Twilight Spotlight: Time Enough At Last

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

image stating basic information about the episode featuring an from the show.

Twilight Spotlight includes a complete synopsis of the episode being discussed. This means spoilers are have been warned.

Henry Bemis, a bookworm who works as a banker, struggles to obtain the proper time to read. Reading at work threatens his employment. His boss seems absolutely disgusted by Bemis's love of books, declaring him a "reader" as if it is the most horrifying thing one could be.

The hatred and disgust for reading is also felt strongly by his wife, who I (and I am sure other bookworms would agree) can easily describe as evil incarnate. She seems to take great pleasure in yanking away his newspapers and smiling as she observes Henry discovering she has marked out one of his books, before ripping the pages of it in front of him.

Just an evil, sadistic woman...
The next day at work, Henry decides to continue to put his job at risk by hiding in the bank vault to eat his lunch...and finally read a little. Just as he gets comfortable, tragedy occurs.

A bomb has dropped and humanity is gone (or at least in the area Henry lives). Bemis's so-called "disgusting" habit has spared him. He struggles to deal with his new, solitary way of life and after discovering a gun in the rubble of a store, decides to take his own life. However, just before pulling the trigger, he looks around and realizes he is in front of what is left of the local library.

He goes from pure happiness...
Suddenly, he realizes he at long last has plenty of time to read, plenty of books to read, and no one to bother him about it. While reaching for a book on the ground, one of the cruelest possible things happens. His glasses (that he can not see or read without) plunge from his face to the ground, shattering instantly. Henry Bemis is left, alone and surrounded by the thing he wanted the most, with no way to enjoy it.

Even though it inevitably leaves me in tears, "Time Enough At Last" is one of the episodes of The Twilight Zone I have watched the most.  Just imagining living in a world that puts down reading (or "readers") as much as it is done in Henry's universe, makes me feel awful and the wife, specifically, left me feeling infuriated as I could not comprehend how she could be unspeakably cruel to someone she was supposed to love. Then the final moments...ugh. He goes from almost killing himself, to pure and absolute joy...and then absolutely heartbroken (which I must add, Burgess Meredith did a wonderful job with). It is hard not to feel the total devastation. absolutely devasted.
This episode does remind me how lucky I am to live in a time and place that does not regard reading as some horrible, evil, thing. (Although, given the current trend in society of stupidity = popular/good/encouraged, it does make me wonder just how far away we are from Bemis's world becoming our reality.)

I realize that many individuals are indeed teased for reading, usually for certain genres, but in the universe featured in this episode, just the sight of a book seemed to be repulsive to the majority of the characters. Also, while I do not ever recall being bullied for being a bookworm, I will admit to being self-conscious about what I would read for a very long time (Which is another post...coming soon).

Themes: Be careful what you wish for, loneliness vs. solitude, anti-intellectualism, and "dangers of reliance upon technology".*

Emotions Felt:

*quoted from Wikipedia
Gifs: Giffing Anti-Intellectualism in “Time Enough at Last” | bavatuesdaysAnimated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY, and Black And White Actors: Burgess Meredith GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Emotions are from Linear Color Emoticons Icon Pack

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