Casabianca…Brave or Stupid ?

So the other day my son and me had a big conversation.

“He was a stupid boy! Why couldn’t he just run away and save his life? Everyone on the deck had left, and his father was dead. He should have jumped off the deck and saved his life.”

I tried to reason with him.

“No sweetheart, he was a brave and obedient boy. He stayed there, because his father had ordered him to be on the deck till he came back. He was disciplined, a true soilder and followed his father’s orders till last.”

” But when he was not getting any answer, he should have used his mind ” pat came the reply.

The next question was, “If it was you, would you have stayed?”

I replied in affirmative.

He gave me a strange look, and told he would have saved his life.

Is this generation gap? I guess!!

When I had read Casabianca as a student, I was in awe of his bravery, but the preteen son of mine feels it was plain stupid to have stayed on a burning deck.

As a child, and maybe even till lately I was ok with others deciding for me. Obedience was ingrained in us. So we would follow the choices imposed on us even if that would be counterproductive.

My headstrong 11 year old is more comfortable with his own decisions, so obviously putting himself I’m danger and risking one’s life in face of death is plain stupidity.

The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle’s wreck
Shone round him o’er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.

The flames roll’d on…he would not go
Without his father’s word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.

He call’d aloud…”Say, father,say
If yet my task is done!”
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.

“Speak, father!” once again he cried
“If I may yet be gone!”
And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames roll’d on.

Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair,
And looked from that lone post of death,
In still yet brave despair;

And shouted but one more aloud,
“My father, must I stay?”
While o’er him fast, through sail and shroud
The wreathing fires made way,

They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And stream’d above the gallant child,
Like banners in the sky.

There came a burst of thunder sound…
The boy-oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strewed the sea.

With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had borne their part;
But the noblest thing which perished there
Was that young faithful heart.

Leave your comments. What do you feel?

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