Essay about The Passing Light by Maryann DiEdwardo and P. Pasda
Read the Kindle Version here:
A book dedicated to those who believe that poverty can be and shall be crushed by the Glory of God and those who love. The Passing Light is Book One of our Pennsylvania Voices Transforming Poverty Series. Multigenerational, multicultural, our book is themed with a myriad of characters who represent poverty in her dimensional weave of sorrow that spans four centuries.
The Irish, Jonathan and his sister Joan who flee Ireland during the Potato Famine build a new life in American with the aid of Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Latinas, and other immigrants. Set in the twenty first century and told by a Polish Jewish Archeologist who finds a diary, The Passing Light tells the story of the 18th 19th and 20th century resilience, courage and faith. When Jonathan becomes blind, he learns to live again with the help of his companion dog, with the miracle of the first service dog as the guide to the human master. Eventually, Jonathan marries but his sister Joan dies in childbirth. As the baby grows, Lily as the adopted daughter of Jonathan will marry a former slave. Harshly bruised by the loss of his real family, through marriage to a white woman, an African American former slave heals a community and the immigrants who dwell with fear of poverty by his generosity and community spirit. We balance the message with the action and develop the semi-autobiographical story teller character Margaret through her creation of secondary characters to represent other immigrants.
Journaling and historical fiction are literary techniques that ignite writers of any age. Teach writing with our novel, The Passing Light, as a method of reaching students who love to keep journals or as a protocol to set up activities that produce writing. Journaling is the basis of The Passing Light. A literary technique like keeping a journal is a great way to teach the process of writing as a daily observation. The writers, Maryann DiEdwardo and Patti Pasda, create a character who represents the narrative voice of the novel to show how journals are the method of writing that reaches the human condition of pain or other emotions. Margaret Cummins is a fictional person who represents the writers and starts most chapters with her voice of imagination while she tries to develop a story based on a diary she found in an archeological dig in Pennsylvania.
Journaling and historical memoir based on keen observation and self discovery are a part of learning to write. A private journal is an alternative to show students how to write as well as a public discussion journal. Educational research is favorable for the private journal as a way for literature students to progress in writing and to succeed in college English classes. A journal is a reflective writing that can be in sentence, poetry, or song lyrics that the student writes or even electronic in nature like a website or CD. Basing a novel on a diary that was part of history is a way to bring history and writing together. Historical fiction combines as memoir in parts of the novel The Passing Light. Remembrance and observation of Pennsylvania life forms the language and development of the text. The writers use keen observation and remembrance to develop the character of Jonathan.
Passages about Jonathan from The Passing Light Chapter One show the details understanding of the use of language to create character. When the authors write, “His big gentle hands buried a good brother three years before. His hands held a beautiful girl’s hand in young love, only to lose her to the fever a year later; his hands carried his young sister high on his shoulders through fields of corn and wheat, laughing and singing at the sheer joy of being…” they use the historical basis of the pain of the Irish Potato Famine to integrate action of the fictional story with remembrance from the past. Use of memory folds into the novel’s action and embeds human strife as a key theme.
In other sections of the first chapter, the writers remind the reader of past connections that are still with the character to form a vision of truth. “Jonathan Strong’s hands held the pain and strength of his historical life that started with cold dark famine in Ireland, the coffin ship ride across the ocean that he survived to come to America, his abusive uncle and running away with Joan, to the myriad of trials that lead him to his own life as an independent citizen of a free nation. He had experienced poverty and abuse as a child and had saved his sister and himself to build a new life in America.”
Recalling the pain of grief is a key component as well. “He felt black reminded him of his Father’s passing and the less he remembered how helpless he felt watching the strongest man he had ever known become ill and pass to heaven the better. But then he realized: Here in this cold vast wilderness not even twenty miles from home, his father’s strength would be with him and the strength of the Lord would protect him.” So the use of the writer’s abilities to use their own imaginations combined with literary techniques form the novel. Also, observation of the Pennsylvania landscape is essential to the novel’s tone. “Jonathan saw that the opening became larger and widened into a much bigger cavern. They would take refuge here, in this beautiful cave with glistening crystals, tall stalactites and stalagmites hanging like chandeliers and rising like fountains. Openings in the cave ceiling caused eerie shadows where the lighting would pass, causing light to channel brought the spaces and over the horses and the man. He could still hear the crash of the thunder and the brightness of the lightening.”
Social justice as a paradigm for the novel resounds with tension and resolution dependent upon the silent resilience of the individual. Equally, hopes and dreams of those who came to American save her from corruption and disruption by evil forces of humans who only seek materialism. But with the understanding of the pain of poverty and the building of community sharing and compassion, the face of poverty is finally crushed by the love of members of communities who believe that life is life, love is all that truly exists, and service to others is the answer to life on earth. Love is the center of existence.

Experience the beautiful Pennsylvania landscape, the wonder of spiritual growth and the peaceful touch of animals while you learn about the quest for God through the stories of immigrants who love family and life itself. A love story, an historical memoir, and a inspirational spiritual tale, a journey that reveals in the simple essence of the human condition, our work transcends time to reach our audience through a unique blend of nature and human kindnesses based on remembrances memories, reference for the natural world and spiritual peace.

Ultimately, The Passing Light, our reaching to the reader for compassionate healing, offers grief therapy as we journey with Jonathan through his life goal of saving his sister Joan then losing her as she dies in childbirth, to raising Joan’s child Lily with newfound renewed hope and peace as he progresses through the grief stages with guidance from the Holy Spirit. In selected areas of chapter entitled with character names and dates of birth and death, we move away from the use of plot and structure to employ stream-of-consciousness to emphasize the psychological aspects of our characters.