Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » OSC and the horrors of family (Page 2)

  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: OSC and the horrors of family
kmbboots
Member
Member # 8576

 - posted      Profile for kmbboots   Email kmbboots         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
I think he was thinking more 'Dandelion Wine' than 'Martian Chronicles.'

Well, that's boring. [Wink]
Posts: 10426 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Synesthesia
Member
Member # 4774

 - posted      Profile for Synesthesia   Email Synesthesia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dang... I hope his brother wasn't like Peter. He was so cruel! It annoyed me how his parents never noticed that and did something about it.
He was incredibly mean.

Posts: 9879 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kmbboots
Member
Member # 8576

 - posted      Profile for kmbboots   Email kmbboots         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was clearly hoping his brother was a Martian. I am so disappointed.
Posts: 10426 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
Dang... I hope his brother wasn't like Peter. He was so cruel! It annoyed me how his parents never noticed that and did something about it.
He was incredibly mean.

It's interesting to me that the Shadow books recast Ender's parents completely from blind fools and 3rd part players, mere extras in the story, into their own kinds of genius. To read the Shadow books, we are to believe that everything Ender perceived about his parents was wrong, and that in fact they were geniuses themselves, and fully aware of the conflict between him and his brother, and of all of Peter's and Valentine's activities.

Convenient that within the span of the series, he became the father of a family himself. I'm sure that was just a coincidence.

Posts: 9361 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Synesthesia
Member
Member # 4774

 - posted      Profile for Synesthesia   Email Synesthesia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
Dang... I hope his brother wasn't like Peter. He was so cruel! It annoyed me how his parents never noticed that and did something about it.
He was incredibly mean.

It's interesting to me that the Shadow books recast Ender's parents completely from blind fools and 3rd part players, mere extras in the story, into their own kinds of genius. To read the Shadow books, we are to believe that everything Ender perceived about his parents was wrong, and that in fact they were geniuses themselves, and fully aware of the conflict between him and his brother, and of all of Peter's and Valentine's activities.

Convenient that within the span of the series, he became the father of a family himself. I'm sure that was just a coincidence.

That bugged that crap out of me, because I thought, if they knew what they were doing on the net, then why didn't they stop Peter from bullying the other kids?
I can't abide bullying. I think if I had kids that would press my buttons way more than stomping or eye rolling. [Mad] Grrr. Bullying. [No No]

Posts: 9879 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
...you know, those precise questions were specifically addressed. Is it just that you didn't agree with the answers? Because the Wiggins did have their reasons.
Posts: 16040 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yes, Rakeesh, but my point was that those reasons were invented a good decade after the actions they justify were written about. Also, those reasons kind of sucked, in my estimation. Great books, but there came a point where suspension of disbelief was tried at how smart everybody was getting.
Posts: 9361 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scifibum
Member
Member # 7625

 - posted      Profile for scifibum   Email scifibum         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The ease with which they all manipulate each other does strain credulity sometimes.

That's funny, Orincoro, it hadn't occurred to me that OSC had become a father by the time he (perhaps) retconned the parents into geniuses. [Big Grin]

Posts: 3739 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Heh. To me that was blatant. The parents were clueless when he had no kids (or only very small ones). Once he had been the parent of teenagers, he rejected that notion in favor of them only appearing to be clueless.

Which I actually find very believable. In no small part, one must assume, because I have a teenager (almost 2) of my own. [Big Grin]

Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Yozhik
Member
Member # 89

 - posted      Profile for Yozhik   Email Yozhik         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
his characterizations of family life are consistently focused on negative, narcissistic, dysfunctional, and abusive personalities and relationships- either that or his characters are simply ripped from their home environments entirely, or murdered. It makes for good fiction, yes, but it's even more interesting coming from someone who has positioned himself as a voice on the true greatness of the American family.
It makes perfect sense once you take into account that OSC likes to make his characters SUFFER. (Think of the lead character in "A Thousand Deaths," for example, or the scene with the twick in Worthing Saga, or the punishments Asineth metes out in Hart's Hope, or anything in "Kingsmeat.")

If you believe that family is one of the most important things in life, then one of the most painful forms of suffering you can inflict on your characters is family dysfunction or loss.

Posts: 1498 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm sorry, but that explanation is rather weak. There are, as you mention, many ways of making people suffer. The family dynamics of so many characters are in place to do and show more than simple suffering.

If OSC does this simply to make his characters suffer, why doesn't he just do away with all characterization entirely and just depict endless torture scenes? Of course he doesn't because the stories are about characters, and the family dynamics of those characters are important to the story, and presumably of slight importance to the author.

Posts: 9361 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Yozhik
Member
Member # 89

 - posted      Profile for Yozhik   Email Yozhik         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
If OSC does this simply to make his characters suffer, why doesn't he just do away with all characterization entirely and just depict endless torture scenes?
Because the stories are not about suffering per se, but about how the characters respond to suffering: what kind of people do they become as a result of what happens to them. This is made pretty clear in the Worthing Saga.
Posts: 1498 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mhmm, and the situations described have no relevance to anything. That's good thinking there. You're a scholar.
Posts: 9361 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Yozhik
Member
Member # 89

 - posted      Profile for Yozhik   Email Yozhik         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
?
Posts: 1498 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I see no point in trying to justify the idea (which OSC pushes about his own work), that it's all about the human condition, and devoid of baggage carried by the author himself. Since OSC is no exception in that his work is cluttered with the baggage of his personal battles, his claims to the contrary, or his implications to the contrary, are silly to me. Don't trust an author to tell you what his work is all about- there's no reason he should have a better answer to that than you do.
Posts: 9361 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wendybird
Member
Member # 84

 - posted      Profile for Wendybird   Email Wendybird         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There is no way anyone can truly separate themselves from the coloring their past experiences gives either their writing or their interpretations of someone elses writing. Our pasts are inextricably woven into who we are and as such influence what we write as an author and what we see as a reader. Much like Orincoro tuning into the experiences of Ender with his brother and extrapolating that OSC must have had similar experiences. I never thought of that not having gone through those kinds of experiences myself.
Posts: 1091 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's an interesting point, Wendybird.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Very.
Posts: 9361 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Chuckie
Member
Member # 12098

 - posted      Profile for Chuckie           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Jinnayah-
I think that Card uses the overall idea of "family" as one huge theme in many of his works. As others here may have already said-family is one of the most intricate aspects of humanity, and I think Card is very invested in the concept, as both an author and perhaps as a person. It seems natural to delve into all the webs of entanglement and attachment that can be delved into when that's an overlying theme.

Any action, when put in the context of a family, is then magnified- instead of being just good, it's heroic. Instead of being just evil- it's horrific. The idea of these close relationships & the stress and support that stem from them gives betrayal or self-sacrifice a whole new face. This may be another reason Card uses the family unit the way he does. And rather than saying he doesn't care for families, one might say he is just using this idea, that family actions are intensified, to the fullest.

Posts: 8 | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scifibum
Member
Member # 7625

 - posted      Profile for scifibum   Email scifibum         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think that's an interesting take on it, Chuckie. However, I'm not convinced. I'm not sure that I would magnify actions in a family context, either consciously or subconsciously.

In fact, I think it could go the other way. I think someone is more admirable and heroic who risks his life to save a total stranger than the one who risks his life to save his child. Even better if it's someone he has reason to hate. (I'm reminded of "Enemy Mine".)

Can you flesh out your idea a bit, to illustrate how the family context intensifies actions?

Is it really intensity, or is it simply repetition over time?

Posts: 3739 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Chuckie
Member
Member # 12098

 - posted      Profile for Chuckie           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I see your point--if you save someone to whom you have no previous connection to, isn't that more heroic than saving a loved one? That may be true. However, if we're saying that this type of sacrifice is more noble than the sacrifice one makes for family, then we're denigrating the importance of familial sacrifice.

Say you save a small child from being hit by a bus on the street, at a cost of injury to yourself. The fact that you don't know this person, that you don't love them, makes this action all the more noble. However, say that small child is your own and you recieve the same injury. One action is motivated by common decency, one is motivate by love. This may sound a little melodramtic, but what's the better motivation for such an act? And really, what is common decency? A love for society, for the greater good, for justice. So each act can be traced back to love, albeit slightly different veins of it. So I'd say that each act is just as heroic, in its own way.

To address the idea that family actions are magnified- the love and protection that the family unit offers lend themselves to this concept. As a small example-- I recently walked into a room and was immediately subject to "friendly" ribbing-- mockery from some of my peers that was disguised as just messing around but was actually speaking some underlying resentment towards me and therefore genuinely hurt me. My sister and brother were both present in the room, and it ws them that I looked to for support. However, my sister was the one leading the attack, and my brother sat by refusing to come to my aid when I asked him to mitigate. The mockery from others, that I could take. But the thing that made such a commonplace incident really hurt me was that two members of my family not only didn't stand up for me but also betrayed my trust by humiliating me in front of others. Here's what I mean by this- I had trusted my two sibilings since we are family. The others, I did not trust very much at all. They all had an equal part in the mockery, but the ones that hurt me the most by it were my sibilings. Does this give you a better picture of what I mean? When that family bond, that trust, is broken, it hurts & affects much more than if the same action came from a stranger.

Posts: 8 | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clumpy
Member
Member # 8122

 - posted      Profile for Clumpy           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In response to the people making a Card/Step connection, I've always thought that Step is sort of a stand-in for some aspects of Card's personality. Obviously it's very presumptuous for me to make such a claim, but I get this feeling based on how fleshed-out Step and his family are compared to many of his other families and characters.

Card's characters usually start out as quite defined and unique, often even annoying, then bland out as they gain "character" in a Luke Skywalker sort of way. For example, Theresa and John Paul Wiggin (going back to First Meetings here) start out as snotty, egotistical conservative intellectuals and then (whether because OSC intended them to be hiding their intelligence since the beginning or because parents were merely needed for the story) lost their color and became a self-loathing family man and woman who didn't have their heart in it.

Same thing with Novinha and her family - they interact the most when they're bitchy and self-destructive. As they calm down and get over some of the trauma and walls between them they have much less to say to each other.

Now, snarky people could take this to mean that OSC's image of the perfect family is a sort of self-sacrificing confrontative mess. But I think it's more clear that Card is most interested in the types of stories that show people learning to understand each other and growing closer while sacrificing destructive behavior. The relationship between Step and DeAnne Fletcher, for example, is respectful and open. Miro and Val/Jane in fact are almost the perfect couple - intellectual, mostly whole people who have shared and private interests and are both comfortable and excited in each other's company.

I'm rambling here. I guess my point is that Card really only writes one character (while giving them enough warts and unique traits to keep them from blending together), which is far better than using stock or cliched characters as most thriller writers do, and I don't believe that any aspersions can be made into OSC's personal views or family life without being guilty of the same sort of simple thinking we might attempt to diagnose in such an attempt.

EDIT: If there's any words I feel comfortable putting into OSC's mouth they come from this review of "Dan in Real Life," a film Card gave high praise to:

quote:
Dan in Real Life is a film willing to admit that love is messy and that family, no matter how strained, is still the most perfect cauldron within which to ferment all those things that make life worth living.

Posts: 127 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Synesthesia
Member
Member # 4774

 - posted      Profile for Synesthesia   Email Synesthesia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmm

Actually Step and his family are based on Card and his actual family, perhaps Puppy can confirm this better, but a teacher like that teacher existed. I can't understand why Step felt so BAD about... confronting her because anyone who would bully a little child kind of deserves that.

The wrong people tend to be guilty in his books. I bet she wasn't even ashamed of being mean to a little boy.

Of course I could be wrong...

Posts: 9879 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sala
Member
Member # 8980

 - posted      Profile for Sala           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've found that people who act that way toward children who are teachers really aren't ashamed of it. In fact, they often think of it with a certain sense of pride in that they are being "honest" about things. Thankfully, in my experience, they haven't lasted long in education or have been moved to positions which put them as co-teachers with someone else whose presence tends to moderate their bullying tendencies.
Posts: 309 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jamio
Member
Member # 12053

 - posted      Profile for Jamio           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Clumpy:

Card's characters usually start out as quite defined and unique, often even annoying, then bland out as they gain "character" in a Luke Skywalker sort of way. For example, Theresa and John Paul Wiggin (going back to First Meetings here) start out as snotty, egotistical conservative intellectuals and then (whether because OSC intended them to be hiding their intelligence since the beginning or because parents were merely needed for the story) lost their color and became a self-loathing family man and woman who didn't have their heart in it.

Same thing with Novinha and her family - they interact the most when they're bitchy and self-destructive. As they calm down and get over some of the trauma and walls between them they have much less to say to each other.

From Tolstoy:
quote:
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Posts: 101 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2