Kids, reading, and "good" lit...

jessie shelton at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Thu Jul 29 18:10:34 EDT 1999

On Thu, 29 Jul 1999, Melissa Proffitt wrote:
> >Are there others where there is this memory question? And are there
> >others where the hero/ine had a hand in creating the original problem?
> >My mind is blanking.  I really like that the hero/ine would have been
> >part of the problem but what does it mean then about them and about the
> >others?  So many other stories go for the pat implicit answer that the
> >heroes and heroines are plain better than the others, but this seems
> >more complicated....

Oh, Archer's Goon, no question.  The whole mess is Howard's fault, two
times over, and in order to fix anything, he has to sort through his
memories and discover what's going on.

And that does make Howard a much more interesting and complex person,
because he is having to learn how to deal responsibly with his powers;
this is a much more nuanced view of power and the baggage of power.

Dogsbody has the same traits but a bit more blurred around the edges.
Sirius-the-dog has trouble remembering the parts of him that belong to the
'green' part of his nature; part of this is the restriction of the
dog-nature, and part of this is because he's trying not to face the
complicity of his Companion.  He had a hand in making his situation too,
because of his willful blindness about said Companion; if he hadn't tried
to protect her at his trial, he wouldn't have gotten himself convicted
like that.  Not as clear-cut, but there.

> It happens in _Aunt Maria_ too--though in that case it's not a question of
> memory but time-travel.  The presence of Mig and her mother in the past
> helps create the imbalanced situation in Cranbury in the present.

mm.  That didn't strike me as responsibility so much as the immutability
(and the economy?) of time.  Naomi would have had Andrew (that is the
right name, isn't it?) without the cats' aid, I think, one way or the

Other riffs on responsibility and/or memory:

responsibility as a family heirloom in Power of Three

Howl's Moving Castle -- besides the problems of memory for non-protags,
Sophie herself bears the responsibility for the situation she is in;
actually, there's probably a pretty little paper waiting to be written
about the different shapes of responsibility in HMC, mostly comparing and
contrasting Sophie and Howl's various ways of avoiding and finally facing
it.  I'll think about that sometime when I'm not at lab. (:

memory in Hexwood: unravelling the problem is really about trying to get
one's memory straight.  --and, in some ways, about the voluntary
assumption of responsibility, when one could have denied it and justified
doing so.

(who is listening to this discussion and thinking she probably ought to
go reread Time of the Ghost)

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