Conrad's Fate (with spoilers)

mecha godscylla mechagodscylla at hotmail.com
Sun May 15 18:08:59 EDT 2005



>From: "Hallie O'Donovan" <hallieod at indigo.ie>
>Reply-To: dwj at suberic.net
>To: dwj at suberic.net
>Subject: Re: Conrad's Fate (with spoilers)
>Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 20:12:19 +0100
>
>Robyn:
>
>>>>>>SPOILER SPACE
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>>>>I thought the whole Uncle thing was obvious and unbelievable. So 
>>>>unworthy of dwj, who is normally quite subtle and interesting when 
>>>>creating deception and exploitiation. I suppose part of the reason it is 
>>>>so obvious is that Conrad is an idiot.
>>>>
>>>
>>>I also felt the point was hammered home with irritating relentlessness.  
>>>But was Conrad really more of an idiot than Christopher was at the 
>>>equivalent stage or was Uncle Ralph just one of the more subtly presented 
>>>exploiters?  I'd think the latter myself.
>>
>>I think it is a little from column A, a little from column B. I find 
>>Conrad to be without redeeming freature, which is particularly problematic 
>>in a first-person narrative. I find it hard to believe that dwj was going 
>>for dramatic irony and failed so utterly - it's not like she hasn't made 
>>it work before, in, oh, I don't know, her PREVIOUS book. Christopher's 
>>idiotic behaviour was accompanied by enough context to make it 
>>understandable (e.g. when he acts pigheaded because he feels the Castle 
>>staff are treating him unsympathetically); Conrad appears to have no 
>>excuse except his stolid, dull nature.
>
>I can't say that I got a great picture of Conrad's character one way or the 
>another - which might or might not add weight to your case!  I found him 
>totally swamped in the pre-Stallery parts by the heavy-handedness of the 
>abusive uncle & mother combo, with the added hammering of the mother's 
>feminism really not helping.  But Christopher's falling for Uncle Ralph's 
>exploitation was more what I was thinking of in their respective idiocies.  
>Creating sympathy for apparently unsympathetic characters is yet another 
>great DWJ strength, even if the lack of sympathy is only due to idiocy.
>
>Hallie
>


"I suppose part of the reason it is so obvious is that Conrad is an idiot."

"I find Conrad to be without redeeming freature..."

I need more details.  How so and in what ways did his idiocy strike you? 
What features does he lack that he ought to have, or have that he should 
lack?  What makes him unsympathetic?


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