Scales was re Diana's replies

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Wed Apr 25 05:24:48 EDT 2001

>  > >>
>>  >Tam Lin reference?
>>  Did I make a Tam Lin reference there unwittingly?
>Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, the ghost throws books out of the window.
>I only mentioned it because that book comes up a lot.

Oh, right!  I was thinking Tam Lin as in ballad of, which gave me nothing.

[The Tillerman Books]

>I dunno if they would have been taken into care, at least not
>permanently. A friend of mine is a psychiactric social worker, their
>role is to help people to stay out of hospital and help them to live
>independently. Dicey's mother wasn't violent or a substance
>abuser, she had managed to bring them up alright until she
>became too depressed (as far as I remember) so social workers
>doing their jobs properly would have tried to keep them together.
>It's actually a part of the problem I had with these books that the
>most pessimistic view is taken of the authorities and not
>challenged. Or is it really that much worse ioin the States?

I really don't have any knowledge to answer that one authoritatively. 
But just to point out the obvious: this was some time ago, and one of 
the symptoms of depression is hopelessness, and there is that part 
about social workers "doing their job properly".  Everyone always 
hears the spectacular failures.

But with regards Maybeth, maybe a story does illustrate how this 
might not be the most pessimistic view possible.  When I lived in New 
York State, I used to teach High School Equivalency Exam prep 
classes.  One woman, who was coming because she wanted to graduate 
before her daughter did, passed the test first time round, despite 
starting half-way through the term.  She was great - really 
motivated, bright, got on well with everyone.

She told us that she'd dropped out of school because she'd been put 
in "retarded classes".  This was not on the basis of any kind of 
testing - but because she'd had a hare-lip.  And this was not a 
hundred years ago, either.  I was working there in the mid-80s, and 
she was probably about 35.  (She said they literally spent their time 
stapling together papers for the rest of the school, and doing 
similar types of mindless activity.)

Just to speculate wildly here, Cynthia Voigt was a teacher herself, 
and I've always felt that it was a strong possibility that she used 
some "real" character experience somewhere in Maybeth's case. 
Especially in the later books, there's just so much detail about how 
Maybeth does and doesn't learn, and why the teacher isn't able to see 
how to help her.  (100% IMHO)

But isn't it interesting how we can read the same books, and not 
really react differently in many ways, and still end up with a 
totally different impression of what/where the wisdom or lack thereof 
is in the book.

FWIW, I'm thinking that this explains my (relatively small) problems 
with DLoD and YotG.  I expect wisdom everywhere in DWJ, and can't 
easily let go something I'd probably consider peripheral in other 
books.  So Derk and the griffins bothers me, because it feels so 
against everything I believe about parenthood.  And it's not so easy 
to ignore, because of the height of my expectations.  But in another 
book, I'd probably just think "Oh cool.  Griffins!"  (Which I still 
do think, of course.)

>It's suppose to be a good idea not to let dogs sit where they want
>all the time, so it's clear that they are not in charge.

Hah!  It's clear to everyone that this dog IS in charge.  She just 
caters to our whimsical desire to believe we've a bit of control. :)


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