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Lentils and Lilies

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Like Coleridge and Wordsworth before her Jade is in opposition to the society in which she lives. And like the romantic poets she perceives herself as something special, something more than just the usual girl. She sees her future self as a career woman with a degree in Business Studies and Marketing – a very materialistic dream one could add. But she does not want to be just any career woman, she is going to be the only one capable of managing both a demanding job and a possible family. She has not decided whether to have children yet but if she does she and her husband is going to raise them in an atmosphere of love and understanding.

It goes without saying that Jade is a very complex person. Her dreams are both of relative wealth and of a happy little family. The two things do not necessarily shut out each other but a lot of people in Jade’s world who has tried to combine them – including her own mother – have failed.

Like mentioned Jade is very aware that she is special. She is completely undeterred by the fact that her mother, like most other career women, are incapable of maintaining a healthy family life. She only has criticism to spare for those who do not manage both career and family.

Jades disapproval of her mother might be entitled. Through the story we are given the impression that her mother is a very strong personality. We are not told a lot about her father. Only that, “It was no wonder Dad was like he was.” Along with the fact that she runs her family like a “military campaign” it might suggest that Jade’s mother subdues both her husband and her kids, thus not living up to the standards set by Jade.

When Jade meets the distressed mother and her accident-prone child she sees another aspect in the life of a mother. An aspect she has never thought of: When life does not turn out exactly like planned. When one of your kids is screaming for a bottle and another is stuffing things up her nose, life seems to hate you.

The fact that sometimes you are not able to fully control your life has never occurred to Jade. She cannot comprehend it and it scares her. And even more so as she the minute before was so occupied with the optimistic daydreams of her perfect life. Even though she only senses that perhaps her dreams will never be anything more than dreams thus not getting the full impact, she still turns her back to the whole situation.

Or perhaps it is reality itself she refuses to acknowledge. While in dreams both food and flowers are fresh and have a sweet smell, in reality lentils are cold hard beans that get stuck in your nose and flowers dies down. It is no real match. Anyway she leaves the house with the sharp remark that her, “mother’s got four (kids). And a job,” and returns to her dream world, running through the spring as confident in herself as before.

Perhaps that is very typical of the youth, wanting it both ways. We live a protected life. Not until adolescence do we have to make any decisions at all. And not until we get our own lives – without the supervision of parents – do the choices we make have any real impact on our lives.

Jade is about to discover that. Right now she has made no commitments, not even to her parents, and as soon as she has finished school she is actually free as a bird – to use a clich�. She is free to run whenever something bothers her. It could be a child with a lentil up its nose, the boring exam revising, everything. That will change as soon as Jade commits herself to someone or something. Then she assumes responsibility for her own acts. Like everyone else she will find her place in the existing society with all its flaws and errors. Or will she? No one can tell.

While the romantic poets did not occupy themselves with the society they sprung from, their individualistic attitude to life nevertheless had a tremendous influence on the Western world in the centuries that followed. Perhaps Jade will follow their footsteps. Perhaps she will be the one person that is able to resist the customs of society that “lie upon thee with a weight, Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life,” perhaps she will be exactly the career woman and housewife that she dreams of.

A qualified guess would be that she fails either one of the quests she has given herself. Most likely it is going to be her family that she lets down. The last sentence “She (…) started to sprint, fast and light, as quick off the blocks as Atalanta,” along with her desire to be noticed and her general introspection suggests a quite lonely life.

Although I do not believe that Jade will achieve all her goals I agree in her criticism of modern society. It is not healthy for a kid to be raised by either au pairs or single parents. The view of a child is not as complicated as an adult; they are more susceptible to the world around them, and it gives the child an awkward view of the world that might actually last through adolescence. I do not know how to solve this problem, if it can be solved at all. Perhaps it will just go away by itself.

The next generation to get married – mine that is – is a lot more monogamous than our parents was when they had our age. Or at least that is what surveys say; naturally I cannot make such comparisons myself as I no one had even thought about me when my parents went to school. But if that is the tendency it suggests that the problem solves itself.


The main character of Lentils and Lilies is Jade Beaumont, an upper secondary school senior. It is just before the summer holidays and she is on her way to a job interview. She looks back at her childhood and dreams of the life that she is going to live.

With the help of an au pair her parents has managed to raise four kids but in Jade’s opinion it has been with all the love of a military campaign. There is no way she is ever going to live like that. After a sabbatical year she is going to go back to school, get a dream career and possibly raise a couple of perfect children. Suddenly as she rounds a corner she finds herself in the middle of a crisis.

A child has stuck a lentil up her nose and her mother is very distressed. Right away she assumes that Jade will help and they step into the mother’s house. As they try to get the seed out of the child’s nose the mother’s story unfolds. It is exactly the kind of life that disgusts Jade: Stressed, problematic, and clearly not perfect. She decides that the woman has brought it over herself and thus she has to mind her own problems.


You cannot tell from looking at them. But as soon as they write or eat it becomes obvious to everyone – they are left-handed.

Throughout history they have been forced to become right-handed and even though things have changed some there are still a lot that suggests certain discrimination.

Approximately one tenth of all people are in fact left-handed but still there are only few tools manufactured specially for them. At any rate that was the situation until recently where a shop opened north of Copenhagen with the purpose of dealing in practical tools for left-handers.

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