[DWJ] Cart and Cwidder Cwestion

Philip Belben philipbelben at alice.de
Sat Mar 17 15:12:11 EDT 2012

Cart and Cwidder.  For me this is the book in which DWJ introduces a 
theme that will come up again and again: misuse of truth.  "Lying by 
telling the truth" as Vivian Smith (ToTC) puts it.  It seems to me that 
DWJ must have felt very strongly about this!

> In my Children's Lit class, which I am teaching this semester, we end up
> talking a lot about absent parents, and how "bad" parents are taboo in
> Children's Lit - like parents can DIE, but actively being neglectful is
> pretty unusual, and I find it interesting that DWJ is one of the few
> writers willing to break this taboo. C&C seems to me to be a book where the
> parents really are terrible, but I wonder if I am affected by rereading it
> as an adult.
> Thoughts?

Interesting one.  I'd not thought of them as bad parents.  It's clear 
that Clennen and Lenina [*] didn't get on, but...

Clennen is bringing up his kids to follow in his trade.  Perfectly 
normal for the setting, as someone (Anita?) pointed out, and nothing 
wrong with that.  He's a bit self-centred, but otherwise I can't see any 
bad parenting from him.

Lenina is, well, projecting.  She hates the nomadic life, wants to go 
back to her aristocratic background.  It simply doesn't occur to her 
that the kids could want anything else, because that's what _she_ has 
always wanted.  But she too is trying to do her best for the kids, given 
the setting.

Not terribly good parents, because they're both too concerned with their 
own troubles to think about what the kids _really_ want or need.  But 
not bad.  For really bad parents, well, we're reading Dogsbody this month...


[*] Is Lenina the feminine of Lenin?

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