Reply
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths

On page 41, Paul tells us "In our Disney-inspired worldview, the widowed father-daughter relationship is a magic one. Witness pretty much every kid film -- The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, A Little Princess, Aladdin -- you get the point. In movies, not having a mother seemed to be a pretty nifty thing, which, when you think about it, is really perverse. In real life, not having a mother was just about the worst thing that could happen to a little girl."

This is a powerful moment, and a reminder that the author is asking us to question our reliance on simple or stereotypical ideas about characters, about good and bad, and about what's easy or difficult for people to grapple with. What do you think of Paul's statement here. What kind of a father does he seem to be? What other myths is The Woods aimed at asking us to question?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have only read the first part of The Woods, through the end of Chapter Ten. If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

Click on "Reply" to post your thoughts about this discussion topic, or click "New Message" on the main page to start a new topic thread.
Stephanie
Frequent Contributor
Andeka
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths

Having only seen those Disney movies once, maybe I missed that part - but I disagreed with Paul's statement that "not having a mother was a pretty nifty thing". I don't think those movies portrayed that at all; I think instead they were simply showing that a father could also raise and take good care of their little girls and have wonderful relationships with them.

So for Paul to have said/thought that, made me think he's feeling inadequate in his parenting skills - especially when his daughter failed to acknowledge his existence when he picked her up from the sister-in-law's house; yet, when he reads her bedtime stories each night, you just sense Paul is really doing a good job with raising his daughter on his own, and the doubts he feels is just the normal stuff parents feel from time to time. He's an aware dad - wanting the best for his daughter, and will always wonder if he could do better because she's his life.

There also seems to be an theme emerging of rich vs. poor. I noticed that in the trial he's prosecuting - and in his past trauma with the disappearance/murder of his sister. I'm guessing it's no coincidence that the two bodies found were those of the rich kids, while the two missing bodies were those of the poor kids (Perez and the sister) ??
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths

Andeka wrote:
Having only seen those Disney movies once, maybe I missed that part - but I disagreed with Paul's statement that "not having a mother was a pretty nifty thing". I don't think those movies portrayed that at all; I think instead they were simply showing that a father could also raise and take good care of their little girls and have wonderful relationships with them.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I dont think he was saying the movies portray not having a mother is a pretty nifty thing, I think what he is saying is that kids see these movies where there is only a father, and the little girls in all of them are, or turn out to be princesses with wonderful full lives! And to a little girl, thats a pretty nifty thing. I dont think he even assumes kids think that not having a mother in these movies makes it that way, I think he,s saying those types of movies make it seem easy or ok that the little girls didnt have moms to help make them "little princesses" and there are these mythical ideas in childrens stories.
I think he is showing how we tend to think that way as adults too sometimes. When we see a single father taking his daughter to a game, taking her shopping, playing with her, heck doing about anything with her, we have this disney wonderful idea, that oh, there is such a good daddy! He's so good at it! And we women are really bad at assuming that. (matter of fact,haven't there been a few movies made where these guys borrow little kids to take out to impress women with that daddy/son appearance thing going on? lol) I think Cope wants to do the best job he can and have a happy little princess of his own but feels the pains and difficulties of being a single father, especially to a little girl. It's like he is saying, this is hard work, nothing magical about it and it would be so much better with a mother too, my wife! I think he is saying, I am doing the best i can but this is not the magically easy thing to do that disney films or fairy tales or people on the outside seeing him parenting, would seem to show or think it is. Single parenting never is and I think it is harder for men alone, and that may be a stereotype but really, we dont raise our little boys to be the nurturers in a family do we really? We still raise the girls to be and women are very good at being nurturers, to children and also to that side of men that need that. Men and women together better fit the needs of each other and of the children. I applaud any single parent who is working and trying their best, thats not an easy thing to do at all....but fairytales would have you think so cause "they all lived happily ever after".
sidenote, what the heck is it in fairytales anyway that when one of the parents is out of the picture, its always the mother??? or both. Its never the father who is gone or dead. Think about it, its true about the stories in general.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Correspondent
Wrighty
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths


Stephanie wrote:
On page 41, Paul tells us "In our Disney-inspired worldview, the widowed father-daughter relationship is a magic one. Witness pretty much every kid film -- The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, A Little Princess, Aladdin -- you get the point. In movies, not having a mother seemed to be a pretty nifty thing, which, when you think about it, is really perverse. In real life, not having a mother was just about the worst thing that could happen to a little girl."

This is a powerful moment, and a reminder that the author is asking us to question our reliance on simple or stereotypical ideas about characters, about good and bad, and about what's easy or difficult for people to grapple with. What do you think of Paul's statement here. What kind of a father does he seem to be? What other myths is The Woods aimed at asking us to question?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have only read the first part of The Woods, through the end of Chapter Ten. If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

Click on "Reply" to post your thoughts about this discussion topic, or click "New Message" on the main page to start a new topic thread.




I've noticed the Disney thing with the mothers dying off. There's also The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Cinderella, Bambi, The Fox and the Hound... (although some of those were fairy tales first). Those stories break my heart! It is a bit perverse when you think about how often that happens. Even in the stories where there is hardship along the way there is always a happy ending. Paul knows from experience that it doesn't work that way. He and his daughter miss Jane and it will never be the same without her. It's a long hard road being a single father and Cara feels the same. She doesn't see it as glamorous or special that she only has her dad left. Even though they love each and they are doing their best they definitely don't seem to be feeling the "magic".
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths

In children's stories, it's often handy to "get rid of the parents" or at least the mother - James and the Giant Peach, Harry Potter, Up a Road Slowly, The Boxcar Children, Dicey's Song, etc., because then the child has to "make it on his own" - that's the reason so many children in literature are parentless. Paul's noticing that Disney makes this Magical is another endearing quality of his. It's not magical. It's sick to make it seem so. My own daughter has a real problem with this type of story. Even as young as four or five, she would ask, Is the Mother Dead? And if the answer was yes, she didn't want to hear the story or watch the movie. Pretty interesting insight for a little kid.
Stephanie
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths


Stephanie wrote:
In children's stories, it's often handy to "get rid of the parents" or at least the mother - James and the Giant Peach, Harry Potter, Up a Road Slowly, The Boxcar Children, Dicey's Song, etc., because then the child has to "make it on his own" - that's the reason so many children in literature are parentless. Paul's noticing that Disney makes this Magical is another endearing quality of his. It's not magical. It's sick to make it seem so. My own daughter has a real problem with this type of story. Even as young as four or five, she would ask, Is the Mother Dead? And if the answer was yes, she didn't want to hear the story or watch the movie. Pretty interesting insight for a little kid.


wow that is an insightful kid! and one who loves her momma very much and doesn't like the idea of not having her, or any kid not having theirs :smileywink: U know, you reminded me, when I was a kid, all the kids loved Casper the Friendly Ghost. I didnt. I was not afraid of the "ghost" aspect, on the contrary i loved scary movies and stuff. But I remember being like 6 or 7 or so and telling my mom i hated the Casper cartoons, she asked why, i said cause they are so sad! She said they are fun friendly cartoons, why do you think they are sad??? I said because its cartoons about a ghost looking for friends and a ghost is suppose to be dead people, so Casper is a dead little boy who is always looking for friends and lots of times mom, no one wants to play with him. I said its about a dead little boy wanting friends. I said that is sad and I dont think its right either. (meaning correct info lol) She just looked at me the way she did once in awhile like, where did you come from and what are you doing in my little girls body LOL. I dont remember her saying anything, but we didnt watch Casper anymore and I didnt get Casper books or toys from anyone as gifts anymore.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths

Vivian,

I know these sorts of stories occur everyday in the lives of parents - kids are very in-tuned and sensitive. I wish more stories would portray them that way, but I suppose they seem unbelievable.

If I remember correctly (and I don't have my book with me or I'd check) I think Cara is six in the story, and her mother has been dead six years. So she died before Cara turned one. Not many memories there, but growing up without a mother has to be very hard, once a child is in school and realizes that most everyone else has one.
Stephanie
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths


Stephanie wrote:
Vivian,

I know these sorts of stories occur everyday in the lives of parents - kids are very in-tuned and sensitive. I wish more stories would portray them that way, but I suppose they seem unbelievable.

If I remember correctly (and I don't have my book with me or I'd check) I think Cara is six in the story, and her mother has been dead six years. So she died before Cara turned one. Not many memories there, but growing up without a mother has to be very hard, once a child is in school and realizes that most everyone else has one.


Thats true. Every wonder why kid's fairy tales are written that way? And why its always the mother thats gone? I can see why Paul in the book would feel the way he does and thats a lot to live up to. You can already see in the little bit we get of Cara now, how much the women around her in her life mean to her, even Muse. You know they say, fairytales were first written to scare kids, stories to keep them in line, teach them what bad things would happen if they didnt obey their parents. Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, and others, originally all got killed or eaten. The fairytales now like disney type, they are about kids becoming happily ever after in the end BUT without a mother figure. Any thoughts on why they are that way now?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths



Andeka wrote:
Having only seen those Disney movies once, maybe I missed that part - but I disagreed with Paul's statement that "not having a mother was a pretty nifty thing". I don't think those movies portrayed that at all; I think instead they were simply showing that a father could also raise and take good care of their little girls and have wonderful relationships with them.

So for Paul to have said/thought that, made me think he's feeling inadequate in his parenting skills - especially when his daughter failed to acknowledge his existence when he picked her up from the sister-in-law's house; yet, when he reads her bedtime stories each night, you just sense Paul is really doing a good job with raising his daughter on his own, and the doubts he feels is just the normal stuff parents feel from time to time. He's an aware dad - wanting the best for his daughter, and will always wonder if he could do better because she's his life.

There also seems to be an theme emerging of rich vs. poor. I noticed that in the trial he's prosecuting - and in his past trauma with the disappearance/murder of his sister. I'm guessing it's no coincidence that the two bodies found were those of the rich kids, while the two missing bodies were those of the poor kids (Perez and the sister) ??





I have heard so many people speak of this Disney trait, a single parent usually is portrayed in them. But I always would like to think the writers are indicating that life is not always a ideal family of a mother and father. And shows how you can be happy if circumstances prohibit you from having both parents in the picture. Things can work out good despite aversity in their lives. I know when I was growing up without a father, I felt very awkward with friends that had both parents and seemed to be this fairytale happy family. And also in books, it seemed not real to see the little girl and boy always carried off to bed by the Mom and Dad. Realism in Disney movies did bring alot of consoversery but I choose to believe it was not promoting single parent families as some people believe.
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths

kiakar wrote:
I have heard so many people speak of this Disney trait, a single parent usually is portrayed in them. But I always would like to think the writers are indicating that life is not always a ideal family of a mother and father. And shows how you can be happy if circumstances prohibit you from having both parents in the picture. Things can work out good despite aversity in their lives. I know when I was growing up without a father, I felt very awkward with friends that had both parents and seemed to be this fairytale happy family. And also in books, it seemed not real to see the little girl and boy always carried off to bed by the Mom and Dad. Realism in Disney movies did bring alot of consoversery but I choose to believe it was not promoting single parent families as some people believe.
_______________________________________________________________________________

kiakar, I dont think they are promoting single parent families or that anyone here means that either. Actually what we are saying is why are most fairy tales (disney just happens to make the most of them into movies) are written with the mother missing and what we are saying about paul breaking the myth of them is exactly what you said when you said:

"I know when I was growing up without a father, I felt very awkward with friends that had both parents and seemed to be this fairytale happy family."

That to me is what paul is saying too.Its not going to be a fairy tale for his daughter in school with no mother and its not all easy or happy for him trying to raise her alone as it seems to be in the fairy tales.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Frequent Contributor
LizzieAnn
Posts: 2,344
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths

I see this statement as Paul's confirmation that real life isn't always neat & rosy-colored (like a Disney film), but can be difficult, messed-up, and filled with shadows. He know what he & his daughter are missing, but also doesn't know how to make it better. He wants a strong & happy bond with Cara - a good rapport, but he can't achieve it. He knows that the things that Cara is missing with her mother are huge, and, for many of them, he can't step in adequately. He sometimes seems lost when it comes to Cara, and it's obvious he's eager to be enough for her.

The other things that have popped up:

  • A father will do anything to protect his child.


  • Let sleeping dogs lie.


  • Money & social standing.


  • You don't always know your family as well as you think you do.


  • Guilt never truly goes away.


  • Lies often have a way of being revealed.


  • You're never sure who you can really trust.
  • Liz ♥ ♥


    Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
    Inspired Wordsmith
    Stephanie
    Posts: 2,613
    Registered: ‎10-19-2006
    0 Kudos

    Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths

    [ Edited ]





    I have heard so many people speak of this Disney trait, a single parent usually is portrayed in them. But I always would like to think the writers are indicating that life is not always a ideal family of a mother and father. And shows how you can be happy if circumstances prohibit you from having both parents in the picture. Things can work out good despite aversity in their lives. I know when I was growing up without a father, I felt very awkward with friends that had both parents and seemed to be this fairytale happy family. And also in books, it seemed not real to see the little girl and boy always carried off to bed by the Mom and Dad. Realism in Disney movies did bring alot of consoversery but I choose to believe it was not promoting single parent families as some people believe.




    Linda,

    I know just what you mean - Disney has taken a few raps in the media for all sorts of things, hm? I also think that portraying families in other than just a traditional two-parent family is helpful to all kids, and not only the ones that don't live in that setting. It's good for children to see different aspects of life - they tend to think everyone lives the same way until they see something different.

    Message Edited by Stephanie on 05-02-200709:48 PM

    Stephanie
    Scribe
    vivico1
    Posts: 3,456
    Registered: ‎10-19-2006
    0 Kudos

    Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Puncturing Myths


    Stephanie wrote:




    Linda,

    I know just what you mean - Disney has taken a few raps in the media for all sorts of things, hm? I also think that portraying families in other than just a traditional two-parent family is helpful to all kids, and not only the ones that don't live in that setting. It's good for children to see different aspects of life - they tend to think everyone lives the same way until they see something different.

    Message Edited by Stephanie on 05-02-200709:48 PM




    I am still wondering tho, if anyone can come up with how or why it started that so many fairy tales are full of father only families, not some with mother only, if we are looking at different types of families being portrayed. There are actually more single mother homes than single father homes in real life. Where are the mothers in the fairy tales, why are they the ones taken out? And how did that all come about?
    Vivian
    ~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
    Inspired Correspondent
    Wrighty
    Posts: 1,762
    Registered: ‎10-19-2006
    0 Kudos

    where's mom?


    vivico1 wrote:



    I am still wondering tho, if anyone can come up with how or why it started that so many fairy tales are full of father only families, not some with mother only, if we are looking at different types of families being portrayed. There are actually more single mother homes than single father homes in real life. Where are the mothers in the fairy tales, why are they the ones taken out? And how did that all come about?




    I wonder that as well. I understand the end result is to show a happy ending and overcoming adversity but like Viv said, why is the mother always bumped off?
    Scribe
    vivico1
    Posts: 3,456
    Registered: ‎10-19-2006
    0 Kudos

    Re: where's mom?


    Wrighty wrote:

    vivico1 wrote:



    I am still wondering tho, if anyone can come up with how or why it started that so many fairy tales are full of father only families, not some with mother only, if we are looking at different types of families being portrayed. There are actually more single mother homes than single father homes in real life. Where are the mothers in the fairy tales, why are they the ones taken out? And how did that all come about?




    I wonder that as well. I understand the end result is to show a happy ending and overcoming adversity but like Viv said, why is the mother always bumped off?


    maybe all the old fairytales were written by men? like the brothers Grimm? :smileywink:
    Vivian
    ~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
    Wordsmith
    kiakar
    Posts: 3,435
    Registered: ‎10-19-2006
    0 Kudos

    Re: where's mom?



    Wrighty wrote:

    vivico1 wrote:



    I am still wondering tho, if anyone can come up with how or why it started that so many fairy tales are full of father only families, not some with mother only, if we are looking at different types of families being portrayed. There are actually more single mother homes than single father homes in real life. Where are the mothers in the fairy tales, why are they the ones taken out? And how did that all come about?




    I wonder that as well. I understand the end result is to show a happy ending and overcoming adversity but like Viv said, why is the mother always bumped off?




    Wrighty and Vivian:

    That I can't answer, about the mother, I have tried to think back at alot of them to find a mother but other than some of the older fairtales, you are right. But maybe its to show that anybody can be anybody they want to be, if they try. Everyone feels that a father can't be as good as a mother or do the things she does. Maybe this is to stamp out that myth, by showing a father being a mother. Or doing things as best as possible anyway. The mother is a natural at being a parent, even the father part but a father is not usually adept in passionate ways a mother is. Only thing about a mom especially earlier in eras is making the living. But now, even that can be accomplished. Could it be that?
    Scribe
    vivico1
    Posts: 3,456
    Registered: ‎10-19-2006
    0 Kudos

    Re: where's mom?

    Kaikar wrote:
    Wrighty and Vivian:

    That I can't answer, about the mother, I have tried to think back at alot of them to find a mother but other than some of the older fairtales, you are right. But maybe its to show that anybody can be anybody they want to be, if they try. Everyone feels that a father can't be as good as a mother or do the things she does. Maybe this is to stamp out that myth, by showing a father being a mother. Or doing things as best as possible anyway. The mother is a natural at being a parent, even the father part but a father is not usually adept in passionate ways a mother is. Only thing about a mom especially earlier in eras is making the living. But now, even that can be accomplished. Could it be that?
    _______________________________________________________________________________________
    I may actually see if i can find any research on mothers in fairy tales and see whats there.
    Vivian
    ~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
    Wordsmith
    kiakar
    Posts: 3,435
    Registered: ‎10-19-2006
    0 Kudos

    Re: where's mom?



    vivico1 wrote:
    Kaikar wrote:
    Wrighty and Vivian:

    That I can't answer, about the mother, I have tried to think back at alot of them to find a mother but other than some of the older fairtales, you are right. But maybe its to show that anybody can be anybody they want to be, if they try. Everyone feels that a father can't be as good as a mother or do the things she does. Maybe this is to stamp out that myth, by showing a father being a mother. Or doing things as best as possible anyway. The mother is a natural at being a parent, even the father part but a father is not usually adept in passionate ways a mother is. Only thing about a mom especially earlier in eras is making the living. But now, even that can be accomplished. Could it be that?
    _______________________________________________________________________________________
    I may actually see if i can find any research on mothers in fairy tales and see whats there.




    Oh,yeah. Vivian, that will be interesting!
    Inspired Wordsmith
    Stephanie
    Posts: 2,613
    Registered: ‎10-19-2006
    0 Kudos

    Re: where's mom?

    "Parentlessness" in literature or film serves to establish the hero or heroine as independent - note that if the mother is missing, the father is usually overbearing or inept. (Think Aladdin- inept, The Little Mermaid- overbearing.) It's a device used by the creators because the hero needs to complete the action, and what mother would let her child take on the world alone?
    Stephanie
    Wordsmith
    kiakar
    Posts: 3,435
    Registered: ‎10-19-2006
    0 Kudos

    Re: where's mom?



    Stephanie wrote:
    "Parentlessness" in literature or film serves to establish the hero or heroine as independent - note that if the mother is missing, the father is usually overbearing or inept. (Think Aladdin- inept, The Little Mermaid- overbearing.) It's a device used by the creators because the hero needs to complete the action, and what mother would let her child take on the world alone?




    Stephanie: This is an interesting concept: Wow! me, I would have never thought of that!
    Users Online
    Currently online:77 members 581 guests
    Please welcome our newest community members: