[DWJ] Twilight and New Moon (Was: Discussing now: What?)

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Thu Aug 9 12:56:40 EDT 2007


On Thu, 9 Aug 2007, Melissa Proffitt wrote:

> On Thu,  9 Aug 2007 11:56:30 +0200 (CEST), Rachel Ganz wrote:
>
>>> It's interesting to read your take on this.  All my life I interpreted it
>>> the opposite--that I should not make demands on others I wasn't willing to
>>> expect of myself.  That it wasn't fair to require someone else to live up to
>>> standards I couldn't keep myself.  I suppose that's why it's such a
>>> double-edged statement; how you look at it can make a huge difference in how
>>> you live.
>>
>>
>> But what sort of demands are you making? Shoe a horse, code a compiler, manage a sewage farm, run a mile?
>>
>> I think it can be a dangerously individualistic approach - to believe that one is self-sufficient and can do anything.
>
> That's not what I meant.  You're talking about having the *capacity* to do
> things rather than the *responsibility* to do things.  I don't see the
> original statement as having anything to do with the varied abilities every
> human being has--and I do not believe in self-sufficiency, which seems to me
> both impossible and unappealing.  Rather, I see it as a warning against a
> kind of moral hypocrisy:  if you have standards of behavior or ethics you
> expect of others, you'd better be living up to them yourself.  Or else it's
> time to reevaluate those standards.

In the context of the book being quoted, that's exactly it.  The
heroine (to whom the statement is addressed) is an anti-slavery,
anti-animal cruelty* moral absolutist in 17th century Virgina.
The idea is that she is going to demand others live up to her
extremely stringent moral codes -- including not relying on
slaves in a slave-owning society, among other, more personal
demands -- she needs to act in those ways herself.

* Yes, I realise equatin anti-slavery and anti-animal cruelty is
problematic.  Rest assured that the book does not infantalize the
black characters, and doesn't even place the heroine persistently
in the position of Rescuer.  For a book written in 1969, the race
issues aren't bad at all.

Also note that my random sig generator picked this message's sig
randomly!

-deborah
--
What does it matter whether we hang,
If we've learned a little wisdom?	-- _Jade_, Sally Watson



More information about the Dwj mailing list