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;

s
p
o
i
l
e
r

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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