|A to Z Challenge Here|
In the words of Mark Twain in the very last sentence of his book, Joan of Arc:
"Taking into account ...all the circumstances — her origin, youth, sex, illiteracy, early environment, and the obstructing conditions under which she exploited her high gifts and made her conquests in the field and before the courts that tried her for her life, — she is easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced."
I agree with Mark Twain! What I have always found intriguing about “Joan of Arc” is what she did in the time that she did it. I’ve read lots of articles, seen films, and read books about her, and most of these center time and again on the politics of the time and the battles and what she did (ca. 1412-1431), but not so much about what kind of person she must have been to do what she did.
|From a computer game about Joan of Arc|
History is always a little more gray than black and white. There are always interpretations of any given subject that agree or deny, or create whole new stories, compared to others. Jeanne D’Arc herself has gotten lost in the gray mix.
|Still from 1928 "The Passion of Joan of Arc"|
If I could go back in time (don’t we all wish we could!), I’d like to see what kind of person she was, not watch her crusade, but see her, and why she was able to do what a 16-to-19 year old girl (in that time a woman, not child) could do in a day in age that virtually made what she did impossible.
She became known as "The Maid of Orléans" (La Pucelle d’Orléans), but was a young woman seemingly loved by her "middle class" parents, brothers and sisters, and a relatively, as far as anyone knows, “normal” upbringing at the time, who goes out on her own into “the world” at the age of sixteen to take on the English army after hearing divine voices.
|Statue in New Orleans (Looks exactly like the one in Paris!)|
How much braver can you get? And what happened? Consistently upholding her self and her story, she is betrayed by everyone, literally. How incredible is it that she made vows and stuck to them, fought alongside men, was alone in being a woman among all those men and yet they listened to her and gave her success? And then at the end of her life as we know it, even though forced to sign papers that she clearly didn’t believe in, though tortured, betrayed, disavowed, and some say, raped, she still remained true to her self and her God, her mission.
|Statue in Toulouse, France|
Her character must have been so very different from anyone else. She must have been one of those rare people who believe so much in who they are and what they are doing, that other people on earth simply cannot understand that very difference. Everyone has an “agenda,” right?
I think, after all, that her agenda was exactly what she said it was.
Though I will never know exactly what happened back in her day, I admire her spirit, her truth, and her steadfast loyalty to her self and her cause.
|Statue in Paris France|
Weird Things You Didn't Know About Joan of Arc
(IMO, should be taken with a grain or 10 of salt...)
Hollywood Film Version
Joan of Arc, Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen
Missed some of my A to Z 2019 posts? Well look no further...
L'Isle-Adam Island of Adam