The excerpt represents the core issue or deciding factor on which you must meditate, and is drawn from The Alkahest by Honore de Balzac:|
provided the imagination of the writer does not distort essential
facts. The mind is enabled by rigid deduction to link it with the
past; and to man, the past is singularly like the future; tell him
what has been, and you seldom fail to show him what will be. It is
rare indeed that the picture of a locality where lives are lived does
not recall to some their dawning hopes, to others their wasted faith.
The comparison between a present which disappoints man's secret wishes
and a future which may realize them, is an inexhaustible source of
sadness or of placid content.
Thus, it is almost impossible not to feel a certain tender sensibility
over a picture of Flemish life, if the accessories are clearly given.