TotG (was Re: Introductions)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Tue Jun 24 04:10:50 EDT 2003

Charlie  (replying to me):

>  > But on the same point, I often find myself doing serious
>>  teeth-grinding when people trot out the cliche about children being
>>  so resilient.  It can be used as a refusal to acknowledge the
>>  capacity of children to suffer as much as adults, IMO.  And there's
>>  more to TotG's power than simply saying 'I survived this, so anyone
>>  can', which can be another variant of the same dismissal.
>Absolutely - but TotG doesn't (and I hope I didn't) just refer airily to
>children's resilience as an excuse for ignoring their experience.

Yes and no!  (Not as in maybe yes and maybe no, but as in I agree 
totally that TotG doesn't do that dismissal thing, and didn't think 
you were at all either.)

>On the
>contrary, it makes that experience central: it shows exactly how it works,
>how it's built up, how it's maintained (or sometimes not). And, whether or
>not one knows about the parallels with DWJ's own childhood, it's a book that
>_feels_ as if it's written from the inside of that experience too. It's a
>book you feel (I feel anyway) can be trusted.

That's it exactly.  And the other books that have similar potency 
feel the same way, even when they're not directly paralleling her 
childhood.  Polly's experience in F&H, for example (though again 
there's that strong grandmother figure), Christopher's in LoCC - 
everyone's in Witch Week.   I'm wondering if we differ as much in our 
responses to the 'trustworthiness' of the experience in different 
books as we do in our responses to them overall?   A few bits in a 
few books just don't feel as right to me, though I hadn't thought of 
it in quite this way before.  The Ogre's transformation, for example, 
and I know other people don't respond that way to it.  I wasn't too 
taken by the pair-everybody-off ending of Year of the Griffin either, 
or Derk as a parent, as we've discussed before.


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