“I shall pass this way but once. Any good I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Apparently it’s not clear who really came up with this quote (or whatever the Quelle is for it), but it is commonly attributed to Stephen Grellet, a French-born American Quaker missionary.
I memorized it while frying chips as I opened up tortilla this morning at Chipotle.
I just rewatched Skyfall. Q and Bond’s first conversation includes an analysis of a naval painting, an analysis analogizing Bond himself.
The painting is a wooden warship being hauled to the scrapyard by a steam powered ship; Bond is shown throughout the first half of the movie as past his prime, ready to be retired.
At the end of the movie, when the new M is revealed, I noticed another naval painting. There is no discussion on screen of it, but the symbolism is inescapable: the painting is of a glorious line of wooden warships, ready for battle.
One of my college English professors, Dr. Preussner, was big on an interesting aspect of symbolism: “what symbols are significant to the characters within the story?” The symbol of the first naval painting is significant to Bond and Q, as it is to us. The symbol of the painting at the end is lost upon the characters within the story; that symbol is solely ours.
Nevertheless, I assumed it was a relatively simple symbol: Bond is nearly past his prime, but then he shows that he still has what it takes, and is clearly ready for more. But there’s even more.
Judith I Bridgland investigated this Skyfall symbolism scrupulously in her article on 14 November 2012