dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #743

Sarah sarah-neko at dove.gen.nz
Mon Nov 10 16:26:10 EST 2003

>  I do.  There is another Kylie Ding out there.  She is a distant =
> relative.  My sister has a name double from that branch of the family =
> too.

I find it so odd when that happens - relatives with the same first and 
last names. But I suppose it happens often enough or Sophie couldn't 
have convinced anyone saying she had two great-nieces both called 
Lettie Hatter. You'd think people would check with their relatives to 
avoid duplication... I have a younger cousin also called Sarah but that 
is all right as her surname is different.

>  But that one is an evil twin.  She has been in trouble with the =
> law and my sister has had police turn up looking for her.  The other 
> one =
> even caused my sister problems when she tried to join a video library =
> where the evil twin had long overdue videos.

And were they all pornographic? That would be the crowning touch.

> Why can it not "logically" be read as a metaphor for homosexuality? It
> seems to me that a case has been made, and  your (Sarah's) arguments 
> add to
> the validity of that case. The more you interrogate this metaphor, the 
> more
> interesting it becomes. Look at Nan, the odd girl out, picked on by the
> other girls, and her secret relationship with Estelle (clearly passing 
> for
> straight). Plus Charles' father being blackmailed about his secret, 
> because
> parents don't like the idea of their children being taught by 
> "witches".
> It's great.
> Robyn

*shrugs* I just thought that would be taking it too far... what I said 
was 'a *deliberate* metaphor,' referring to authorial intention. You 
can certainly read it as having parallels and use it as a valuable 
discussion point ('Imagine that, class - and wouldn't it be a situation 
that could happen right here, to some of us? No, don't all look at 
Stuart, I am trying to OPEN YOUR LITTLE MINDS'), but I didn't think DWJ 
wrote it trying to send a coded message about homosexuality. It's a 
story about magic first and foremost.
And Mr Wentworth (Brian's father, not Charles') is blackmailed not 
because parents would object to a witch teacher, but because being a 
witch is a capital offence. He couldn't hold any job if his 
'orientation' were known, it would be straight to Death Row for him. 
There's where you don't have a parallel, because although there are 
many members of the public who consider it okay to kill a gay person 
('He made a pass at me, officer, and I was so disgusted I had to beat 
him to death') and others (chiefly in the American religious right) who 
consider it okay to gloat about it and proclaim that the victim has 
gone to Hell, the law has historically aimed to stop them *doing* it by 
prohibition rather than stop them *being* it by extermination. An 
exception, of course, is Nazi Germany. Ugh.

> You're right!  The more people delve into this, the cooler this gets.
> Chrestomanci so elegant.  And only think about the book of Watts Minor,
> the pluckiest boy in school: "a boy above all, straight alike in
> body and mind".  Even Ms. Hodge finds it "rather an unfortunate choice
> of book".
> Hee!
> - -deborah

That was another part I had in mind - it's funny anyway, but hysterical 
when you read it with that subtext in mind.
I don't wish to allow the part about Chrestomanci's elegance, though. I 
get very annoyed about the stereotype of gay men as naturally 
fashionable and addicted to style. It's so superficial, limited and 
limiting. 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,' I am looking at *you*.
On the one hand, the fact that Chrestomanci's marriage with Millie 
seems more of a friendship than a love-affair could be used to argue 
that he might be a homosexual who has married for reasons of social 
convenience... but on the other hand he doesn't strike me as the sort 
of person who would make that compromise.
(looks at watch, wondering how long before someone puts a salacious 
interpretation on the bit about hardening Tacroy up a bit... oh, wait, 
I already did)
I can never avoid reading 'Eight Days of Luke' as shounen-ai, I must 

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

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