Alanna and Streatfield (LONG!)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Mon May 8 01:36:16 EDT 2000

Becca sent this off yesterday while the list was down, and as it hadn't
posted yet, I'm sending it again.  Apologies if it turns up twice.

[Becca speaking]
I seem to have started something gigantic here! I'm going to try to go
about this methodically and organized-ly and if I leave anyone out, know
it's because organization does not come easily to me. :P I will reply,
someday. Really I will.

Sally wrote:
>Mostly, I agree with you Becca. However, there are a few Streatfeild
>characters who are really better at organising others than in "being
>special" themselves.

I didn't mean to sound as if I was putting down all Streatfield's books (or
even really "putting down" the books I mentioned--I quite liked The Painted
Garden in places). And really, looking back, I was exaggerating *just* a
wee bit.

And then Melissa wrote:
>I know what you mean, I think.  It kept me from enjoying Pierce's _Wild
>Magic_ quite so much--like she'd already exhausted the possibilities for
>uniqueness in the first series, and had to expand her magic system and
>universe strictly for *more* ways to make her main characters unique.

Ah yes, that was also what I was trying to say. It's that my mind is so
full of Things for my summer exams I have no room for anything of any
interest any more. (Did you know that Martin Luther was born in 1483 the
son of a fairly wealthy copper merchant and went to university in....No!
Must--stop--myself--) Thank you, Melissa, I feel so explained now.

>Sorry, too busy laughing my butt off over here.  What have I done to deserve
>this reputation?

Don't you remember? Melissa Is Always Right, full stop, end of discussion. }:-)

And JOdel wrote (about Jon and George and Alanna):
>But that triangle situation was disturbing.

Do you mean that Aanna had two lovers? Or that you didn't know who she was
going to end up with? I agree with both points, myself. It was disturbing
to me (as an eleven-year-old, and still is now) that she had two lovers,
and it annoyed me greatly that I didn't know who she was going to end up
with. I mean, I know who I wanted her to choose--George--, but I didn't
know if she would. If that makes sense.

And Gili wrote:
>Also, Becca, a person as eloquent and erudite are yourself is merely being
>coy by calling herself a "baby dragon".

Who, me? [bats her eyelashes archly]
And again, I didn't mean to sound as if I was putting down the Streatfield
books, just that the one particular thing Kyla said reminded me of
them...For a while when I was six or so I really loved a few of the Shoe

Right now. Back to Alanna. Instead of trying to explain why I think the
books are bad (or telling you how I threw the fourth book against the wall
when I finished it) I'm going to ramble vaguely on matters I don't
understand. Almost everyone who's written about the Alanna books says
that--even if they didn't like the writing styles or whatever--they were a
source of inspiration because of the "girl kicks ass in a man's world" or
the other heroic (heroinic?) aspects of them. For some reason, that just
didn't strike me. I remember being sort of glad that Alanna got the better
of her enemies, but that's it.

I think this is because I haven't found the world to be belittling or
expecting less of me because I'm a girl. I know that this probably wouldn't
apply an alarmingy few years ago, but that's just my experience.

And also I don't feel a need for asses to be kicked while changing
something that needs to be changed. And why *that* is I have no idea. Maybe
because some of the strongest people I've read about are the ones who don't
buckle under other people's opinions (after Tom Lynn), but are heroes to
themselves (after Polly, saying that being a hero was inside, but being a
heroine was public, and she hated it).

I feel so grown-up! I have to go make my Mummy mad now so she'll put me on
Time Out, or I'll get a feeling of altogether unfitting worldliness.

Oh yes, back to the world-changing characters. In the books I read before
Alanna, none of the characters really did that. Change worlds. Kate, in the
Perilous Gard, has to be one of the most "inspiring" characers I know, but
it's because she's so human, not because she went and made the world a
completely different place. Sophie didn't, Christopher didn't, Polly

Maybe it's just that I know I'm never going to be someone like, say, Martin
Luther (who posted his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg University
church after John Tetzel came to Wittenburg to preach a special indulgence
about...AAHG! STOP! Must--not--put history in--DWJ discussions...), I'm not
going to be someone like Alanna, but I could try to be someone like Sophie
or Polly or Kate.

Well, that's all for now ("That's all?" you say. "Hah! What a loudmouthed
little brat!"). I must go and do something elevating, such as reading HMC
for the thousandth time. Although I probably should study something OTHER
than history. Oh well. Goodnight.
An exhausted Becca

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