[LMB] OT: Reaction to a passage you don't like

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Sun Nov 1 18:11:10 GMT 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Laura Gallagher" <celticdragonfly at gmail.com>
To: "Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold." 
<lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Sent: Monday, October 26, 2009 11:13 PM
Subject: Re: [LMB] OT: Reaction to a passage you don't like

> Judy R Johnson wrote:
>>>Mind you, some women don't run even then, showing that they have a lot 
>>>hormonal fog than they have brains.
> Elizabeth McCoy wrote:
>> Or fear. Or internalized "it was all my fault he did that, so if I just
>> don't do X, then it won't happen again."
> <snip>  Ya
>> got me. Emotional abuse, paired with physical abuse or not, _twists_
>> people. Even smart people.
> This, together with the comments of people who don't care for Ekaterin
> as a character, yet admit to being understanding of other women who
> don't get out of abusive situations, has left me thinking.
> I wonder if the natural tendency for people is to accept that this
> happens to women, but somehow keep it a layer separated from us - an
> "it can't happen to me".  And Lois Bujold's writing generally brings
> us close to her characters, gets us into their head - at least it
> tends to for me.  Is this character putting people into the headspace

I've never married, and never lived with anyone.  I massively do -not- find 
Ekaterin a resonant character as regards "I would do what this person does." 
She's a home-making type, etc., and I emphatically am not a homebody sort. 
Being put into her headspace especially for Romance, doesn't excite me, 
doesn't enthrall me, doesn't take me on a trip I find all that compelling.

> that they would be more comfortable keeping more distant?  Do some
> people dislike her because they are subconsciously seeing her as
> someone like themselves, intelligent, thoughtful, clearly brave as we
> see later in the book, devoted to her son, a worthwhile person - who
> still stayed in that abusive situation - and people don't want to be
> able to identify with that?

Again, I would never have gotten into the situation in the first place, and 
the type of identification involved, on the "intimate" as opposed to 
"personal" level, doesn't do positive things for me.

> I have noticed that many of us who *do* say we like Ekaterin have said
> we have been in some situation like that ourselves, to one degree or
> another (and I am so grateful that I have never been in as rough a
> situation as some of you have told of!) - we already know that yeah,
> it could be us.

Again, I don't identify with Ekaterin and don't -connect- to her in the way 
that she's presented.  A different presentation that were less stick the 
reader in her head, might work better for me--it worked better for me in the 
most recently published book, where I wasn't put into her head obsessing 
about Miles and her situation with Tien and the homebody domestic inside the 
head point of view.  (Note, Kate Wilhelm's work does nothing for me, and 
most of Connie Willis' doesn't either... the reasons that I can stand 
reading the old-style Regency romances is that the narration perpectives 
often were -outside- the characters or if perceptions from them, I wasn't 
being expected to perceive the world the way they perceived or identify with 
them as congruent and acting and reacting the same way they were to the same 
stimuli--the change in venue made a difference there, of alien culture and 
reactions of people in that culture being -different- than in contemporary 
culture... contemporary romances I majorly tend to not appreciate and avoid, 
the people in them and the environment and situation aren't ones that elicit 
pleasure as reading, for me.   Slice of contemporary life bore me, and 
Ekaterin seemed to me to very much resemble slice of life of bad marriage 
and the wife is lusting after someone else, from inside the wife's head and 
expecting the reader to identify with the wife's perspective and perceptions 
and actions and reactions.  And there was no sarcasm/irony/humor-otherwise 
leavening it....

Ekaterin is a perfectly reasonable etc. person, but she lived with a 
situation that I never would have acceded to or survived in, either I would 
have looked at my opinions and -run- in the first place, would have gone 
ballistic with extremely high entropy content (that is, I do NOT know what I 
would have done,  put in the situation, because I might have gotten so riled 
up and worked up, that -Tien- would have run in the other direction... in 
case it hasn't been noticed here I'm a hot reactor, Ekaterin isn't.... Tien 
probably wouldn;t have hung around me for long, my sense of humor sometimes 
falls into Dratsab territory, and Tien didn't have much of  a sense of 
humor, either.... ) 

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