The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I appreciate the challenge as well! It's one thing to internally know that a character has trust issues and quite another to be able to defend that perspective with clarity.....I do think that Jill's evolution in SC is a good deal more subtle than Eustace's in VDT, but I think it's still quite visible, especially if you pull back and take a broad look.
Much as I agree with you, about the trust issues, to define those trust issues and how they work out, might take quite some thought and even something like teacher training to work out. But common sense also helps out. Jill, as a bullied child, at a boarding school, might well have "trust issues". One method bullies can use to hurt others, and make themselves look big, is to find out as much as possible about, say, a newcomer, and then, having extracted such information by seeming friendship, use that sort of information to spread gossip to isolate and humiliate them. There is nothing to stop Eustace from being such a bully when Jill first meets him, and Jill actually says so in the book. Except for the changes he has experienced in the holiday, he might well have remained the hanger-on she remembered from the previous term. When he starts telling her about his adventures, she agrees he's changed, but still only half believes he is not leading her up the garden path, until the bullies chase them both out of the garden gate.
The trouble is, at Experiment House, a counsellor might be more part of the problem than the solution. C.S.Lewis described Experiment House as a place where several of the pupils liked nothing more than bullying other children, and that when they were reported to the teachers they were not disciplined as one would expect. Instead, they were treated as if they were interesting cases. If counsellors don't take bullying seriously - and in a war situation they may very well not - someone like Jill, on the receiving end, might not get any help at all.
When that sort of thing happens, someone like Jill is likely to get to the point where she doesn't know whom to trust. And when Aslan first appears to her, she sees him as just the fearsome lion, a proper cultural authority figure, that he is. Especially as he talks, and also calls her to account over her behaviour at the cliff edge.
.....Although knowing me, I'm sure I would bring a small stack of notes with me; I tend to think that I express myself better through writing than I do verbally.
So do I. There is also a problem with time and space to consider, which is why I avoid chat-rooms and you-tube. Personally, I like being able to go back and edit and re-edit, especially when stopped mid post.
Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:Jill choosing to drink at the stream was merely the smallest step towards beginning to trust... her long internal journey, one of small steps forward and big steps back, and the example of the people around her, eventually takes her to the place where she is able to give the go-ahead to unbind Rilian.
Yes, you are right. But that first step is truly a baby step in learning whom to trust. She doesn't really put herself in other people's shoes yet, or understand other people's point of view. And she is still thinking more of her own comfort and how to avoid discomfort, such as her thirst. Without the problem of enduring more discomfort by getting eaten by a fearsome, even if thoughtful and reasoning, lion. Her thirst sated, she does know that Aslan is Someone, just as the Queen of England or the President of the USA is Someone. And that Aslan has given her a job she must do. Although she obediently learns and recites the signs, whilst in transit to Narnia, she doesn't think how she is going to tell Eustace he has to recognise an old friend, or how he is likely to greet her, let alone how much he would trust her. Does she even consider that an apology might have been a really good way to start with? Especially as she didn't mean to hurt him?
fantasia kitty wrote:So, to me, the opposite of trust is doubt. Did Jill mess up the signs on her journey because of her doubt?.....
The second sign starts off well heading to the ruined city of giants, but Jill and Eustace are completely distracted by the Green Lady with the promises of comfort at Harfang.
The third sign they sort of follow, but I'll call it by the will of Aslan instead of their own, as they're running for their lives from the giants.
The problem is not exactly doubt I think. It is more that comfort and discomfort thing I mentioned earlier, and in a previous post where I mentioned the stages of moral development. Jill is still a child, and thinks like a child. When she sees Aslan she sees Authority. But when she meets LOTGK she doesn't think 'Stranger danger', unlike the more astute Puddleglum. She hasn't even remembered her considered, impartial judgement of LOTGK being a murderer when she heard Rilian's story at the Owl's parliament, let alone her view of Aslan.
Jill, on meeting LOTGK, is just like a kid watching TV who sees a lovely lady, dressed to the nines, wearing the latest fashions, spruiking the wonderful meals and hot baths etc at the wonderful Harfang Hilton, forgetting that one might have to pay - literally - with considerably more than the proverbial arm and a leg. And who would anyone trust more in Jill's place? An Authority figure who has given you what, at that point, seems increasingly like arduous and unfulfillable instructions? Or a film star sort, spruiking a slickly-delivered advertisement for hospitality at the nearest Holiday Inn?
However, she is growing, but not enough yet. She questions Puddleglum why he is so dour, only being prepared to discuss the weather with LOTGK. She points out that she has to say something about her self to get information from these strangers. Puddleglum, quite rightly, doesn't trust LOTGK. Or the Silent Knight (a 50's brand of refrigerator I wouldn't trust either). She hasn't got his level of insight yet on how much information it is safe to give away, despite her experiences of being bullied.
And so, longing for that Comfort Inn break, Jill stops reciting her signs, and so fails to recognise the travellers have arrived at the Ruined City, being more intent on getting relief from her discomfort with their journey. And it is a huge step backwards for both her and Eustace, both of whom are the end of their tether. If it wasn't for that dream she had, Jill wouldn't have even realised that she had muffed the second sign, and she needed a wake-up call to continue. And what did our travellers do once they realised where they were and the danger they were in? Doubt the third sign, now they see it laid out in front of them? Even sneakily hoping that Aslan put the sign "under me" under Jill's window overnight? Or was that, once again, Jill's claustrophobia ruling her?
Getting back to the theme of SC, of course the four signs are the most important theme of SC. But the Four signs that Jill was required to learn to help her with her quest, how she obeyed them or disobeyed them and how she learned to trust Aslan and the right people, maybe, are also all a part of another theme. Would you say that theme could be part of growing up, and preparing oneself for life? And by the way,
since evaluation forms are de rigueur at hotels, how would you rate the accommodation at Harfang?
Did anyone notice how the difference in how Puddleglum, Eustace and Jill reacted to learning they had been eating Talking Stag, also reflects their level of moral reasoning?