Was: I Ate'nt Dead -- or That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger Now: TOD

jackie e stallcup jstallcup at juno.com
Fri Oct 4 12:27:21 EDT 2002

Ven said: 
>Another thing that is
> happening in this novel is that the Ogre comes to
> understand the kids' perspective, not just the
> real (magical) reasons for much of their "bad"
> behaviour but the part he has played. I think he
> realises his misjudgement of the boys' characters
> and, crucially, the effect that he has been
> having on them. I believe he felt that the boys
> were purposely setting out to annoy him and upset
> Sally, genuinely did not realise how terrifying
> he was to them, and so overreacted at every turn.
> And he has to accept that this behaviour has made
> things much worse -- in particular leading to
> Johnny's actions when invisible. 
> Dwj points out that, like Malcolm's, the Ogre's
> face doesn't seem made to show his feelings, thus
> the kids are not aware of the nuances of his
> reactions, they miss it when he tries to lighten
> his words with humour, they don't notice when his
> anger is driven by real concern. However it is
> hard to forgive the Ogre for some things,
> particularly hitting Malcolm. I have to say,
> though, that children's books of the Ogre's era
> and earlier generally had a more accepting
> attitude to this kind of child abuse(!). 

True!  Her characterization of adults is often more complex and
complicated--and believably human--than one might expect.  The ogre is an
excellent example of that.  This would be a great book to teach in order
to discuss the creation and slow unfolding of character, coupled with
issues of foreshadowing...

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