to Appreciate Rightly or Be Praised?, part 3
By Lynette Abel
their father returns, he questions Maria severely and reprimands her for
her lack of discipline. There is a fight between toughness and tenderness
in Captain von Trapp. And as Maria criticizes him, she is trying
to bring forth, appreciate the best thing in him:
Captain. I don't
care to hear anything further from you about my children--
Just as he tells Maria to pack her things and
return to the Abbey, he hears his children singing--a song she has taught
them, and surprisingly he finds himself impelled to join them. Maria's
criticism has encouraged greater appreciation of the world in the Captain,
which includes music and seeing his children with new wonder. They,
too, see their father more deeply, as not just severe, but as tender also.
The Captain, grateful to Maria, apologizes and says, "You were right.
I don't know my own children." And he asks her to stay.
or Resentment: Which Do We Want?
Maria. I know you don't,
but you've got to. Take Liesl... You're going to wake up one
day and discover she's a woman and you won't even know who she is....And
Kurt--makes believe he's tough to hide how hurt he is when you brush him
Captain. I don't care
to hear anything further from you about my children.
Maria. I'm not finished
Captain. Oh yes you are
In his lecture Mr. Siegel says:
"...[W]hen a person fails to
be excited by something that should excite him, he appreciates indifference
too much--so when some people cannot see with any greatness or depth of
feeling what deserves to be seen, it means that something else has been
given too much value."
When the children and Maria encourage the
Captain to sing, his fiancé, the Baroness is resentful and says
wryly "Why didn't you tell me...to bring along my harmonica?" And
the first thing she says after hearing him is "Why don't we really fill
this house with music?" and suggests that Georg give a grand and glorious
party for her. She "fails to be excited by something that should
excite" because "something else has been given too much value"--her narrow
self. The Baroness is not such a bad person, but here she represents
that cheap thing in everyone that resents appreciating anything outside
ourselves. She’s interested in getting glory for herself and is competitive
with many things--including music, the children, Maria. Mr. Siegel
explained to me in an Aesthetic
"There are two desires in a person:
1) ...to glorify ourselves, [and] 2) to care for something else.
They have to be the same thing or else there will be trouble."
An important scene takes place when she and the
Captain are on the terrace of the von Trapp home and a young man, Rolf,
comes to deliver a telegram. Upon seeing the Captain, he stammers
"...Heil Hitler!" Angrily, the Captain takes the telegram and says,
"Now get out!" Baroness Shraeder says, "Georg, he's just a boy."
Seeing that the Captain is troubled, Elsa says in a sultry voice "Hello...
You're far away. Where are you?" Referring to his beloved homeland,
which is being taken over by the Nazis, he says, "In a world that's disappearing,
I'm afraid." She says, "Georg--is there any way I can bring you back
to the world I'm in?" Here she makes a mistake many women have made
with men. What has been seen as romantic--forgetting about everything
but us--is really contempt. And it is here equivalent to saying "So
what if there is a buildup of Nazism--brutality to other people--what does
that have to do with us?" I regret that when I was seeing Mark Statler
at the time he was drafted into the Vietnam War, I didn’t think about his
anguish of having to serve in a war he was deeply against, I only thought
about how much did he miss me. I learned that we cannot possibly
love another person, much less respect ourselves, unless we’re passionately
interested in fairness to all people.
Maria, on the other
hand, who has gone through inward struggles, sees that she and von Trapp
have deep feeling for each other, and they eventually marry. And
when he is ordered to accept a commission in the navy of the Third Reich,
there is no question in the Captain's mind. He says, "Joining them would
be unthinkable, turning them down will be extremely dangerous to us all."
The family escapes, climbing over the mountains to freedom.
As I was coming to
know Michael Palmer, I received, and continue to, the education in what
it means to appreciate rightly a man and the world he represents.
Some questions I was asked in an Aesthetic Realism class by Ellen
What do you want more: for Michael
Palmer to respect himself or for him to show how wonderful you are?
In the lecture Eli
Siegel said “Aesthetic Realism is a course in honest world appreciation[,]…
which means liking a thing by seeing it as it is.” I’m glad to be
in the midst of this course. It makes for great pleasure, pleasure
that is expressed by this song, with which I conclude my paper.
[Play again The Sound of Music]
Do you think Michael Palmer's mind is worthy
material for you to get excited about--something you should be interested
in, concerned about, and educated by all the time?
Do you want to be a beginning point of Michael
Palmer's seeing all human beings more happily and deeply?
to the beginning of paper