dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #756

Sarah sarah-neko at dove.gen.nz
Tue Dec 2 22:41:00 EST 2003

> Jon (on Aliens):
> But they went rapidly down hill after that

It was killing off Newt that ruined it. Newt and Ripley finding each 
other and beginning to form some hope of new attachments and recovery 
from terrifying experiences was the heart of 'Aliens.' 'Aliens 3' just 
pissed all over that. And the fourth movie... wow, having an off day, 

> Well, I'd missed that too :-) But I had noticed Nesbit's habit of 
> using =
> 'it' to refer to a child, when either sex or both might be being =
> referred to (as in sentences of this kind: 'Each of the children was =
> looking forward to its tea.') When I first read Nesbit I thought this =
> was probably be a feature of writing from that period - influenced =
> either by a particularly sexless view of childhood, or by languages 
> like =
> German where 'Kind' is indeed neuter. Now it occurs to me that I don't 
> =
> remember coming across it since in any other writer. Is it a Nesbitism 
> =
> specifically, or was this usage widespread?
> Charlie

I like it better than the common use nowadays of 'their,' 'them,' 
'themself/ves' where a gender-neutral *singular* pronoun is needed - 
presumably an inappropriate use of the plural was what she was trying 
to avoid, while not tarring Jane and Anthea with Robert and Cyril's 
brush. I haven't seen it anywhere much but Nesbit, though, so I don't 
try to get away with it myself.

> For some years I assumed the narrator in the Bastable stories was 
> female,
> because I knew the author was, and thought there was one more child 
> than
> there really is in that family.  I don't think I cottoned on to the 
> fact
> that Oswald was also the narrator until I was at least seven.
> She is a bit confusing that way.

It's also confusing that Oswald sometimes refers to himself as having 
to act as leader of the family because of being the eldest. Dora is 
older than him, of course; he means he is the eldest *boy* but doesn't 
say so specifically.
But I suppose he must be forgiven a lot, having to live with being 
called Oswald Bastable.

> I think the Bastable example is hilarious. When I read them as a child 
> I
> found it confusing, but later rereadings had me laughing out loud at 
> those
> telltale bits of description ("Oswald was very brave", or Oswald's 
> idea was
> the best one, or whatever).
> Robyn

That gave me a lot of giggles, too *^.^*

> Melissa mentioned Roddy, how about the rest of
> you, which characters do you identify with?
> =====
> Ven

Sophie a bit... Nan Pilgrim, DEFINITELY. Girls whose power comes from 
words? That's interesting.
Also girls who don't feel very attractive or confident. I am spending a 
period of unemployment keeping house for my mother and sometimes when I 
go out of the house I really feel like Sophie trying to go out on May 

> My pet peeve at the moment is having neighbours that buy houses with 
> trees and then but
> them down so they're just like the hundreds of other houses they could 
> have bought without
> trees. One neighbour bought a bushy block, cut down some beautifuk old 
> gums (they didn't like
> the leaves being dropped) and then sold the house altogether to move 
> somewhere with "lots
> of lawn and no trees". Why couldn't they decide on this *before* 
> cutting the trees down? And
> who wouldn't notice that every bush block in our area is covered with 
> leaves rather than law?
> Sigh. And another new neighbour has become convinced of the evils of 
> mature trees and looks
> set to do the same.

All the neighbourhoods I love best are the ones with mature trees. 
Thank goodness I live in one of them.

E you later,
(the artist formerly known as Sarah-neko)

Air and Angels Anime Shrines

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