Thursday, February 12, 2009

At the Back of the North Wind/Google Books

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At the Back of the North Wind
By George MacDonald, Jessie Willcox Smith
Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
Published by D. McKay, 1919
342 pages


"The book tells the story of a young country boy named Diamond. He is a very sweet little boy who makes joy everywhere he goes. He fights despair and gloom and brings peace to his family. One night, as he is trying to sleep in the loft, Diamond plugs up several holes in the barn wall in order to stop the wind from blowing in. However, he soon finds out that this is stopping the North Wind from going on her routes. Diamonds befriends her, and North Wind lets him ride on her back, taking him on several adventures.

Though North Wind does goods deeds and helps people, she is also does terrible things. In one of her mischievous acts, she sinks a ship. Yet everything bad leads to something good. North Wind seems to be a representation of Pain and Death working according to God's will for something good.

On their adventures, North Wind brings Diamond to the country she lives in; a country without pain and death.Yet, he is brought only in a shadow of the real country at the back of the North Wind. The real country is open for him only after his death. At the end of the book, Diamond dies, finally able to see the country.

In this book, MacDonald touches many theological and philosophical questions, especially concerning theodicy[A vindication of God's goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil.]. Today, it is considered one of his masterpieces."

Appropriate for later elementary and up. A good read aloud for younger children.

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