“Romantic Europeans can also praise the wilderness of desert and wild places, but they know that they are at most a walk of a few hours to a comfortable inn: they can celebrate the joys of solitude, but they know that at any time They can go back to the family roof or in the city, and over there, cousins, grandchildren, uncles and aunts, clubs and lounges continue the usual life just as they left them. The true desert, the solitude that does not know lasting relationships to cultivate or to reject, can not even conceive it.” ~ (W.H. Auden, “The Shield of Perseus”)
“It was supposed to be Tuesday yesterday. Now there is a beautiful light on that large, latent stream, and Snæfell is blue as blue ink (or paper), and white down to the south, and there is always and only the sound of current and wind. There was a shower today, so I read a saga about this area as long as it was dry enough to weed and pack hay.”Here is the idyll that we were looking for, just change your gaze. While true: there is, at the bottom of Independent People, the intention of smiting, ridiculing the Icelandic ideal of the small independent owner, of the solitary colonizer of lands. In its place, Laxness would like socialism. For this reason, the representation of the spiritual and material misery of the characters is so raw: only the union of forces—suggests Laxness—can have the best of such an overwhelming nature. But the fact that the vision is partial does not mean that the things seen, the things told by Laxness are fantasy (the thirty years separating Mary Young from the characters of Laxness have made Iceland’s life much less fatigued and laborious) And one of the pleasures that you feel by reading Independent People is just the pleasure of disgrace, the kind of pleasure you experience when you look at one of those docu-fictions who survived an air disaster on the Andes, or in the desert of the Gobi: not be there not to be like to see them suffer, to wonder what else can happen to them, and how they will get away - it’s almost voyeurism.
“Just a year before was a girl with red cheeks that evening she washed and dressed in their best clothes. Suddenly he had become a woman dressed in old tattered burlap rags, limp and gray face, the sparkle had gone from his eyes, the color from his cheeks, the grace by the movements…”Believing in dreams and dreaming of flesh, milk; eat fish scraps, coffee drinking watered down, make yourself last a lump of sugar for a week, make a meal a day, two in the religious holidays, a steak twice a year; Cod liver oil instead of milk for infants; The rich who spit on the earth in the house of the poor; Drown in the river, drown in the sea; Female daughters like a curse; Always lick me in all the rooms on all the clothes; Not to talk to anyone for days, for weeks; To see no more than fifty people in life; Living on an island and never having seen the sea; Die of typhus, die of cold lost in the heath; black teeth from tobacco, a baby's blue face from scrofula, sleeping four on the same plank, have five sons and see three of them die, eat grass because there is nothing else to eat, have chronic hives, chronic cough, chronic toothache, chronic aerophagia, wash only at Christmas, stop washing when you become old…
“What most touched the heart, the bottom of my heart, and filled with primal emotion, enough to feel that they can embrace everything, were the verses Pain that arises in the heart when dreams have not come true, and on the beauty of this pain. Poetry on the ship lying on the shore of the cold autumn sea, that was his poem; and the bird trying to crouch in some shelter, featherless, who was also in the autumn, which in bad weather is anxious and lost song and the way [...] - all this she understood it well.”But they are moments. The fisherman starts off and will not come back again. Ossian speaks of loves of whom Ásta Sóllilja will not experience. The winter begins again.
“It is for this reason that its charm is so strong for all those who feel isolated (and who sometimes do not feel that way?) An inner voice continually suggests that the human isolation in which individualism has placed us is painful and, in the end, tends towards a life of animal apathy and mental upheaval. Defoe confidently answers that solitude can be the arduous prelude to the fullest realization of all our potentialities.”Well, Independent People give strength precisely to that inner voice that warns us not in favor but against loneliness. Laxness takes the pedagogical dream of Rousseau and drops it into the concrete case of Icelandic moorland. The result is not the natural man, Emilio grew free in the harmony of nature; The result is Bjartur.
He jumped out of bed. He did not even dare to put on his clothes, walked around the room with his arms outstretched, his chest half-naked, pale for insomnia, his eyes glittering, crazy. He advanced tensile under the arch in the indefinite light of the morning, and pulled out of a punch the Bjartur scythe wrapped in a linen sheath, carried it, brought it under the window, looked at the blade, tried it on the hair. Then he went downstairs. The sheep jumped terrified for the room from one wall to the next and the woman followed her, flailing in tools and ropes that had fallen to the ground during the night turmoil, but she was no longer afraid, no weird idea could hinder the decision Had taken, and after some pursuit he managed to grab the beast ...
At that moment [after the killing of the cow] it was all over for Finna of Sumarhús, this woman of a few words, music lover, who had given birth to many children for the independence of the nation, but also for the death. It was good. He had friends among the elves. But her heart had long pulsed in fear. Human life? It was as if human life came back to look for its principle at that time. She bent her knees and turned to the old Hallbera in absolute silence, abandoning her as impalpable dust in her mother's womb.