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A tramp comes across a little child, and brings him up, but is at a state of utter loss, when the orphanage reclaims the child.

This is, in a nutshell, the story of The Kid, the 1921 silent comedy-drama film written, produced, directed by and starring Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin (April 16, 1889 – December 25, 1977). This masterpiece is still very much relevant, as well as popular; as this work of art has survived for the last 102 years, irrespective of countries, times, cultures, and ideologies. Perhaps the child in the film was Chaplin himself, and it seems that the adoption of the kid by a tramp was a symbol of his childhood aspirations embedded in his subconscious self.

The Kid

Chaplin’s father Charles Chaplin Sr had gone missing when he was just five. His mother Hannah Chaplin, a music hall entertainer by profession, had taken care of him and his brother. As Chaplin’s childhood was fraught with poverty and hardship, he experienced the plight of people from close. Hence, the tramp (of the movie), who used to replace broken panes, asked his adopted child to damage the windows of the houses where they lived so that he could be hired to repair them.

This dishonesty does not hurt the middle class mentality, as people across the globe become sympathetic to them. A film, novel, verse or painting can be honest and timeless, if it narrates the tale of a different life; otherwise, they could be trendy or fashionable, but not honest and timeless. Again, English author David Herbert Lawrence’s (September 11, 1885 – March 2, 1930) 1928 novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover is all about an illicit physical (and emotional) relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman, as the English author described physical relation in an explicit manner in this novel. Still, the novel becomes timeless, as it is based on arguments and logic. So, it is really difficult to define honest and timeless artistic creations.

D H Lawrence

It seems that all the honest creations are based on reality (of life). Then only, these creations can attract the attention of others, and make the art-lovers feel more compassionate toward them. Experts believe that only the honesty of a creation attracts people.

A work of art may be emotional or there may be moderation in its expression (as in films directed by Indian film-maker Satyajit Ray). Its style can be unique (Pablo Ruiz Picasso‘s Guernica) or simple (Jane Eyre by English author Charlotte Brontë). All these are honest creations, which are not influenced by fashion.

Such timeless creations would not be possible, without the personal experience of the artists. Which honest artistic creation shall last forever is probably beyond our comprehension. So, it seems we still enjoy paintings of Vincent Willem van Gogh, or stop for a moment in front of the pyramids.

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