Identity/personality

Paul Andinach pandinac at tartarus.uwa.edu.au
Tue Jun 13 12:52:38 EDT 2000


On Tue, 13 Jun 2000, Rowland, Jennifer wrote:

> What I wanted to ask was if anyone else has noticed what seems to me
> to be a recurring theme through Diana's books, characters who are in
> disguise in some way, either through mistaken identity, deliberately
> posing as someone else, or having been turned into someone
> else/forgetting who they were, but in any case are showing a
> different face. (The new one can be more "real" than their previous
> identity, eg Sophie, or let us see different parts of themselves).

Part of that is just keeping-plot-going, of course, but there does
seem to be a lot of it about. :)

> This is in so many ways that it seems to go beyond the "true virtue
> of the hero showing through" thing in many heroic books.

If anything, I think it may be the reverse.
Notice that even when there's no real disguising going on, people
often have trouble seeing people's real selves. 

(The example that springs to mind is 'Charmed Life', where Cat and
Chrestomanci each spend most of the book afraid of what they think the
other is like. Or Gwendolyn, trying ever harder to get Chrestomanci
angry and never realising how successful she is.)

I'm not sure what it all means, but I suspect it's something about how
in real life people are, in a sense, always disguised; we can't see
the real person, only the visible bits of them, which can be
misleading.


-snip other authors Jennifer likes-

> C. J. Cherryh (however you pronounce that),

I believe the 'h' is purely stylistic, and doesn't affect the
pronunciation at all.

> Outside sf- Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham are brilliant
> mystery writers

Dorothy L. Sayers is great (and apparently insisted on the L, by the
way).

I don't think I've read anything by Margery Allingham.

Have you read anything by Ellis Peters?


-snip more authors-

> John Donne- it was strange when I read HMC after his poems to find
> "Go and catch a falling star" as the spell!

For me, it was the other way around - I discovered Donne by reading
HMC.

(ObOnTopic: I think one of the words in the poem was mispronounced
when the curse was set; not that I'm complaining, it's just
interesting.)


-more snip-

> I don't read that much YA stuff other than dwj any more, it's over
> too quickly. One I like is called Dragonsbane, the author is on the
> tip of my tongue- Jane Yolen? Patricia Wrede? about a princess who
> goes to find a dragon to live with and cook for and ends up helping
> her become King of the Dragons, over dastardly opposition.

That's _Dealing With Dragons_, by Patricia Wrede.
(Has it really been published under the title _Dragonsbane_?
 <goes to check> Yes, it has. Oh dear.) 

Paul
-- 
"Hold fast to the one noble thing."

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