[DWJ] Cart and Cwidder Cwestion

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat Mar 17 18:58:26 EDT 2012

On Sat, 17 Mar 2012 20:12:11 +0100
Philip Belben <philipbelben at alice.de> wrote:

> 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...

Clennen did one of the nastiest things I can think of: mindrape.  He
wanted this girl who was getting married to someone else, so he used
the cwidder's magic to cause her to abandon the man she loved and
everything she knew, and to go with him even though she had never in the
slightest wanted to, and to bear his children and stay with him as long
as he lived. And at the time, she even wanted to do his will: her own
will was taken over and subverted.  And this oaf constantly belittled
the man she loved, and there was nothing she could do about it!

No wonder that once she was free to do something else, she was not
entirely content to be with nobody but the products of multiple
physical rape, and to continue the life she had never wanted.  His
death set her free: no wonder that when the man who had loved her all
along, not washing his hands of her and getting married to someone
else, came and said "I'm still here" she went with him willingly and
for the first time that her children had ever known her to be so really
happily.  A most heroic and constant man, who understood that she had
not been in control of her own mind and emotions and waited for her.
His offence as far as the children were concerned was that he wasn't
Clennen, really.

I'm not sure that it is being a bad mother to get her children to a
place of safety (they were at considerable physical risk because of
their father and his activities, after all) and not continue in a style
of life that she had hated the entire time she was unwillingly having to
follow it. That they didn't like the life she had to offer to them
doesn't negate the fact that by her lights she was doing her best for
them.  She could not herself have replaced Clennen as a spy, and the
place she went to wasn't exactly a bad place, just not what they wanted.

Were the people in Dogsbody parents, really?  Parent-figures, I agree.


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