Mitt (A bit muddled)

McMullin, Elise emcmullin at kl.com
Mon Sep 18 12:05:34 EDT 2000



Melissa wrote:
"Reminds me of a line from the movie "The Philadelphia
Story" where Jimmy Stewart says that he's learned that even though someone
comes up from the bottom he really can be kind of a heel, and that even
though someone is wealthy he can be a pretty nice guy."

Not to mention, tertiary though this seems, the love of sailboats which
brings people together in both tales, "My! She was yar."  I never would have
thought to juxtapose those two stories - brilliant Melissa!"


Sally wrote how she perceived a vengefulness in dwj's writing which was
uncomfortable to her, last week.  This kepting rolling about my head this
weekend, because I agree - I see it too.  So I was asking myself what it was
all about.  The first thing I thought, and I know I've read interviews and
articles where she says this straight out, is that she is a champion of
children.  Her stories are battles fought on behalf of people vulnerable
because of their ages, especially the earlier ones I think.  She identifies
with them because she was one of them.  Once grown up, she took up a cause
in their interests.  I ran across an older edition of Something About the
Author (I think circa 1975) where she said she was writing specifically with
children in difficult situations in mind as her primary audience - to give
them heart and solace.  Now I start to see how she loved Britomart in the
Faery Queen and how that fits.  She, dwj, is a Champion.  She probably
wouldn't say it, but I suppose I can get away with it!  I do think she has
mellowed and expanded over time, too.   As to the troubling question of
resolution and peace in familial relationships - well, though it has been
the rocket fuel for so much work that has brought wonderful experiences to
our lives, I guess we may never know. 

I can't think of a time where she has a grown character reflect with
detachment and perspective on the struggles of the past... can you?  But
then, that isn't what a kid would need to be concentrating on, is it?  Today
is hard, tomorrow is hard - 15 years from now - what has that to do with
anything?

Then I was thinking about how Milda found safety and stability in her
marriage to Hobin, and *still* expected her son to sacrifice himself.
Basically denied him harbor.  That steams me.  She's no Janine or Marceny
though.  But they all are narcissists.

We went to a used-book warehouse (an entire warehouse, yes!) saturday and
strangely enough I picked up a book that concentrates on exactly the type of
people who populate dwj's works as villains.  It's called People of the Lie
by M. Scott Peck.  Has anyone read it?  It's fascinating and right on point.
I highly recommend it in light of the villain connection.

Here's a quote from from early on where he refers to prior work by another:

"When I say that evil has to do with killing, I do not mean to restrict
myself to corporeal murder. Evil is also that which kills the human spirit.
There are various essential attributes of life - such as sentience,
mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, will.  It is possible to attempt to
kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body.  Thus we
may "break" a horse or even a child without harming a hair on its head.
Erich Fromm was acutely sensitive to this fact when he broadened the
definition of necrophilia to include the desire of a certain people to
control others - to make them controllable, to foster their dependency, to
discourage their capacity to think for themselves, to diminish their
unpredictability and originality, to keep them in line.  Distinguishing it
from a "biophilic" person, one who appreciates and fosters the variety of
life forms and the uniqueness of the individual, he demonstrated a
"necrophiliac character type" whose aim it is to avoid the inconvenience of
life by transforming others into obedient automatons, robbing them of their
humanity."

He fleshes this out to by saying that it isn't just when people are being
over-controlling out of ignorance and self-correct when they know better,
but repeatedly choose it - make a long series of choices.  

Coming back around to lack of compassion and forgiveness - hmm tricky.  If
someone is a controller and a narcissist, to reveal compassion will not
necessarily bring rapprochement.  The other person may see just another
opportunity to exploit.  So I imagine also a combination of strength, firm
grasp of the realities of the situation, clear intention, and an
understanding that the other person *has* to agree or else what can be done?
You can only lead a horse to water.

This might be a job for Aslan!

E
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