Saturday, April 07, 2012

Little Men Continues the Virtuous World of Little Women

Some months ago I read Louisa May Alcott's Little Women for the first time.  I do like it as a moral tale.  I nominated her as a possible American equivalent of Anthony Trollope.

Today I read Little Men.  It is also a fine moral tale.  Since it is set in a school, it is full of opportunities for explicit moral instruction.  Most of these do not take place in the classroom, but in developing the characters of the boys (and some girls) in their interactions with one another outside of class. The charm is in the mild and humorous incidents.  The deep appeal of the novel, though, is about the shaping of good character.

In the comments on my post on Little Women, it was offered that we shouldn't compare Alcott and Trollope, since one was writing children's literature and the other adult literature.  The more I think about this distinction, the less I think it holds up.  I think what the authors have in common is more important than the age of the subjects they write about or for.  They are both portraying a God-ordered world in which good character and good conduct are right and true, and in which those who do right can be happy, whatever their worldly fortunes might be.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

You Still Have Only a Slim Chance to Have Your First Baby in Your Forties

The number of women in their forties trying Assisted Reproductive Technologies of all sorts has gone up dramatically in the last few years.

The proportion who succeed, though, has not.  The Yale Fertility Clinic puts the success rate after 42 at 9%, where it has been for some years.

Yet many women coming to the clinic, who are highly educated and well-informed about many other things, have only a vague notion that fertility declines dramatically in their thirties.  They are often surprised, even offended, when told that they waited too long.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Good News From Burma

I am so encouraged by developments in Burma.  The military government seems to be gradually letting go.  They allowed 45 by-elections to go forward - not enough to control parliament, but enough to create a base for the previously banned opposition.

And the great news: Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nelson Mandela of Burma, was elected to parliament, and her party won 40 of the 45 seats.

We may see a free Burma within a few years.  And if President Aung San Suu Kyi tells me to call the country Myanmar, I will happily comply.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Manhattan Singles are a Life Stage, Not a Lifestyle

Eric Klinenberg, in Going Solo, notes that half of Manhattan households are made up of people living alone.  New York is certainly the capital of solo living in this country.  But they are not really representative of future trends elsewhere.

Many young people go to New York to try to make it big, or just to experience the cosmopolitan life - for awhile.  Then they pick a more realistic option elsewhere, or marry and move to the suburbs, or run through their trust fund or parental subsidy.

I think the fact that Klinenberg is a professor at New York University in Greenwich Village gives him a distorted view of how common, or sustainable, solo living is.