Friday, March 18, 2016

Heart-breaking Moments in Fiction

Hello, people.  I'm here today with another 'moments in fiction' post.  (My first post like this was written back in November.  You can read it here if you're interested.)  In my last post I highlighted four story snippets which I found to be particularly relatable and true to life.  In this post I want to highlight a few of those emotional scenes which have the ability to grip your heart with an almost literal pain.  (Speaking for myself, at least.)

I've been reading David Copperfield lately--if ever there was a book full of emotion it is that book--and I came across a passage the other day which literally made me groan.  It was that sad.  Afterward I started thinking.  Are there are other scenes in books that have broken my heart in this way?  And the answer was, yes.  So I decided to put together a deliciously sad post for you all to enjoy.  ;)

Seriously, if you're anything like me you enjoy these sorts of scenes.  Because tragedy and heartache make you feel deeply for the characters you're reading about.   And one likes to feel for their characters.  A story would be boring otherwise.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
[Note:  I had to edit a bit of this because it was so long.  Where you see "..." is where I removed a bit of the original text.  Just so you know.]  

As the door closed, little Em'ly looked at us three in a hurried manner, and then hid her face in her hands, and fell to sobbing.
     'Doen't, Em'ly!' said Ham, tapping her gently on the shoulder.  'Doen't, my dear!  You doen't ought to cry so, pretty!'
     'Oh, Ham!' she exclaimed, still weeping pitifully, 'I am not so good a girl as I ought to be!  I know I have not the thankful heart, sometimes, I ought to have!'
     'Yes, yes, you have, I'm sure,' said Ham.
     "No! no! no!' cried little Em'ly, sobbing, and shaking her head.  'I am not as good as girl as I ought to be.  Not near! not near!'
     And still she cried, as if her heart would break.
     'I try your love too much.  I know I do!' she sobbed.  "I'm often cross to you, and changeable with you, when I ought to be far different.  You are never so to me.  Why am I ever so to you, when I should think of nothing but how to be grateful and to make you happy!'
     'You always make me so,' said Ham, 'my dear!  I am happy in the sight of you.  I am happy, all day long, in the thoughts of you.'
     'Ah! that's not enough!' she cried.  'That is because you are good; not because I am!  Oh, my dear, it might have been a better fortune for you, if you had been fond of some one else--of some one steadier and much worthier than me, who was all bound up in you, and never vain and changeable like me!'
'Oh, pray, aunt, try to help me!  Ham, dear, try to help me!  Mr. David, for the sake of old times, do please, try to help me!  I want to be a better girl than I am.  I want to feel a hundred times more thankful than I do.  I want to feel more, what a blessed thing it is to be the wife of a good man, and to lead a peaceful life.  Oh me, oh me!  Oh my heart, my heart!'
I saw her do, that night, what I had never seen her do before.  I saw her innocently kiss her chosen husband on the cheek and creep close to his bluff form as if it were her best support.  When they went away together, in the waning moonlight, and I looked after them, comparing their departure in my mind with Martha's, I saw that she held his arm with both her hands, and still kept close to him.

Oh, this part.  Knowing what comes afterward makes it so terribly sad.  The description of Emily holding on to Ham and keeping close to him as if, yes!  as if he were indeed her "best support".  Oh!  It's painful!  Because it's so true, he was her best support; he was a place of safety and protection and goodness.  And she knew it.  She knew the protection and love Ham had to offer her; and it's so sad to see how she instinctively clings to it, even while preparing to throw it from her.  Ahhh!  Why Emily?  Why?  You and Ham could have been happy together.  I know you could have, if you'd chosen to.  But human nature is a complicated thing, and too often we fail to comprehend what it is we're throwing away until it's too late to get it back.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

By eight in the morning Edmund was in the house.  The girls heard his entrance from above, and Fanny went down.  The idea of immediately seeing him with the knowledge of what he must be suffering, brought back all her own first feelings.  He so near her, and in misery.  She was ready to sink as she entered the parlour.  He was alone, and met her instantly, and she found herself pressed to his heart with only these words, just articulate, "My Fanny-my only sister-my only comfort now."

Ahhhh. Talk about clinging to another human being for strength and support.  I love how Edmund in his sorrow, and without a second thought, turns instinctively to Fanny for comfort.  His heart-break is so real, and it is evident from the few simple words he speaks that he has full confidence in Fanny's sympathy and understanding.  I love the feelings in this passage!  The desperation and the sorrow, and yet the joy of having one faithful human being to rely on and trust.  Also the fact that Edmund is seeking Fanny for comfort.  It's just...oh!'s just too much!  *sob*

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sam knelt by him.  Faint, almost inaudibly, he heard Frodo whispering, "Help me, Sam!  help me, Sam!  I can't stop it.'  Sam took his master's hands and laid them together, palm to palm, and kissed them; and then he held them gently between his own.

Okay.  Seriously.  This part gets me every time.  The utter hopelessness in Frodo's  voice; his simple, yet urgent cry for help; and Sam's calm and quick response.  Ahh!  Way to wrip my heart out.  Also, I just want to say, that though this is a very short snippet, it's a very powerful one.  Frodo's plea is utterly helpless, and yet looking at it closer there is extraordinary strength hidden beneath it.  The sort of strength which comes from being able to recognize one's own weakness and limitations and to plead for help before it's too late.  (Whoever said Frodo was a weak character?)

Are there any books that are particularly emotional for you?
Do you enjoy tragic, heart-rending scenes, or do you prefer cheerful and happy ones?


  1. The end in Return of the King movie! Waaaaaahhhhhh!!!! *sobs loudly* (I haven't read the books yet. :o ) He is NOT a weak character!! Who could EVER say that????
    -The Girl with the Gold Pen

    1. I knoooow!! So, SO sad. :( You haven't read the books yet? Dear me. Now THAT is sad. ;) Haha. Seriously though, you MUST read them sometime. They're excellent, excellent books.

      I'm glad you agree with me about Frodo! :) He really is a VERY strong character. I may have to do a post on him sometime, because there are some people who say he's weak, and I'd very much like to set them straight. heehee. ;)

      Thank you so much for your comment!!

      ~Miss March

  2. YESSS that scene in Mansfield Park!
    The whole book Rilla of Ingleside (by L. M. Montgomery) is super emotional--tears througout--and it's one of my favourite books ever. In the world (Mistress Pat by L. M. Montgomery is the other of my top two favourites right beside Rilla). I like when things are going well in books, but I might like the tragic, heart-rending scenes better because they make me *feel*. You know?

    1. As you know, I agree with Rae - RILLA OF INGLESIDE MAKES ME SOOOOO EMOTIONAL. :-D Loved this post!

    2. Rae: I know, I know. It's so good, isn't it? Have you read many of Jane Austen's books?
      Another Rilla of Ingleside fan! Wow! I never realized that book was so popular. :) Hmmm...I never heard of Mistress Pat before. What's it about? Is it a sad book, Rilla?
      Oh, I know! The feelings!! :)
      Thank you so much for your comment, Rae! I enjoyed it very much! :D

      Naomi: Haha! I KNOW!!! :D And I had a feeling that would be one of the books mentioned when I asked that question. ;) Aww. Thank you, Naomi!!!

    3. Yes, Naomi, we have talked about it--I'm so glad when people agree with me about things like that, especially when so few people know about them! :)
      Miss March, Yes, I've read all of them at least twice; P&P, S&S, and Emma three times. :) They're amazing. Mistress Pat is the sequel to Pat of Silver Bush and while it isn't as sad throughout like Rilla, it has several heart-wrenching scenes and it is definitely one of those books that makes me FEEL. It's beautiful.

    4. Cool! I've read all of them, too! Jane Austen is an amazing author, isn't she?

      Wow! L. M. Montgomery wrote a lot more books than I was aware of! :) I need to check more of them out!

    5. Yes, she wrote twenty-something novels (and...I've read them all. Of course, they're all amazing. I love L. M. Montgomery so much, I have my own special blog dedicated to her. :)

    6. Twenty-something novels? And you've read all of them? Wow, Rae! You really do like L. M. Montgomery!! ;)

  3. I am familiar with the first and last of these, (as you already know, I'm sure). The David Copperfield one... ohhh... that was so sad. I love Ham, and I always feel ssooo sorry for the dear. *sniffles* And to be honest, Em'ly really annoyed me. WHY couldn't she just be with Ham - everything would have turned out beautifully! Oh, it's so frustrating...
    Return of the King, however, is WAY more gut-wrenching for me. ;) It just grabs a hold of your heart and RIPS IT OUT. Man, those three books are just PACKED with emotion... ESPECIALLY the last one! And that ending... ohh... it's just too good. Tolkien is a genius. That is all.
    ~Miss Meg

    1. YES! Poor, POOR Ham!!! :( I feel SO bad for him. And as for Em''s true, she can be a bit annoying...but, personally, I just feel super sorry for her, too. The whole situation is just WAY TOO SAD! *Sob*

      Oh, it is gut-wrenching, isn't it? I think that part might be the most emotional one for me out of these three examples. It's just...ahhhh! How can three short sentences make you want to cry SO badly? Yep, I totally agree. "Tolkien is a genius." What more can we say? :)

      Thank you so much for your comment, Miss Meg! :)

      ~Miss March

  4. Ohh, Frodo and Sam. :'( I love you two so incredibly much!

    I don't understand why some people dislike Frodo or think him weak. I was telling my brother the other day that Frodo was truly very strong. He was SO consumed with his task of carrying the ring--bearing his burden--a burden I can't even begin to imagine. He did his very, very best. It took all his strength to focus on just putting one foot in front of another...of course other concerns like food, water, and hiding from Orcs fell to Sam. They make a great team. Frodo could not have made it that far with Sam, but then, Sam could never have carried the Ring.

    Sorry for running off with that, but I've been very involved with RotK lately (finished the book, watched the movie...twice...) so I have many thoughts on it. ;) I really need to do a blog post. haha!

    1. Exactly! Frodo is ANYTHING but a weak character! I think some people think he's weak because he wasn't able to toss the ring into the fire at the end, but the truth of the matter is NOBODY could have done it...especially not someone who had been carrying it for so many months! I agree with you, Frodo and Sam make an excellent team! I love those two...and Merry and Pippin...and so many other characters as well. Coming to the end of the book several years ago, I literally felt like I had lost my best friend because the story was over and there was nothing left to read about them. :(

      Haha! Don't apologize! I enjoyed reading what you had to say, and when it comes to LOTR I usually have a lot of things to say myself. So I understand. ;)

      You watched the movie twice? Wow, I guess you must have liked it! And you really should do a blog post sometime! I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on the subject. :)

      Thank you so much for your comment, Natalie! :D

    2. YES! You voiced my sentiments completely. Frodo did an absolutely wonderful job, and no one could have done better. (And, as a side note-did you notice how in the movie Frodo reaches up for Sam's hand BEFORE the ring is completely melted in the lava? I found that very cool-it shows that he did overcome the Ring's power over him. Of course, that isn't in the book...but neither is Frodo falling off the cliff. :P)

      I know. :( I knew that I could read the books over and over again, but I was still sad when I finished them, because there's simply nothing like reading books for the first time. :(

      Heehee, glad you didn't mind! :D

      Well....that's a whole 'nother conversation for another day...;) I did LIKE it, but I didn't LOVE it. There were parts I loved, but as a whole it satisfy me as much as the other two movies did. Not that there weren't things I disliked in those movies as well. ;)

      I definitely will have to do a blog post someday. I'd like to do it soon, but I just don't know how long it will take me to organize my thoughts! :D

    3. That's a good observation. I'd never really thought about that before. True, it's not in the book you said, neither is Frodo falling off the cliff!! :P Really though, movie-makers always have to take things one step further! The book had the perfect amount of suspense and drama, but that wasn't enough for them. No! They just HAD to make Frodo fall over the cliff!" Haha! :P

      Yes, that's true. There's nothing like getting to know characters for the first time. It's amazing how involved you can get in the lives of purely fictional people, isn't it?

      Weeelll, now I'm really curious to know what you thought about it. :) As you know, I have mixed feelings about those movies myself. I enjoy them, but there are some changes they made from the books that I find very hard to swallow. And I admit, I do have a tendency to pick them apart quite a bit. you said "that's a whole 'nother conversation for another day." ;)

      Oh, I totally understand about the whole organizing your thoughts thing. Sometimes I have so much to say I can't even begin to write it. Or I begin to write it, but I can't finish it. (Haha! I currently have 16 posts in my drafts. Is that a little crazy, or what?) Anyhow, I hope you can write the post soon, but I understand if you can't. Really, there are just WAY too many posts to write and not enough days in a week!! :D

    4. I know! It never fails to amaze me what movie-makers decide to change. For instance....why did Denethor have to run off the side of the cliff? Was the book's version of his death not horrible and "thrilling" enough? I feel like that change just made his death rather...silly. :/

      Yes! It is amazing...and also a little sad when you have to remind yourself that they AREN'T real, no matter how real they may seem. haha

      I'm sorry to keep you in suspense of my thoughts! I really do want to do some LOTR posts...I just know that it will be a lot of work, because I have a lot of thoughts. ;) We'll see when I can gather the courage to start such an immense project! :D I'm so glad you understand and relate! I start and never finish posts alllll the time. And guess what? I have 19 posts in my drafts file! So feel proud of yourself. Your folder isn't quite as crazy as mine. ;) (Although, I probably won't ever finish some of those posts! haha)

    5. Haha. Yeah. There's definitely a limit to the amount of drama and suspense one can pack into a scene; and if you add too much it just becomes ridiculous! :P I agree. They certainly didn't need to make Denethor run off the cliff! The book had it right from the beginning. I guess they were just having too much fun using all their special effects. haha.

      I KNOW!! It's so sad that certain fictional characters can't be REAL! :(

      Oh, don't worry, I'm not in a horrible suspense; and I totally understand what you mean about getting up your courage for such an immense project. There are certain LOTR posts that I'd like to write sometime, too, but as you said...there are just WAY too many thoughts. It's going to be a job to get them organized. So, yeah, take your time. There's no rush. :)

      19 posts?! Wow! I guess I'm not doing so bad after all. ;) (Heehee.) (And yeah, there are some posts in my drafts that I'll probably never finish either. Ah, well. So it goes...)

    6. Haha, "too much fun using all their special effects" is exactly right! :D

      Very much so. :( I actually was slightly depressed about that the other day....usually I retain a very good balance between reality and fiction, but I had just finished rereading a favorite book ("With Every Letter" by Sarah Sundin) and was just rather sad that it (and a lot of my other favorite characters and stories) was fictional. I'm so thankful that God gives us beautiful stories and characters to enjoy and be inspired by. But, sometimes I guess I need to "step back" and be completely thankful for my REAL life as well. haha ;) Usually I am, but for some reason it all just kind of "hit me" than day. Do you ever feel the same?

      Thanks so much for understanding!

      Hahaha, exactly. I think some drafts date back to when I first started blogging. Oops. :/

    7. Oh my goodness, yes! It's ridiculous how much you can care about fictional characters...and how REAL that feeling is. That's sort of how it was for me when I finished reading LOTR several years ago. I came to the end of it with a literal ache in the pit of my stomach, and the feeling that a very dear friend had just been torn away from me. :( It's crazy. I really love it when a book gets me that emotionally involved, though I must admit it is rather painful. And like you said, sometimes it probably is necessary to just "step back" and be thankful for what's really REAL in our lives, because we don't want to live completely in a make-believe world. Though at the same time feeling sad over a good book being fictional, doesn't necessarily mean you're not thankful for what you have in real life. So, yeah, all that to say I totally understand what you mean, and I'm so glad you understand that feeling, too. :)

    8. I've experienced that ache many times. :( It's very sad, indeed.
      I know! I love it too, although it's always like, "Do I WANT to go through this pain?" haha
      Thanks for the encouragement. :) I'm so glad you can relate and understand!!

  5. Miss March!! I love that you are making these posts a 'thing'! I really loved your post back in Nov. and I'm so glad you have another one here. You have included some excellent picks!

    Oh Ham. :'(

    The Lord of the Rings includes several heartbreaking moments that can really bring me to tears.

    One scene comes to mind off the top of my head and it occurs in Anne of Green Gables when Matthew dies. I have literally cried over that scene. My family came home once to find me crying over it and they were all like: "Cordy, you know what happens!" I was laughing at that point but while I had been reading it was so sad and sweet at the same time! It hadn't mattered that I knew what was coming or that I had read it all before.

    I love when I can connect with the emotions in books!

    GREAT post, Miss March!! Carry on! :D


    1. Aww. Thanks, Cordy. I'm so glad you enjoy these kind of posts! They're fun to do because when I come across a good part in a book I just HAVE to share it with someone...and also, these sort of posts don't require a whole lot of writing on my part--which is a bit of relief sometimes. Heehee. ;)

      YES! Poor Ham. *sob!*

      It really does. That book is full of emotion.

      Haha! That's funny what your family said to you. But, really, it's true. It doesn't matter how many times you've read a book, or how well you know the outcome of the story, it can still make you cry. :(

      Oh, me too!! Seriously connecting with the emotions of the characters, is one of the best parts of reading!!

      THANK YOU, Cordy! Your comment was very encouraging to me. :)

      ~Miss March

    2. Haha, brilliant thought, Miss March. Reference other's writing so that it's not required from you. I say again, brilliant. ;) And I love what you are sharing from your reading! These posts are just perfect! A mix of your thoughts and brilliant scenes. What could be better?

      Good, yay! Cordy likes to encourage! (Why do I randomly slip into third person?!) ;)


    3. Thank you again, Cordy! I suppose I'll have to do more of these posts in the future then. :)

      Oh, I have no idea! But as I do the same thing, perhaps it has something to do with being a 'charming crazy'? ;) Haha!

      Have a lovely day, my friend!

      ~Miss March

  6. David Copperfield! When I read that, I thought, "Nice, now they will be together!" WRONG! But now that I know what happens next, how she never sees him again, oh! You made me cry in bringing it up! Thank you, I don't now why but I like it when books make me cry, I guess I am happy that an athor can write things where I have such emotion. I also cried for Dora, and Mr. Barkis. Thank you for a very moving post!!

    1. I like it when books me cry, too! It helps me feel so much more involved with the characters if I can cry for them as well as feel happy for them. :) Ohhh, yes! Dora and Mr. Barkis! There are so many dear characters in that book!

      Oh, you're welcome! Thank you for your sweet comment! :D