Why is Grief the Providence of Youth

Providence of youth

In the movie Knives Out, there is an interesting dialogue delivered by the detective Benoit Blanc to the mother of Harlan Thrombey in which he condoles with her for the loss of her son.

  • Why is grief the providence of youth? I don’t know. But I’d imagine that age deepens all feelings. Including grief.
  • This was a long walk to offering condolences for the loss of your son.
  • And asking you, if it isn’t presumptuous of me, not to think too harshly of your family, if I am, as I suspect, the first to console you. They’re young, aren’t they?
  • One thing I assume of age is weariness. Damned if I don’t get more tired every day. Tired of what I do. Following arcs like lobbed rocks, the inevitability of truth. But the complexity and the gray lie not in the truth but what you do with the truth once you have it.
  • I think you have something you wanna tell me. I think you’re very perceptive and very capable of telling me what you saw the night of your son’s party.
  • But I’ll happily wait. I’m in no rush. In fact, I find it quiet pleasant sitting here with you.

The first sentence is particularly intriguing. Why is grief the providence of youth? The hint is in the lines that follow.

There are two meanings of providence in the dictionary. One is the care and control of God or of a spiritual power. I don’t believe that this is the providence Blanc implied here.

The other meaning of providence comes from provision that points towards the act or process of providing.

My guess is that Blanc points towards the fact that youth encounters more episodes of grief in life because like all new feelings, they are not properly accustomed to handling it as yet. The younger the age, the heavier the grief is felt inside. However, as the life goes on, one comes to know the reality that life consistently alternates between good and bad times and nobody can escape their fair share of hardships on the way to the grave. This slowly transforms us from inside and prohibits us from attaching labels to each such episode. In fact, at an old age, a person should become a silent observer of happenings around him. This is probably the state Ms. Thrombey found herself in, and this is what Blanc points towards by saying that age deepens all feelings.

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