Mood: not sure
Topic: "Friendly Persuasion" (5)
Frodo is not naive. He did, however, grow up believing that the world was a lot like the topic Gary Cooper film. It was not until some outside force interrupted peace and tranquility with mortal danger that the musket was removed from its spot above the fireplace mantel. Once the threat was vanquished, there would be plenty of time to consider the response, and to seek forgiveness for the violence that ensued. What mattered was that the musket would be returned to the same spot above the mantel, and that the victory would be remembered as much for its cost, as for its reward.
Frodo laments the loss of Gary Cooper. The community is not the same, tolerating behavior and response which gives rise to violence as opposed to an unalterable avoidance. It thus became acceptable for the community to strike first, believing that the soldiers camped down by the river were soon to do the same, and that "turning the other cheek" would be fatal. The words shared in the Meeting House no longer guide the community.
Anthony Perkins, in his first film, found himself justifying acts which were taken to reduce the potential of future threats to the community. Despite the community resolve to follow the values upon which each and every homestead had been constructed, unspeakable, nay, inhumane, acts were tolerated, as necessary. Many, many days would pass before any would again stand in the Meeting House to decry the fact that violence was initiated without regard to the very canons of community. Acts of violence had been tolerated, even against those unable to defend themselves.
Frodo grew up believing that all Americans were like Gary Cooper and his family, and that all of us shared in that community. When Gary took that musket down, he did so with the intent of destroying that which first struck, but only after he had exhausted every peaceful means of resolution. When the fighting was over, the vanquished were treated and offered the opportunity to become a part of the better community. The Meeting House then became the community forum for forgiveness, compassion, and salvation.
Frodo wearies of talk about torture. Justification and denial of responsibility are characteristic responses to violence and cruelty. For those who justify acts of violence there is no mention of "doing unto others." For those who deny responsibility for violence and cruelty, there is an uncanny reflection of Pontius Pilate and a bowl of water.
Funny it is that there is no reference by any of these to the values of the Meeting House. The reference is only to saving lives. Souls, Frodo supposes, are something we lost when Gary Cooper died.