in a near state of childhood with hope, however ephemeral and unattached, being easily maintained. It is when the world presses in and we become familiar with its hard truths that this state of belief falls away. Hope becomes something which must be counted and weighed, carried forward like extra coins.

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