Conrad's Fate (with spoilers)
juliette at harvestroad.com
Thu May 12 04:22:50 EDT 2005
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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