[DWJ] Cart and Cwidder Cwestion

estairm at yahoo.com estairm at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 19 18:08:49 EDT 2012

> Melissa wrote:
>...I'm also not sure that Clennen intended the cwidder to
>have this result; when he tells the children the story, he refers to the
>cwidder working only once for him in a way that I think suggests he sees it
>as some kind of good fortune. Mindrape in effect but not in intent? It
>surely didn't make a difference to Lenina, but it means a lot in terms of
>the kind of man Clennen is. Whatever that spell was, though, Lenina was
>definitely over it by the time the story begins. I lean more toward her
>behavior being passive-aggressive because she's stuck in her marriage,
>rather than muzzled by a control-spell still in effect. Also, like Philip, I
>wonder whether Clennen had any idea that his wife despised him. He's so full
>of himself that I'd bet on him not getting it--which makes him more
>despicable in my eyes.
>I also think that Clennen didn't know how to use the cwidder's powers, and would guess that he believed the cwidder only got Lenina for him because his love was so true and meant to be.  His character is a lot better if this is true.  
>But I don't understand why he is MORE despicable if he doesn't get how Lenina despises him. More unaware, or even stupid, yes.  But I'd consider him despicable if he knew she despised him, and knowing that, kept her in a life she disliked.  He's not so bad keeping her in that life if he assumed she just lurhved him as much as he loved her, and was happy being with him despite her sarcastic comments.
>Melissa further wrote:
>...The thing that keeps coming back to me when I read  this book is that it's
>all about family, *all* DWJ's books to this point have been about family.
>And unlike many YA books where the adults are in the background, here they
>are still not the center of the story, but they've got their own lives that
>are separate from the children's story. You could write a whole novel about
>Clennen making Lenina run off with him, and her coming to her senses, and
>everything that must have come before Cart and Cwidder opens, because they
>aren't just plot devices. I think Deborah said something about how DWJ's
>stories aren't necessarily about child abuse, just crappy parents--if you
>stipulate that it is not child abuse to take your kids on the road with you
>(tough rocks, Lenina, Clennen is right about this one), then the kids' only
>problem is that they have dysfunctional parents, which may or may not result
>in abuse, and in this case doesn't.
>I don't think it's child abuse to take kids on the road with you, either -- in general, that is.  I wonder if it is here, though.  Clennen is doing very dangerous work.  I don't think he was only endangering himself.  The people he's spying on and working against are ruthless and there's a big risk, I think, that if caught, his family would be considered accomplices, not innocents.  
>Esther Maclin

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