The title of this blog post is a quote by actor Christian Bale as “Jim” in the movie “Empire of the Sun”.
This is probably the most amazing line in the entire movie. It summarizes the entire 2 hour movie, in just one little sentence. “Empire of the Sun” (if you haven’t seen it) is a phenomenal film about a little boy, “Jim”, who gets taken to a Japanese prison camp after being separated from his parents while trying to evacuate Japan.
This line rings in my ears every time I hear it.
As he says this line we see the horror that this little boy has been exposed to, is finally registering in his young mind. He understands at the end of the movie, that there is more to living that just surviving.
As pilots are flying, soaring in the sky in their majestic machines zooming over the camp, we see Jim salute the Japanese soldiers who are tearing his world apart. He bows to the Japanese soldiers to keep himself, and his friends safe. Jim learns quickly how to survive, and at the same time begins to express a deep admiration for these flying soldiers. In the scene pictured above, we see the young boy in Jim coming out in complete adoration for this loud metal machine.
We see his childhood slip away till the end of the film where we find him a young man who has seen more than most adults, and understands the horror of war and death. Air planes are still every boys dream- but Jim see’s that there are two sides to the glory he sees shooting across the sky.
Even though this was set years and years ago in WWI, we still see this today. I am heartbroken by the things that kids younger than myself are witnessing, and taking part in- all shaping their adulthood in profound ways.
One of these things is pornography. Another is sexual relationships. Still another is cutting and suicide. Teenage pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, domestic abuse, abortion, and on and on.
Much like Jim bowing down to a Japanese soldier to survive, the adolescents of this world are doing the same. Bowing down to any number of things because of peer pressure, or because they know nothing different. Because they are afraid of what they would be without it, or simply because they find it glorious- Just like Jim when he stroked the cold metal of a plane, unaware of the damage it has caused and would cause.
It is such a sad thing that this line from a movie is not so fictional. Kids all over the world could replace “atom-bomb” with numerous words representing countless dangers, they should never have been exposed to (Though “atom bomb” is just as applicable).
I pray that despite all of the “new words” the children of this world are learning, they will rise up taking the lessons learned, and change the world.
I learned a new word today… Hope.