The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK.—The ladies of the Daughters of the American Revolution have just held their annual meetings in Washington. These meetings were of interest to those of us who really believe in the United Nations and think that if these worthy ladies could be enlisted in what we consider the right lines of endeavor they would find themselves doing a much more valuable service than when they are on the other side of the fence.

However, they think differently, and so we are treated each year to absurdities. They waste their time in a very sad manner.

Why should they make statements to the effect that the U.N. should be removed from the United States and that the U.S. should not be a member? The U.N. is in the U.S., it is a going concern, we are a member, and the U.N. is going to stay here. The ladies of the DAR might much better make up their minds to the facts and see what they can do to make their organization really useful.

There is an attack going on now, I understand, on UNICEF, and in which the DAR is probably taking a part. And if the DAR really studied UNICEF and did something to help it, they would discover that this U.N. agency is doing a great deal for the children of the world. How much better this would be than being entirely negative and doing a destructive piece of work.

One night last week I went to see the Tennessee Williams play, "Sweet Bird of Youth." It is a powerful play and beautifully acted. And the little quotation on the program gives one an inkling of one idea that is brought out:

“Relentless caper for all those who step The legend of their youth into the noon.”

Who has not known that in varying degrees nearly all human beings have to fight the desires of youth which often do not die with the passing of years? This is one of the tests of the growth of maturity.

And the last plea made so well in the play by Paul Newman for a recognition by each one of us of the beast that lives within us is perhaps a wise admonition. But do we have to go through quite so much sordidness of detail? Granted that much of it is true.

To me the man who came barefooted from the hills and made himself a power and was willing to sacrifice even those he loved most (if he understood love at all) to his own ambitions is perhaps the most horrifying of all the characters because we have seen and recognized it so often. Strength that goes wrong is even more dangerous than weakness that goes wrong.

Sometimes, it seems to me, Tennessee Williams wants to put in words and incidents things that are better left to our own imaginations and better faced when we are alone and must face ourselves.

Perhaps I am wrong and perhaps we need what Tennessee Williams does. The stirring that he gives to each one of us may be a necessity, but I find it more pain than pleasure. I have never met this playwright, but if it is true that one lives with one's characters, life cannot be very pleasant for him.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 28, 1959

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.