Soon: Chapter 1: Flags and Angels and Stars, Oh My!
Well, Christmas may be over for us, but Wintermas is not yet over for the Stepola/Desenti clan.
…Connor kept staring at the Wintermas tree. “Why do you have a flag on top of your tree, Grandpa? My friend Jimmy’s mom says when she was little people put stars or angels on top of their trees. She’s still got some.”
Ranold waved dismissively. “Not in this house. And not in yours either, I hope.”
“Of course not,” Paul said.
Connor climbed into Paul’s lap and wrapped his arms around his neck. Paul sensed the boy’s fatigue. “Why not, Dad?”
“We’ll talk about it in the morning,” Paul said. “Now why don’t you and your sister–”
“But why not? They sound pretty, like they’d look better on a Wintermas tree than an old flag.”
Why does Connor, a child of “36 P.3.,” talk like a 1950’s crew-cutted neighbor of Beaver Cleaver? “An old flag…”
Ranold stood and moved to the window with his back to them. “That flag stands for everything I believe in, Connor.”
“He wasn’t saying anything about the flag,” Paul said. “He doesn’t understand. He’s just a –”
“He’s old enough to be taught, Paul.”
“It’s never come up before, Ranold. I plan to tell him–”
“See that you do! And you ought to check into that mother who’s harboring contraband icons.”
Paul shook his head.
“What’s wrong with angels and stars, Daddy?”
“I promise I’ll tell you tomorrow.”
This passage is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, as I believe the Slacktivist has pointed out with regards to Left Behind, Jenkins does not seem to know how to convey dialogue without constant use of “he said,” “she said,” “he said,” “Paul said,” said…said…said. It’s really boring.
In larger terms, the passage is symptomatic of a huge problem in Soon as a whole: What is illegal and what is not? What is “known” about religion by a general population in a world in which religion has been outlawed for 36 years?
Why is a “Wintermas tree” in Ranold’s home, and why are “Wintermas presents” opened, while he takes deep personal offense at the mere mention of angels or stars?
If religion and “contraband icons” are outlawed, how does Connor, a child of five, even know what an angel is?
These questions will never be answered. Soon is nothing if not extremely confused about what people who have outlawed religion would know, and what they would do.
By the way, a quick Google search revealed more of what I already knew–that some people already put flags on top of their trees, and I’m pretty sure not all of them are evil godless haters like Ranold.
I wonder if Jenkins thinks that Theme Trees, even Patriotic Theme Trees, are not Really Real Christmas Trees unless they have stars or angels on top.