Song of George – Jesse S. Hanson, Author
October 23, 2010 by marthacheves
Song of George – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Within the same week he is released by the hospital and received by the Hennington County Jail, where he is to be held until his trial. That turns out to be a period of eleven months. He learns from his court appointed lawyer that he apparently broke through the glass doors of a Federal Building and vandalized an office there, miraculously avoiding the law enforcement units that arrived within five minutes of the building’s alarm call. To top that off, when he fell into the street the morning following the break in, there was a four-car collision directly related to his fall. At his trial the judge makes it clear to him that although he has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, further complicated with symptoms of severe manic depression, aka bipolar disease (all of which is surprising news to him, he was not aware of having undergone any psychiatric evaluation) he, being a danger to society as well as to himself, and for the multiple and habitual crime of reckless endangerment, as well as destruction of federal property, will be confined to the Wade Federal Correctional Institute; specifically to the mental ward of that institution for a period of five years, the sentence to be evaluated annually after the completion of the first two years.’
You’ve just met George, the prison’s preacher. George as a preacher, preaching to those willing to listen as he attempts to open our eyes and make us understand that we are all living in a material world prison. And there is only one way out, which is through divine intervention. Not everyone agrees that the world is, in fact, a prison, or that there is even much wrong with the world, but it is just the age old conflict of matters of the world vs. matters of the spirit. But George does.
George gets the attention of most of the inmates as he shifts the book back and forth between his hands, sometimes shaking it in a gesture reminiscent of the puritan preachers of old. But they love him and they listen to him. These are facts that Ansel, Jeff and Ozwald learn as they conduct interviews with the inmates on the psych floors of the Wade Federal Correctional Institution.
They are conducting a study hoping to see what care is really being given to the men and women that are declared criminally and mentally incapable of living in society as free people. From my readings of the Song of George, these people are kept mainly in a controlled state of mind which will most likely continue throughout their lives. If and when they are released, they usually reenter the same or another facility of the same design. But, if you look at the incarnation of these men as George does, isn’t that what happens to all of us on the outside too. Are we kept under control by those who govern our lives? I believe George sees every move from one job to another, one home to another and even one car to another as moving from one prison to another. Could he actually be right?
All Things That Matter Press
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