[DWJ] McKinley and racism (WAS recommendations)

Lucy Pearson lucy.r.pearson at gmail.com
Wed Jul 31 08:57:46 EDT 2013


Ah yes! I had forgotten that part. In which case Tanaqui and her family are
also presumably darker skinned, since they can be mistaken for Heathen.

I had forgotten Helen! She is indeed awesome.

My head canon also has Millie as darker skinned, although Roger and Janet
are described as pale. Mind you, that could be relative. Also, I think
that's in 'Charmed Life', and the Millie I imagine in 'Charmed Life' does
not look at all like the  Millie who grow up from being the Millie in 'The
Lives of Christopher Chant', though. 'Charmed Life' never does fit
comfortably into the series for me - obviously it does in terms of plot,
but the characters hadn't quite grown into being themselves.

Lucy
On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 12:37 PM, Kyra Jucovy <arykiy at gmail.com> wrote:

> <i> In the Spellcoats, one of the things that
> marks Tanaqui's family out is that they look like the Heathen: they are
> fair while the villagers are dark. (I don't remember whether it's clear
> whether the difference extends to skin colour, though - the main reference
> is to their hair.) </i>
>
> I was under the impression that the Heathens were fair-haired but
> darker-skinned compared to the villagers, but in looking at the Amazon
> search inside the book feature it's hard to confirm my impression - the
> closest quotation I could find was Duck saying to Tanaqui, "They were real
> Heathens.  They had hair a bit like ours [ie, fair] and brown faces. . . ."
>  Also, at one point, Kars Adon's "face grew red under its Heathen brown."
>  This does sound as though there is a skin color distinction and the
> Heathens are darker.
>
> Tacroy is "brown," and I have read other people's headcanons that Millie is
> non-white and generally assume this to be accurate though I can't remember
> if there is any textual evidence.  And in THB Adam thinks that Helen looks
> "Pakistani."  Helen is so awesome.  That's irrelevant but needed to be
> mentioned anyway.
>
> ---Kyra
>
>
> On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 5:37 PM, Lucy Pearson <lucy.r.pearson at gmail.com
> >wrote:
>
> > Yes, in the Merlin Conspiracy Dora assumes Nick is from 'the Orient', and
> > Nick comments that Earth people usually assume he's Asian or Greek. He's
> > also very similar in looks to Rob, who is dark-skinned because his skin
> > colour matches the chestnut colour of the horse part of him. (I have
> always
> > loved this detail in DWJ's centaurs.)
> >
> > In Witch Week there's Nirupam Singh (one of the nicer characters in the
> > book, actually). In 'A Sudden Wild Magic' one of the women who ends up on
> > Blest is black, because the Blest people assume she belongs to a
> particular
> > group of very powerful witches from their universe.
> >
> > There are of course quite a few non-white characters from the various
> > iterations of the Middle East, in both 'Castle in the Air' and the
> Derkholm
> > books, although there are some problems inherent in those tropes, of
> > course. I think DWJ navigates them quite well, insofar as I've considered
> > it, but YMMV.
> >
> > Actually, quite a few characters in the Dalemark books are presumably at
> > least somewhat dark-skinned. In the Spellcoats, one of the things that
> > marks Tanaqui's family out is that they look like the Heathen: they are
> > fair while the villagers are dark. (I don't remember whether it's clear
> > whether the difference extends to skin colour, though - the main
> reference
> > is to their hair.) I get a bit confused about how the different groups in
> > th e Spellcoats develop into the ones we meet in the other book, but I
> > think we meet the 'not Heathens' again. I'm curious to reread now and see
> > if there are any explicit indications one way or another.
> >
> > My sense is there are more Asian and Middle Eastern characters in DWJ's
> > books, and not many black. But I'm not sure how much she tends to
> indicate
> > one way or another - the main thing that sticks in my mind for most of
> the
> > characters is the curly hair. This was, of course, the one bit of Diana
> > that consistently got into the books - but it wouldn't be out of place
> for
> > a black character either.
> >
> > Lucy
> > On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 4:15 AM, erikagillian at gmail.com <
> > erikagillian at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Wilkins' Tooth!  And I think Nick isn't totally pasty anyway, the
> Magids
> > > Nick, so Maree possibly too.
> > >
> > > Gin <kalaidiscope at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > >Hi,
> > > >
> > > >Re: Blue Sword- This was very influenced by Kipling.  From memory, it
> > name
> > > >checks Kim in the authors dedication. It's an interesting puzzle,
> > because
> > > >Kim ( and Aerin) are both " white" colonial, shown as more capable
> than
> > > the
> > > >natives.
> > > >
> > > >But they are capable because they bridge the worlds- they may be white
> > on
> > > >the outside, but the are "eggs" , yellow on the inside ( To use the
> > > >colloquial term for people who identify asian, even though they look
> > > >caucasian)
> > > >
> > > >There has been interesting discussion on this IRL here in Australia-
> Is
> > > >someone who is only 1/16th indigenous allowed to identify as
> Aboriginal?
> > > >There are people who do identify as aboriginal with this little
> > indigenous
> > > >blood, and they defend there right to do so. I don't have a problem
> with
> > > >this myself. Certainly Aerin has native blood, and finds that she
> > connects
> > > >with her heritage- that her heritage reaches out and grabs her- more
> > than
> > > >her birth country ever did. So I would be reluctant to call  her a
> > "great
> > > >white hero"
> > > >
> > > >As Erika said, the older man/younger woman theme is directly connected
> > to
> > > >Mckinley's life- She is in love with an older man, and that is what
> she
> > > >writes about. Seems fair to me, though I can see that someone just
> > looking
> > > >at the books without that knowledge might find the continuing theme a
> > bit
> > > >*interesting*
> > > >
> > > >Sometimes it does help to know something about the author, in spite of
> > > them
> > > >all telling us that the books should be judged independently....
> > > >
> > > >ODWJ reference...Does DWJ have any black characters? I have just
> > realised
> > > I
> > > >cannot name any. Does DWJ go out  of her way to describe characters as
> > > >white?
> > > >
> > > >Regards
> > > >
> > > >Gin
> > > >
> > > >On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 11:16 AM, erikagillian at gmail.com <
> > > >erikagillian at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > >
> > > >> The reason that age gap shows up is (probably) because McKinley is
> > > married
> > > >> to Peter Dickinson, who is twenty five years her senior.   Also a
> > > >> children's and YA author of some renown.
> > > >>
> > > >> Janet Eastwood <janet.eastwood at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > > >>
> > > >> >Oh yes, read Ghost Knight and Dragon Rider by all means. And for
> > > younger
> > > >> readers, Funke's picturebooks are funny and sweet and bold.
> > > >> >
> > > >> >Another thing that troubles me with McKinley's writing (much as I
> > like
> > > >> some of her books) is the pervasive theme of young woman marrying
> much
> > > >> older man. It shows up in many of her works (and in many other
> > authors'
> > > >> works as well), and while an age gap isn't necessarily a bad thing,
> > the
> > > >> recurrence of young female protagonist in her late teens marrying a
> > man
> > > >> somewhere between ten and two hundred years (Beauty) older is
> slightly
> > > >> worrying. Because while such marriages can and do work out happily,
> > > >> historically and socially, older + male = power. So there's quite
> the
> > > power
> > > >> imbalance there, as well as other emphases on the lover as a
> powerful
> > > male:
> > > >> "Master" (Chalice - as Martha pointed out), king (The Blue Sword),
> > > captor
> > > >> (Beauty, Rose Daughter), teacher (Spindle's End), vampire
> (Sunshine),
> > > >> sorcerer...
> > > >> >
> > > >> >Janet
> > > >> >
> > > >> >_______________________________________________
> > > >> >Dwj mailing list
> > > >> >Dwj at suberic.net
> > > >> >http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> > > >> _______________________________________________
> > > >> Dwj mailing list
> > > >> Dwj at suberic.net
> > > >> http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> > > >>
> > > >_______________________________________________
> > > >Dwj mailing list
> > > >Dwj at suberic.net
> > > >http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Dwj mailing list
> > > Dwj at suberic.net
> > > http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Lucy Pearson, Lecturer in Children's Literature
> > Newcastle University Children's Literature Unit
> > http://www.ncl.ac.uk/elll/research/children/unit.htm
> > _______________________________________________
> > Dwj mailing list
> > Dwj at suberic.net
> > http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Dwj mailing list
> Dwj at suberic.net
> http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
>



-- 
Lucy Pearson, Lecturer in Children's Literature
Newcastle University Children's Literature Unit
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/elll/research/children/unit.htm


More information about the Dwj mailing list