Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another reason people write fanfic?

I reread Jean Webster's Dear Enemy the other day -- it's hard to judge a book you've loved for around 30 years, but I think it hold up tremendously well despite being around a hundred years or so old -- and got a craving to reread just the ending of Daddy-Long-Legs. And when I did, I noticed something I don't think I've ever noticed before.

Judy, the heroine of DDL, is a dedicated writer and has just published a book as that story ends. Judy is a prominent character in DE -- both books are in epistolary form and most of the letters written in DE are written to her. We hear a fair bit of commentary about her happy marriage, her travels with her charming husband, her baby daughter... and not one word about her book or her writing. It's like that aspect of her life completely disappeared after the happy ending of DDL.

This seems particularly odd considering that Jean Webster was a woman writer herself and that Dear Enemy is about a woman who loves her work and it is very clear at the end that she has every intention of continuing it after marriage.

Daddy-Long-Legs could be said to have some fairy-tale-like aspects, but it never felt like a fantasy to me. Judy is so well drawn, so honest and thoughtful and passionate about life. I don't like thinking of her own creator as writing her off as a fairytale princess who never wants to do anything anymore but live happily ever after.

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Anonymous beth (who used to win pencils) bligged...

Wow, I never noticed that either, but you are absolutely right. I think it more that the author puts herself into the characters a bit, so the writerly bit moved over to DE. But it's almost as sad to think that Webster wasn't clearly imagining Judy anymore, but that's a bit better than deliberately picturing her as forgetting about writing.

10/10/2009 9:03 PM  

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