The Crossroads Is the Place Where We Might Catch Glimpses of the Road Less Traveled.
What We Do After That, Defines Us! – Jacki Kellum
When I was 18-years-old, I moved to Mississippi and began college at the Univerity of Mississippi. After college, I lived in Mississippi 35 more years. To this date, I have lived longer in Mississippi than anywhere else, but after my house burned there, I moved to the New Jersey Shore.
While I was in Mississippi, I thought that I would never leave that state and that I would die and be buried there, but my circumstances changed. Now, I realize that my time in Mississippi was only My Crossroads.
When I think about Crossroads in Life, I immediately remembered the Crossroads scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou. That movie was filmed close to my home in Mississippi, and this scene shows us a car filled with people who are at a Crossroads, a juncture between two phases of their lives.
The HBO Series Girls is a great portrayal of life at the crossroads that stands between youth and beyond.
Before I finally broke down and watched it, I had avoided the HBO Series Girls for quite some time. It had appeared to me that the drama would be another desperate dose of Jersey Shore with Snookie and her friends. I didn’t see anything else to watch this weekend, and by default, I settled on Girls. In doing so, I discovered a treat. After an episode or two, I was hooked on the series and binge-watched all five seasons in two days, and then I binge-watched it again.
I have written several posts about the Romantic ideal of youth. William Blake and several other Romanticists were proponents of youthful innocence, as opposed to the disenchantment of adults. The HBO Series Girls focuses on a group of recent college grads who are beginning to deal with the disappointments that invariably accompany the young adult’s journey into adulthood.
By the end of season five, it appeared that the main character Hannah Horvath, played by Lena Dunham, will have the good fortune of making a successful passage into the person that she had wanted to become. I am not so very sure about the other girls in the series. I have read that there will only be one more season of Girls, and I fear that some of Hannah’s friends will not make the crossing as successfully as she.
It’s hard to tell someone so young that things don’t always end up the way you thought they’d be. – Ray of the series Girls
One of the nice things about the series Girls is that it is lightly comedic.
Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything. – Kurt Vonnegut
Generally speaking, I do not like comedy; and as I said before, Girls is light comedy. Beneath that bit of lightness, the series speaks several truths–some of them are quite depressing.
No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing someone’s gonna think of to say about me, I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour!-Hannah
In some ways, Hannah comes across as a happy, carefree person; but in other ways, we are allowed to see that she is anxious, self-conscious, and afraid of failure.
At the beginning of the series, Hannah is totally dependent upon her parents for both monetary and emotional support. She is still a child. By the end of season five, Hannah has fallen several times and has somehow managed to land on her feet–not because of her parents’ support, but in spite of it. Several things seem to indicate that Hannah has begun to journey down the Road Less Traveled–into her authentic self.
Marnie is one of the other girls in the series. While stumbling around on her own crossroads, Marnie slips into a marriage–it would seem by default. Naturally, the marriage does not work.
Marnie: I don’t want to be married to you. It’s not even your fault. I mean, yeah, you’re an asshole, but it’s really not your fault. I just… I knew I shouldn’t have married you. I just didn’t want to give up on yet another dream.
Desi: What are you talking about?
Marnie: I just don’t know who I am right now. I’m like a ghost of myself. I don’t know what I’m doing here or anywhere else. But I don’t want to be married to you.
Marnie’s mistake is that of trading one type of dependency for another–a crippling type of marriage. By the end of season five, Marnie gets a glimpse of the realization that being hooked at the hip to someone else is not really what she needed–at least not what she needed at that time. For a short while, Marnie seems to realize that she needs to learn to walk alone before she marries.
Look, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I think I knew we were going to get divorced before we even got married. I was just really scared of what it was that I knew that I needed. I think that what I need is to be… Alone. – Marnie on Girls Series
At the end of season five, Hannah is shown walking alone down a path. She is excited about the journey that she has begun and begins to jog into the camera’s close focus. She is happy. Along the way, Hannah had discovered that her parents were not perfect and that her best move was beyond them–also Alone, for now.
None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone. – Thomas Carlyle
At the end of the season, Black Hole plays.
While Marnie immediately slips into yet another co-dependent relationship by the end of season five, Hannah is truly Alone and there is “nowhere else that she wants to be — Alone on a Bicycle Built for Two” – Black Hole.
The music of the series Girls is incredible and significant to understanding what is going on. As I said before, I don’t generally care for comedy, but the light comedy of this series is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Yet, Girls is more than comedy. On a whole, Girls is not dark, but it is penetrating. Like the song Anchors Aweigh, it is a labyrinth–a journey in itself.
I am not quite sure what Michael Penn was saying in every stanza of his haunting song Anchors Aweigh, but the final lines of the traditional Anchors Aweigh summarize the essence of the series Girls:
Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.
Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam, Until we meet once more.
Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home
As I said before, the series Girls is a dramatic portrayal of the crossroads of four girls who have graduated from college. It is the time between their youths and what they will become. To confirm that this is merely the story of the crossroads period, we have been told that season six will end the series. The series has no intention of following these girls into adulthood. The jury is still out on whether or not all of the girls will make it “Home” during the remaining season, but Hannah seems to be headed in the right direction. She seems to be pursuing her own dream and to be doing so on her own terms. She has learned that before she can be part of a team, she has to be herself. She has begun walking along the Road Less Traveled.
©Jacki Kellum August 20, 2016