The Legend of 1900

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The novel The Legend of 1900 was written by Alessandro Baricco and later featured in a film directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. The novel is a story of a man born in the first class of a huge oceanic liner and abandoned there by his immigrant parents.  His name was Danny Boodman T.D. Lemons 1900 which seemed not to be genuine as it was unusually long. He was soon adopted by Danny who found him in the vessel and as he grew up in this new home he became popularly known by a peculiar name “1900.” 1900 lived in this ship with Danny’s large and loving family as it made it’s to and from journeys between America and Europe. He later developed a great passion as he was lured by the music in the first class hence became a gifted pianist admired by many fans. The main aim of the essay is to evaluate the story of the man with a peculiar name 1900 and his endless life in the ship.

As the ship making its endless journeys between Europe and America, an unusual baby is born.  In my opinion, there is something unique in the way people acquire names in this story. The actual name of the adopting parent, a coal-room worker is Bill Nunn but 1900 is given the first name, Danny, after his adopting father. I have always believed that most of the adopted children are mistreated but I find this surrogate family to give 1900 a happy life. The significance of this is that the child had been fully accepted by this family and hence was to be brought up in an environment that would best nurture his interests in life. It is quite comical for 1900 to have been named after the fruit crate, where 1900 was found lying.

1900 is a man who ended up as a legend and whose life biography would be aggressively sought by many authors and filmmakers. I feel that the naming system adopted by Danny at his childhood, Danny Boodman T.D. Lemons 1900 was almost prophetic that the child would make a history and become a legend hence provides answers that many would ask “Who is this man? Who are his parents?  Where was the man born? Which year was he born?” How did he become so famous in the music industry?

His spontaneous interest in music and ability to play the piano only at the age of eight after wandering into the ballroom seems admirably incredible. I find it difficult to believe that someone can play the piano when being rolled around the room; however, he may be an expert. But that what 1900 can do. In this episode, the Virginia is being tossed by the storm and Max can hardly keep to his feet. How 1900 managed to learn and become such a talented and smart pianist without any information of being anybody’s apprentice to me seems magical. Noticing that 1900 never set his foot on land to interact with other pianists but the people on land whom he separated from think of his music as amazing. I look at the 2000 people whom he meets each voyage made by Virginia and agree with the author’s depiction of the 1900 as an enigmatic figure giving a lifetime’s performance thrilling fans.

I also think that is expected that such a musically talented young man would not have missed an opportunity to love but most importantly to be loved by a number of young and, as it happens nowadays, by older young women. Something else I find fascinating is the manner he has behaved in with one beautiful young immigrant woman in the ballroom by the name Melanie Thierry. He claims that Melanie inspires him to compose hypnotic music using a dilapidated old upright piano making him to reach his most effective scenes which are almost speechless.  This is the woman who became the reason 1900 almost left the ship after all of his variety and richness of musical world failed to make him move to land. This infatuation and the deep love Melanie and 1900 developed actually did promote the quality of music played by 1900.

Melanie inspired 1900 to play; his playing was dedicated to Max that the shopkeeper in the pawnshop likens to that Max plays when he comes to sell his trumpet (The Legend of 1900, 1998). I wonder about the deep friendship that had developed between 1900 and Max. Max forgets his mission of selling his trumpet at the pawnshop and he imagines that 1900 could still be in the ship and determines to go and look for him, trying to find out what is it that makes him unwilling to leave the oceanic liner. What I disagree with is that the author has not given adequate reasons on why 1900 never left the ship all this time, despite his piano was taken away from him. In my experience, I think human beings in their normal existence tend to be explorative and curious on what is happening in the world. For example, the author needed to give a wider scope of such circumstances that would limit individuals in a given space.

My reaction to the story The Legend of 1900 is that the episode has a flow that is incredibly linking each other to address various aspects that impact the development of a person. I agree with the author that the adopting father gave the right names that helped 1900 to develop self-identity. I agree that women have always played a role in the success of men as Melanie led to the success of 1900. Many people in the world find only by shear recognition of their talent and the existence of a favorable environment. I, however, disagree with the author that normal human beings like 1900 would limit themselves to an unfamiliar place, such as the ship.

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