Spoiler on Black Maria and other things (was: Re: poll which is far too full of washing)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Fri Sep 10 17:48:50 EDT 1999


On Fri, 10 Sep 1999 08:49:03 +0100, Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk wrote:

>The impression I got in Maria was that Tony Green was taking the view (with
>which I don't wholly agree, BTW) that since Maria had acted correctly according
>to a certain set of standards (I'm not sure whether these are her personal
>standards, or those of the community where she grew up), and had (her words)
>"nothing to reproach herself" for, punishment would be inappropriate, since the
>purpose of punishment is to bring the wrongdoer to a sense of their
>transgression.

>He therefore favoured isolation, which protected the (past and potential)
>victims, but didn't punish Maria.  He even admits the possibility that she may
>eventually emerge from isolation and start again.

Oh, I agree with you.  Though I'm not sure whether Tony was being pragmatic
about Maria's adherence to her standards, or relativistic.  Hmmm.  Brain's
starting to shut down again.  I mean, you could read his actions as simply
bowing to the inevitable and recognizing that nothing they could do would
change her, or you could see him (and I actually think this may be more
accurate, given his own position in the town hierarchy) as recognizing that
Maria was just on the losing side of the battle.  As far as the male/female
dichotomy in that weird little town, the only thing Maria did wrong was to
upset the balance.  I think Tony is only sympathetic because he was a victim
and he's more rational than Maria.

_Aunt Maria_ is WAY more complex than I thought the first time I read it.

>(My view, FWIW, is that if what she did was right by her standards, Maria's
>_standards_ need changing.  Punishment may be a part of this process.  I agree
>with TG's other argument, though, that allowing the community their revenge
>would be to sink to her level.)

Oh, definitely.  But you recognize that Tony and the other men of the
community are just the other side of the coin.  BOTH their standards need
changing because otherwise the same imbalance can occur over and over again.
Maria was clever, but stupid--does that make sense?  She was canny and
bright, but she couldn't see the whole picture.  Sort of like in a fantasy
or historical novel where you have a really good and responsible ruler whose
heir only sees the benefits of power, not the requirements.  Like in The
Lion King (sorry, I have children).  Or Robin Hobb's Assassin books.  _Aunt
Maria_ makes it SOUND like the women are at fault, but you just know that
there's no reason it couldn't have been the men who created the imbalance.

Melissa Proffitt
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