[DWJ] DWJ article

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat Dec 22 14:35:59 EST 2007

>On Thu, 20 Dec 2007, Minnow wrote:
>> Most of DWJ's older women in authority are rather odious, or at best
>> uncaring and unobservant, I suspect.  Art following life -- except
>> that DWJ herself is *nothing* like that.

Paul suggested

>Perhaps she doesn't qualify as "in authority"? I mean, I know we'd all
>go to the ends of the earth for her, but perhaps that doesn't quite

She doesn't ever tell people that they ought to do things, nor look Grieved
and Shocked if they don't, nor pull the dreary 'you have to be careful
about not doing as I say because I have a broken back/weak hip/heart
condition and your being unkind to me might make me ill' card.  Maybe that
is a point.  I suppose that *could* be reverse bullying: because she never
asks, everyone casts around for things to make her feel good with!  Very
cunning, if so.  She lights up like a candle when she's happy, and her hair
expands, so one wants to make it happen.

>(I was going to point out that there are un-odious older women in DWJ
>- Polly's Granny and Mrs Smith were the first two to come to mind -
>but none of them are obviously in authority, either.)

I suppose one could produce some grand theory about DWJ being incredibly
hide-bound in her depiction of the traditional gender-roles and
disapproving of women in authority, but is she any kinder, really, to men
in authority?  If they are, they're often odious -- or else they subvert
the whole business and don't really want to be in charge, like the darling

>(It occurs to me, reading back over this, that all three are sort of
>mentor figures, which is a *kind* of authority, perhaps, but
>apparently not the kind that turns one odious.)

Solicited advice is one thing, unsolicited admonitions are another, maybe?

It occurs to me that having a really *bad* example to follow may actually
help: a sort of 'look at what she did and then do the opposite' thing.
Certainly DWJ's sons visit her whenever they are able, and invite her and
John along on their family holidays, so they obviously must think she was
ok as a mother!  And her daughters-in-law talk with her so that nobody else
can get a word in edgeways (like 'fish-slice') so they must think she's ok
too.  :-)


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