Last night, I read Chapter 6 of Stephen King’s The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition. This chapter had a lot of good discussions. Fran Goldsmith talks with her father, Peter, and she tells him that she is pregnant.
In the course of this chapter, Peter comments on different topics. One is Social Security. Although he’s a Democrat, he essentially portrays Social Security as a Ponzi scheme (only he doesn’t use those words), for he doesn’t trust the government, plus Social Security has broken down “under recession, inflation, and the steadily increasing number of people on the books” (page 53). He also talks about how retirement is not a “never-ending vacation” for everyone, for some are bored, and some are poor in retirement. For example, there was Paul Caron, who “hardly ever missed a day at the shop in his life, and yet he and his wife had been forced to sell their house and move in with their daughter and her husband” (page 53).
Peter also humbly offered his opinions on abortion. He said that he was pro-life because his son died years before, plus he believed that abortion cheapened life. Fran, however, said that she was against abortion because she felt that the baby was a part of her.
There was also the issue of becoming rigid with age. Fran’s mother was extremely conservative and judgmental, and Peter notes that she was not always like this, for there was a time when she laughed with him on dates. But he speculates that she became this way after their son passed away, and she held on to whatever ideas she could. Peter also remarks that he does not judge Fran and her boyfriend, Jesse, for “Sixty-four has a way of forgetting what twenty-one was like” (page 56). Another issue was compatibility: Fran realizes that she does not want to marry Jess because she breaks out laughing at times, whereas Jesse is much more serious.
The topics of this chapter reminded me of different things: Rick Perry’s comments on Social Security being a Ponzi scheme (and, in reference to that, see Terri’s post here); George H.W. Bush’s 1988 defense of the pro-life position by appeal to Robin, a daughter of his who died when she was young; and the times when I have seen older people choose not to judge young women who become pregnant outside of marriage because they remember what being young was like.