Guilty of Dreaming

I am currently reading Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card and came across this quote:

"You had the examination ready," she said. "You were all set to go. You knew that you'd let me do it all along."

He shook his head. "I hoped. I believed in you. I wanted to help you do what you dreamed of doing. As long as it was something good."

She would not have been Nivenia if she had not found one more poisonous thing to say. "I see. So you are the judge of dreams."

Perhaps he didn't know it was an insult. He only smiled and said, "Faith, hope, and love: these three. But the greatest of these is love."

"You don't love me," she said.

"Ah," he said. "I am the judge of dreams, and you are the judge of love. Well, I find you guilty of dreaming good dreams and sentence you to a lifetime of working and suffering for the sake of your dreams. I only hope that someday you won't declare me innocent of the crime of loving you."
-- Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card


Note: I am actually reading this as a book on tape in my car, so these typed words are from dictation. The punctuation and name spellings may be different from what is in the actual printed book.

Pippo was questioning her motivations, forcing her to expose the very core of who she was, and out of that came some powerful dialog. And very intense. You can feel the characters' hatred, fear, anxiety. Card does an excellent job playing up the struggle between the two characters.

I wanted to share every word of this scene here in this blog. Partially, to analyze the dialog from a writer's perspective. But mostly to consider the wisdom of what was being said. Card seems to really be a philosopher at heart, and he's using his story to share something very profound with us without falling into exposition.

Dreams. Something that I crave to follow. And it is my hope in my writing to push people to find their dreams, to follow them, to give them hope, to reach into an empty place deep inside and make that place ache with longing for something more than this world has yet offered.

Which is the very thing that this sentence did to me: "I find you guilty of dreaming good dreams..."

So I want to ask you what Card's character Pippo was asking Nivenia: who are you?

"What I wanted to hear," said Pippo softly, "was the name of what you are rather than all the things that you are not. What you are is the Hive Queen. What you are is the Speaker for the Dead. It is a very small community—small in numbers—but a great hearted one. So you chose not to be part of the bands of children who group together for the sole purpose of excluding others, and people look at you and say, 'Poor girl, she is so isolated.' But you know a secret. You know who you really are. You are the one human being who is capable of understanding the alien mind because you are the alien mind. You know what it is to be un-human because there has never been any human group that gave you credentials as a bona fide homo sapiens."
-- Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

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