[DWJ] Mothers

Elizabeth G. Holtrop elizabeth at bouma-holtrop.com
Wed May 16 18:43:40 EDT 2007

Yes.  I left that part out of the rant I just sent: I like that it shows both sides of the issue.  Because my parents and my siblings and I have been able to mutually respect each other while working through past hurts.  Dark Lord helped me with that.  Now why did I never *realize* it?


deborah.dwj at suberic.net wrote: On Wed, 16 May 2007, Farah Mendlesohn wrote:
> DWJ's parent figures are rarely abusive per se, they are just wound up in
> themselves. With the possible exception of Ivy and ger husband, I'd describe
> all of them as self-focussed rather than self-obsessed.

This is actually one of the reasons I love Dark Lord. Usually the
people who are focused on themselves and their own concerns in a
book are the protagonists (understandably). In adult books, this
means that the children are character elements, plot devices, or
MacGuffins. In children's books, it means that the adults are
absent, ineffectual, wicked, or -- in the case of DWJ --
concerned with their own issues and ignoring those of the
children. In Dark Lord, the narrative focus comes from two
different generations: Blade's and Derk's. The concerns of Blade
and his siblings are very real, respected, and genuine -- and so
are the concerns of Derk. The fact that, while he's concerned
about his children, he is also concerned about his world and his
relationship with his wife isn't presented as him not noticing
his children, and therefore being so self-absorbed as to be
wicked. It's presented as him being a man who loves his family
and loves his wife, and gets caught up in his own concerns as
legitimately as Blade gets caught up in his. Neither character is
made lesser to support the other.

There are not many other books I can think of that are so
respectful to both teens and adults and allow both to be
narrative focalizers.

I read Proust in my room while eating marzipan.
  -- Walter Benjamin, 1926

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