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Obverse & Reverse Ch 6 Page 25

Obverse & Reverse Ch 6 Page 25 published on 45 Comments on Obverse & Reverse Ch 6 Page 25

Local dad weighs the pros and cons of breaking his son’s heart now or potentially opening his son’s life to misery by way of community shunning in the future.

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On one hand: Yes, it’s tragic. On the other hand: Future happiness of own child vs. that of one you don’t even know. Not an easy choice, but clear.

I don’t know why everyone’s hating on Roald. He’s just doing what any good parent would do. Ensure his own child is good off.

Using his unhappy child as an intellectual shield to avoid confronting the harsh reality of something patently unjust when said child is actively challenging it? Yep, that’s some stellar parenting right there.

I mean, sure. He could choose the be one of the first bulwarks against “the old ways” and suffer for it along with his son and probably their children to come.

And they’ll be remembered as great people after (if someone remembers them and if things change).

Buuut… At this moment it is him, his child and everything he could ever accomplish in his current area vs this one weird monster. Heck, I’d probably pick the first one too over the second.

I’m sure the backlash against Roald over the last number of pages would have been less intense if Mary hadn’t straight-up called the situation out for how utterly ridiculous and petty it was – and the way she did so was questionable in itself. One can’t help thinking of the slippery slope, and granted this may be a heavy magical influence on Wonderland society, tangential to the very elements Roald is studying – but what else are the Wonderlanders prepared to tolerate, for the sake of a quiet life? Ronald’s tirades don’t inspire confidence; not in him, but in everyone else.

Roald hasn’t actually done anything yet. People are prematurely hating on him while he’s still working things through. In a highly realistic fashion, I might add. This is not a children’s story where people are automatically rewarded for doing the right thing. Roald is facing a very difficult choice and his safest option appears to becoming one of the majority of “good people who do nothing” Dr. King warned against who rationalize the safe choice rather than live with their cowardice. Much of the criticism appears to be pure projection from people who fear, or worse, know, that they couldn’t do any better.

I realize that it’s easy for me to sit back and condemn Roald when I’m nice and safe behind my computer screen and living in a society that generally *rewards* taking a stand against racism instead of punishing such stands. Plus, like you said, he’s working things through. I’d like to say that I always do the right thing without a moment’s hesitation, but that would be a filthy lie.

I’m still going to be bitterly disappointed if he kicks Elanor out, though.

I believe it’s a bit more grey…

It’s an OUTSIDE aspect of society that generally rewards taking a stand… but in the immediate area of those who are taking a stand, we need to remember WHY they’re taking a stand and the things that can happen when they do.

And that murder, arson, harassment, battery, disappearances and kidnappings are amongst the things LOCAL societies have resorted to to retain the status quo.

Roald is already stretching to get jubjubs accepted but not bandersnatches. Rupert is already a bit ostracized and separate from local society. But Rupert and Eleanor can support one another through the hard times.

“Roald is already stretching to get jubjubs accepted but not bandersnatches. Rupert is already a bit ostracised and separate from the local society.”

Which is why Roald’s ‘they are monsters for a reason’ came uncomfortably across like a real-world gay person, fully aware of the persecution and struggle for acceptance they still have to contend with from some quarters, being revealed as transphobic.

I don’t think it’s like that entirely.

The way I’m reading it, it’s not like a gay person being revealed as transphobic.

It’s like a gay person who’s trying to find acceptance, but isn’t willing to help trans folks find acceptance because he thinks it’d make it harder for him to get that acceptance when he includes trans folks alongside him.

It’s not that he hasn’t done anything yet.

It’s that everything he’s saying is stating he has already made up his mind and has decided NOT to help Eleanor because it would cost Rupert and himself.

And I believe people understand that there is no automatic ‘reward’ for doing the right thing. That it’s NOT an easy stand to take. That there will be fighting, pushback, recriminations, etc.

The time is always right to do what is right.

Another King quote.

I’m not saying it’s an easy choice. Of course it isn’t, and it’ll have consequences. Potentially dark ones, as some people have implied at with the lengths ‘locals’ will go to to protect the status quo. But really, that’s what Roald should be having difficulty with; figuring out how best to do what is right to protect Rupert from the possible fallout, after all, no good deed goes unpunished.

Not whether to do the right or the wrong thing. That’s what people are getting uneasy about. Roald’s apparent willingness to do what’s wrong for the sake of convenience, especially since he knows that kicking the evil bandersnatch out would also be painful for Rupert.

Rupert’s in for some rough times either way, it seems.

Thankfully, seems Roald leans more towards being a good guy than a selfish guy. So maybe he’ll reframe it, from “Should I do the right thing?” to “How shall I go about doing the right thing?”

I love alone, and I’m not a parent, so I do have the luxury of looking at it with a sense of detachment. But I also accept that I’ve never wanted to be a parent, I’m just not wired that way and I could not possibly cope with that kind of responsibility for another human life. If that results in projection, then I’ll plead guilty.

People are hating on him because it’s easy to tell what the “right” choice is when they are not the one that has to pay for it and live with.

It’s easy to say that the local community should get its head out of its ass when you are not the one that has to LIVE within that community (not to mention when they are not the one that has to get their goodwill back); and also not the one that has to figure out how to dislodge that head from said ass and withstand the abuse one will get while doing so.

I’m not trying to say that throwing Elanor back into the forest is a morally right (or even a good idea). Just that Roald is trying to make a choice that has less negative consequences for both him and his child. Sticking to a safe choice is understandable, however questionable.

Oh and addamantum: “just” adopting Elanor has the potential to ruin Roald and Rupert’s life in Wonderland. Roald’s work is researching Wonderland itself. For Rupert this is the only home he knows. Worst case scenario, Roald would be ostracized from the community that he has to move out and find new research material. Rupert may take on severe mental scars.

Of course, that’s just the worst case scenario. We haven’t seen enough of Wonderland (as it is, not just what’s in the book) to know whether that is what they’ll do. Maybe Wonderlanders are not as prejuidiced as Roald thinks and he is turning a small problem into a big one through fear. But that fear may or may not be justified.

Roald’s researches have been into the real-time physical and biological impact of the excess of wild magic upon the Wonderland environment. If somebody were to explain to him how the sociological impact would be just as valuable research – and that Eleanor’s presence could make the perfect test case scenario – maybe he could be persuaded to accept that as a compromise.

If Roald’s expertise is in physics/biology (magic?) then he can’t just switch to sociological study. Not the same field.
It also does not help that he would not be an objective observer, he has plenty of bias overall, nor would he have any control over the study. At best, he could document his experience.

A compromise is where this will likely go. Maybe Roald will build a little house in the forest for all the “monster” kids or something.

Not so easy, is it Roald? Good.

I don’t think he ever saw it as -easy-. He was making a hard decision that his work to get himself and Rupert accepted would be made harder by including Eleanor in the mix. He wants Rupert to have friends with the other kids in community, and both to be accepted by society in general.

It’s just harder for him to take that stance when he actually has to look at and hear Eleanor.

And now that Rupert – whom had previously been friendless – is apparently seeing Eleanor as a FRIEND… it has to potential to change the equation.

I mean, sure. He could choose the be one of the first bulwarks against “the old ways” and suffer for it along with his son and probably their children to come.

And they’ll be remembered as great people after (if someone remembers them and if things change).

Buuut… At this moment it is him, his child and everything he could ever accomplish in his current area vs this one weird monster. Heck, I’d probably pick the first one too over the second.

Kory is really hitting the nail on the head with the challenges of parenthood. Rarely are decisions simple and easy to make when trying to balance your kid’s apparent happiness and their perceived well-being.

Sometimes the greatest challenge in raising your children is weighing the outcomes for them, of the decisions they so innocently would make with their naivety of youth regarding greater society. The unfortunate truth is society is a cold, relatively inflexible thing, and children can suffer being ostracized for not understanding it if left without parent guidance.

Roald is in quite the pickle.

I love this response as while my family is not dealing with the same problem we do have similar feelings of conflict when it comes to raising our kiddo. We live in a multi-generation home and the only kid is my niece who has a developmental delay that comes with physical complications. Two major ones are respiratory issues and heat sensitivity…we live in Florida and there is a pandemic going on.
One of our decisions has been to isolate her at home out of the heat and only leaving for doctors appointments and to go to her medical based daycare. The long term effects of this isolation will be damaging but the short effects could be deadly, normal colds can hospitalize this kid. Even if they approve one of the Vaccines for her age group we still already had fully vaccinated family cone down with covid so the fear is real.
There’s no real winning here and we are just choosing the least damaging option much like Roald is trying to minimize the suffering of his child who will suffer no matter which decision he makes.

Aw geez, I’m sorry to hear that, and hope that your niece will be as okay as okay can be these days. Better, even.

You both (and many others) make an interesting point that it’s pretty much a “rock and a hard place” situation. Does Roald choose the Bad Ending or Hard Mode? Given that both involve an unfortunate amount of anguish, I hope he’ll opt for the one that doesn’t involve throwing out an orphaned child.

Ah, childhood innocence shutting down the anger. Gotta love it.

Not anger. Forcing him to go “what the heck am I DOING!?”

I interpret as anger. Not anger at any person, but anger at being forced to make what appears to be an unbearable choice between his principles and his child. Being backed into a corner like that would make anyone angry. And people often get angry at people they feel obligated to reject or mistreat because they feel less horrible if they can convince themselves the other deserves it. It’s an irrational but very human reaction.

I think Mary left out an important argument: how will Rupert see this choice in Roald’s character. One of the big burdens about parenting is the knowledge that your child will take the parent as a model to various things, including morals. What will Rupert conclude if Roald kicks Elanor out? What would be a reasonable conclusion for him?

Assuming Roald adopts Eleanor, I wonder what the legal adoption process is like. Is there a mythical wonderland-law lawyer and courthouse to process these kinds of things? Does she count as a citizen since she’s a “monster”? So many questions. Also, how do divorces work for monsters? They can’t go to human courthouses to settle such disputes!

Given the fact that it’s wonderland, I’m assuming you can legally adopt someone through an elaborate sequence of tea parties and capers. Possibly riddles. It probably comes down to whether the perceived “whimsy” of Roald formally adopting a bandersnatch outweighs the social taboo. Hard to know when the line between “it’ll make a great story” and “harshly-enforced arbitrary rules” will pop up in Wonderland.

I’d say that the bio page doesn’t describe Rupert and Eleanor as siblings, but character bios can change, and at this point it certainly looks like they were raised together! Love that for them. They are the Wonder Twins now. (I’m guessing it’ll be more of an informal adoption/found family situation.)

I would assume that such things are less documented (bad idea to document things that an outsider could find as evidence) and would probably rely on more old traditions. I don’t think there is any sort of child-protection agency among a group that isn’t supposed to exist and things happen old-timey style: adoption happens by making room for the new kid in the house and telling the kid they can stay here, maybe announcing it to the neighbours or at a town hall meeting.
Marriage and divorce probably happens mostly the same.

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