When I heard you were gone, I felt a shadow cross my heart.
Chapter 6 of Ghost Rider, by Neil Peart, left one with a feeling of melancholy, as we read about Neil's continued spiral into loneliness, and although his travels take him to more populace areas within the United States, the feeling of not connecting grows stronger.
To top it off, Neil's best friend, Brutus, caught trafficking drugs lands in jail. This incident becomes a tremendous set back for Neil as he was supposed to meet Brutus in a few days for some companionship.
We also discover that Neil clamors over writers of long ago, such as Jack London and Scott Fitzgerald. When visiting London's old homestead, he acknowledges the futility of death, "They (London and his wife Charmian) loved each other, did cool stuff together, but that didn't keep him alive. Or her, for that matter, though she lived on alone for many years."
We recognize that the quote doesn't just describe London, but it foreshadows Neil's possible future...a very long life, alone without Jackie.
I chose just to do some simple journal writing with the students of West Texas State School. A basic question, "What happened in Chapter 6 that caused Neil to suddenly become sad." The answer, Brutus gets locked up. The question that required some thought, "Do you agree with Neil that the world is a sad, sad place?" Explain.
I got varied responses for the second question, but one reflective response stood out among the rest, "How can you measure the sadness of the world? His sadness comes from his experience, but I don't feel that the world itself is a sad place. Shit happens, and then you deal with it. If you choose to shut down and give up, then you might as well just die, what's the point to continue on in your sadness? I'm locked up, but I got to make the most of it. Maybe I'll just fake it to make it or maybe I'll learn something and change myself, I'm not sure yet."