[DWJ] Parents (was; Cast and Cwidder)

Gillian Houck erikagillian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 14 17:34:03 EDT 2012

This seemed to be what happened in DWJ's life.  Bad parents, in such
outrageous ways it seemed almost too strange to be believed (from both
DWJ's autobiography on the website and Time of the Ghost) and then
being rescued by her grandmother.  I think that's her maternal
grandmother doing the rescuing.   If I remember correctly her paternal
grandparents were Welsh, and we might be getting a glimpse of that
grandfather in Merlin Conspiracy.

That reminds me, has there been more than one version of the
autobiography on the website?  The one there now (or when I looked a
few months ago) seems different from what I remember reading
originally.  I'd love any and all of her autobiographical writers, of
course, they're such wonderful stories themselves.

On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 1:58 PM,  <jodel at aol.com> wrote:
> Upon the whole, for at least what feels like the first half of DWJ's body of
> work, we appear to have the motif of pretty good grandparents set against
> less than satisfactory parents. But the most interesting thing about it is
> that they are generally unsatisfactory in completely different ways. Not all
> cut to the same pattern.
> Sometimes, it's pretty clearly just invoking the standard (for the time)
> unobservant/ineffective parents who are presented as such so the kids will
> have the option of dealing with the situation. There was a lot of that going
> on over the course of the 20th century. It's kind of a logical development
> out of E. Nesbit's "no grownups noticing" trope -- which Nesbit had various
> fun with, since for the grownups not to notice what was going one was often
> as bad, if not worse, than having them noticing it would have been.
> But in all the other cases, the parents are every bit as individualized as
> the young protagonists. No one would ever mistake Clennen and Lennina for
> Reg and Ivy, for example, although both sets were far from ideal even at the
> best of times. Nor could you mistake them for Mig and her brother's parents
> in Aunt Maria, or for Quinten and Catriona, even though I rather *like*
> Quinten and Catriona. But I wouldn't nominate them for parents of the year,
> except perhaps by comparison. And that's not even taking the real monsters
> into consideration.
> And then you get the grandparents -- or, to be honest, the grandmothers. For
> I don't get a very clear image of meeting many grandfathers until we start
> working out way into the later half of the material, and by that time
> grandparents were no longer being given any kind of a pass. Polly's
> grandmother takes the most active role of any of them, and she was very much
> what Polly needed, but she was quite correct in admitting that she made
> mistakes with Reg. Although how much of what Reg is can really be laid at
> her door is debatable. There was another rescuing grandmother in Time of the
> Ghost, but we never properly met her, except in summary, since by the time
> she swept in and carried her grandaughters off to a more normal life, most
> of the arc was set in stone, and only had to wait for the conclusion.
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E. G. Houck - http://erikagillian.livejournal.com
"Shut up the door, ...fatigued I said,
Tie up the Knocker; say I'm sick, I'm dead."
Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot - Alexander Pope

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