At the end of the story of Trent, members of the clergy outside of the town try and find out what happened during the jewish ritual murder trial. Dei Guiduci tried to find evidence that the trial was incredibly unfair. He knew something was wrong with the entire situation. It’s heartening to know that even at during such a dark time period, there was someone who would stand up for the oppressed. It may not have come to fruition, but it’s a nice change of pace from hearing how oppressed the Jewish people were during this time, and for generations before and after. It was interesting that a group from the clergy itself was willing to stand up for justice. In opposition to that, it was amazing how strong the cult of Simon really was. It really was what you would expect a cult to be like; to put it lightly, extremely fervent. It’s interesting what an accident involving one small boy can insight within an entire group of grown adults. Sometimes I think people really just need something to believe in, no matter what it is, or how it hurts other people.
When we first started talking about the concept of Jewish Ritual Murder, I was surprised by how little I knew about this phenomena. I honestly had never heard of it before. I think that’s what shocked me the most. Reading about how easily people would believe such heinous things, like in the town of Trent, was kind of shocking. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the beginning of the novel was the expectation of the Jewish families. As soon as they found the body of little Simon, the Jewish families knew what they would be accused of, even though Jewish ritual murder wasn’t a common ‘accusation.’ It was almost sad that they didn’t expect more. That says a lot for the state of society of the time.
When I think of disabilities, I think of my cousin. My cousin is autistic, and it was likely that she could have grown up in aided classrooms being mocked by the people around her. Her level of autism is not something you can hide from people. Talking to her for five seconds you realize that she is a little different. She was lucky though. Her parents are, I think, the most supportive people on the planet. They do so much for our entire family and they’re on the other side of the country. Back to the main point though. Most people with autism find it incredibly difficult to get through life without being viewed as dumber or lower. My cousin is an exceptional person. She got through high school entirely without being in a special education classroom once. She graduated with the rest of her class, around people that know how amazing she is, aside from her disability. Her parents made sure she grew up being treated the same as everyone else, expecting just as much from her as her younger sister. Most people who interact with her, unless they’ve never met her or her family before, automatically assume she is so different. But she proves that the stigmas associated with disabilities aren’t always completely accurate, and most often aren’t. When I see or hear people making snap judgements about people because of a disability or something of that nature I think of my cousin. She refuses to let any stigma bind her.
I was a little hesitant going into reading this, as it seems like just a history of social structures, which can be dry. I thought from the title that it would have something to do with the Black Plague too, which was kind of misleading. I really enjoy the writing though. The way Huppert moves fluidly from one social structure to another is very interesting, and I think it’s fascinating to look at these different societies.
Sennely I think was the most fascinating of the towns. Everyone around them looked down on them as so unhealthy, but really they knew what they were doing, and sustained themselves better than most other towns. They understood the concept of population control. Cultures today don’t even get that. They consciously made an effort to not exceed the little amount of food they had. That whole section was really fascinating actually. It says a lot about the things they gave importance to; not happiness, not health, not love. Survival. Survival was the only thing that really mattered, and they ensured that generations would survive. Genius really, although not the most health-effective. But when you don’t live so long anyway, who cares?
I’m particularly bad at making decisions, so when the question of capital punishment comes up I’m not always sure what to say. Capital punishment is a scary thing. Theoretically, how can any one group of people, even if it’s a government, take a person’s life in their own hands? Even if a person is convicted of something terrible, that is worthy of killing them for, how can you be absolutely sure that the person is guilty. There’s just so much controversy and so many questions surrounding capital punishment I can’t honestly agree with it. Who has the authority to inflict death on someone? and does enforcing capital punishment make you no better than the person being executed?