Posted by Hil on February 02, 1998 at 00:02:20:
In response to But so like a dysfunctional family, written by Laura on January 27, 1998 at 12:50:02
] There are many, many families even now that are like this. Hil and I talked about it a little in chat. What is excruciating, tho' I didn't think so, is that you really want to hit one or the other for being a dolt.
] Oscar, to me, seemed a little afraid of his father, but when he was away from him, he thought he could stand up to him. Which is why he made the hopscotch thing. He knew that his God would punish his father, for being a hypocrite. The scene at Stratton, was excruciating because the poor maid couldn't carve her pig! ;)
] Two strongminded persons and I use that loosely, because I didn't find them to be strong characters at all, aren't going to admit defeat to one another.
I don't think such excruciating feelings have ever been uncommon.... its just agony to have them so clearly and vividly described. And I don't want to hit them. I want to cry for them because they are so lost, and its all too easy to see oneself being as lost.
I think Oscar made the hopscotch fortune-telling thing because he loved his father so much it tore him apart to think Theophilis was not saved, and that he would have to take his own salvation into his own hands, away from all that was most familiar and precious to him. Those thoughts were terrifying, and he had to have some test - he saw it as divine - to guide him as to what to do.
I think the bits about Mrs Millar's leg of lamb, while funny, only serve by their ordinary grumpiness, to make the whole scene more extraordinary.
I see Oscar and Theophilis as strong characters here in that they each have strong convictions and stand by them, whether we or others in the book agree with their beliefs or not. There is a lot in O&L about the paradox of weakness and strength going hand in hand, like the central image of the Prince Rupert's Drop, and glass itself, and that is how I understand the main characters.
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