Beastly Manipulations--Was Beauty w/ spoilers
JOdel at aol.com
JOdel at aol.com
Wed Jan 19 20:56:55 EST 2000
This debate begins to sound as if it is spinning a bit out of porportion. If
I may make myself a target here...
All of these points are very interesting, and very valid, but let's not let
them run away with us to the degree that we forget that we are talking about
the retelling of a traditional tale here. McKinley inherited the manipulative
statement from the original story. If the Beast does not tell Beauty that he
will die without her, she will not know about it. If she does not know it,
she has no reason to hurry back (or return at all, if this is to be viewed as
a prisoner's escape rather than a co-ruler's temporary absence).
What is more, While I do not know Ms. McKinley's present age, I think we can
all safely suppose that she was a good deal younger in 1978. (Indeed, as I've
said before, BEAUTY has the feel of being the work of an extremely YOUNG
author.) And, obviously, neither she nor society as a whole had had their
consiousnesses raised to the point that the inherent emotional blackmail
which this "oh so romantic" conceit (and most of the conventional
proclaimations of traditional romance are HIGHLY manipulative) contains had
become obvious. If we cannot accept that people in another time and place
(and face it, 22+ years ago WAS another time and place) didn't automatically
think the same as they do now on every subject, then we have already lost the
battle. Civilization is doomed and we might just as well start burning the
libraries now and save ourselves the hassle later. Or at least stow the book
in the locked case along with The Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Finn.
That McKinley has since rethought the advisability of accepting this
particular piece of baggage from the traditional tale, or at least the
advisability of accepting it blindly, is evident in the fact that she does
not simply replay it in Rose Daughter. In fact;
The Beast does tell her that he will die if she is too long away (he HAS to,
it is absolutely necessary to the story that Beauty make her return bearing th
is knowledge, and in Rose Daughter there is, literally, no one else TO tell
her). But, in the same breath, he tells her that since he brought her to the
palace by a lie, he does not deserve that she return. Even more manipulative?
I don't think so. I think that is is an indication that the Beast is also
capable of screwing up his courage and doing the right thing, even if his own
life is forfet.
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