Conrad's Fate (with spoilers)

Juliette Curtis juliette at
Thu May 12 04:22:50 EDT 2005

Hello all:

I suggest it's time to start a discussion of Conrad's fate.


Many of DWJ's familiar themes appear in CF. One of the most obvious is 
mistreatment of children by parents and other family members.. Conrad's 
mother (sorry can't remember her name right now and don't have the book 
available), like DWJ's mother, is remote and absorbed in her own 
preoccupations, oblivious of her children except that she expects them 
to take care of her, and allows her in-laws to make use of them in ways 
that could kill them.

Some of the mother's actions reflect the actions of DWJ's own mother and 
there's real bitterness in those parts of the story. The most bitter, 
IMO, are the daughter secretly applying for and winning a scholarship 
and then being told that she was so stupid that she would fail in her 
education, the daughter's absolute determination to escape from the 
family, and the mother complaining at the end of the book that all of 
her family were being taken from her. Another character tells the mother 
that "that is what happens when you neglect people". This statement 
sounds incongruous from this particular character -- it's DWJ's voice, 
loud and clear.

I wonder how autobiographical these scenes are. This is fiction, of 
course, but perhaps DWJ has used this book to say some things that she 
has always wanted to say to her mother.

On a lighter note, DWJ has a dig at JKR in an early chapter. The 
bookshop carries a series of books called "Peter Jenkins and the Thin 
Teacher" and similar titles. Conrad thinks there are about 30 of them 
and they are all more or less the same. (giggle)

I also enjoyed the description of the Stallery Mansion attics during the 
world shifts. It jerks around more than the foundation do, which 
reminded me of the way tall buildings behave during earthquakes. I 
experienced this in Japan and California. The foundation moves, then 
upper floors move a fraction of a second later with a sort of whiplash 
effect -- it's very disconcerting!


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