Monday, January 11, 2010

88 Cranes and are the Bentlers "real" or did Roci make it all up?

This is a rewrite. The previous version still felt, to me, as if I were telling people what to think. When I read, I like stories that don't spell everything out; that leave room for my imagination. I enjoy developing my own interpretations of a story's meaning.

I decided that instead of telling you what to think, I will describe what I was thinking about as I worked on the final revision of For Cory's Sake. I will describe the issues and questions that were on my mind, and their attendant emotions. I will offer an opinion as to the reality of the Bentlers, and offer arguments in support--but it will take the form of just an offered thought from me to you.

As I was revising For Cory's Sake, the problem of child abuse was very much on my mind. Roci came to represent an abused, philosophical child with a strong imagination. Specifically, he believed in the possibility of good, caring, brave people.

I wanted Roci's world to be saved by people of whom he would approve, in a story with issues that he would find interesting and important. So I used the thought of Roci to mold the final version of For Cory's Sake. It's themes and many small details were shaped by Roci's nature and worldview. It is the kind of story Roci would tell.

So it is natural that one might think the Bentler's story was actually invented by Roci. I left the question unanswered in the book--I think I wanted the reader to think or feel (if so inclined) how bad it would be if the caring people did not exist, and Roci must remain a slave forever.

But I believe, like Roci, in the existence of the good, caring, brave people. The other day, I was reading about Miep Gies, who with her husband sheltered the Anne Frank family for 25 months during the Holocaust. I know there have been good, caring, brave people in the past, and I know they exist in my present world. And I prefer to believe that humanity and heroism will never die; that the good, caring and brave will never go extinct; and specifically that Roci's faith was justified.

(That it was justified in a story that was "the kind of story" Roci would tell--well, I wanted it to be like that. It gave cohesion to the themes and literary decisions; and I am a fan of Dickensian coincidences . . . two Kerrys, anyone?)

That's as far as I'm going to go, because I do believe that whatever each reader thinks--is also right.

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