Monday, August 4, 2014

The Best Tales of Friendship

Before getting into the serious matter of going back to school there is just one last "fun" to be had. Yesterday was a minor holiday that is unnoticed year after year.  That celebration would be called National Friendship Day.  Yes, it is curious that Hallmark, or other greeting card companies for that matter, has not seized upon this and declared that it is unfair that we go about our day on August 3rd as if National Friendship day was just an ordinary summer day.  Well, it may be to some people but not to librarians who look for new ways to get readers to get into a good story.  What better story can there be than about friendship.   Throughout literature there are many tales of friendship that no matter how old readers, the friendships among their favorite characters remain in the memory.  From Children's literature to comics to Classic literature, here are a few of the favorite "friends".

In the category of forever friends which is defined as  characters that when readers think or read about them, they are never separated.  For example,  A. A. Milne's  Winnie the Pooh and his delightful friends, Rabbit, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and Christopher Robin .  If readers come across anyone of these names, the other friends are sure to come to mind as well.  You just can't have Pooh without Piglet and vice versa.   Another iconic friendship that come to mind are The Peanuts.  Charlie Brown is always surrounded by his good friends who give him grief and comfort all at the same time.  Charles Schultz's gang has remained timeless.    Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes are a pair that will never be separated.  Calvin's imagination is inspiring and readers are delighted to be able to join him and his beloved Hobbes on the adventure.

In the category of Classic Children's literature, readers will have to agree that E.B. White's Charlotte's Web portrays the truest form of friendship.   Wilbur finds in Charlotte an unlikely friend who turns out to be his hero.  What are true friends for if they can't save you every once in awhile?   Louisa May Alcott's Little Women portrays the very first friend children have, their siblings.  All four girls have dreams, hopes and fears yet when they lose Jo the reader realizes that each of the sisters will never be the same.    Mark Twain's children's classic makes this list a complete with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.  No matter what era this book is read in, everyone can relate to the two boys who are wholesome,  clever and always getting into trouble.  It doesn't matter if they are together or apart, mayhem is a part of their day.  They could very well be the next door neighbors who always made life a bit more interesting.    Which makes it a delight to visit with them over and over again.

Finally in the Classic literature category,  there are so many to choose but lets begin in Camelot.   King Arthur and Sir Lancelot's friendship was based on trust and respect.  However, when the trust is betrayed all that King Arthur had ever hoped for diminishes before his eyes.   Cervantes, Don Quiote and Sancho were a team that could not be beaten.  Of course,  the windmills,  the fights, and the beautiful Dolcena were all a figment of Quiote's imagination but Sancho is a true friend.  He follows his friend to the end and even begins believing that dreams are not just for dreamers.   If  one is going to be facing unspeakable horrors,  a best friend is in order.    Stoker realized this when he wrote the classic horror novel of his day.  Facing evil is not something one can not do alone.  There needs to be someone to confide in and face the fear together.  Mina and Lucy do just that in Dracula.

There are tons of friendships of other new friendships that will not be forgotten anytime soon.  Some that come to mind are Harry Potter and Ron Weasley,  or  Katniss and Peeta.  As Mark Twain once wittingly observed, "Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience is the ideal life."  Yes indeed. Who could possibly disagree with that statement?
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