OK, so I get Idem’s refusal (not wanting to destroy the village. again), but why in blazes would Subira want to stay in the village? Does she enjoy her adoptive father’s mysogyny?
She didn’t say she didn’t want to. She said she can’t. It’s not exactly as if Soma offered to adopt Subira or anything.
Which I suppose now that I think about it would still be pretty daunting. Yunda’s not quite so bad that Subira would be jumping at the opportunity to put herself in the care of a complete stranger I don’t think. He’s a little bit insensitive and hasn’t exactly created the most loving environment for her but he’s not abusive or anything.
We’re talking about a girl who doesn’t get as much attention as she should and has to do more chores than she’d like. As far as Misogyny goes I’m not sure that she’s even aware of the notion that attitudes towards gender roles are different outside of her small town nor am I entirely certain that such a notion would even be accurate.
But yeah. Basically Soma just asked Subira to go on a few week long trip with her to get an orb right this very instant. Subira’s sitting there like “Gee. I don’t know if I can just disappear for a few weeks unannounced. I don’t think this is a thing I can do. Certainly not when you pop the question so suddenly without even giving me any time to plan.”
Plus, you’re kind of approaching this like an adult. She’s a kid. The world is fascinating, but it’s also scary and mysterious. She’s been warned a thousand times not to run off into the dangerous places outside the town borders, told stories about what happens to children who don’t listen to their parents’ warnings. It’s legitimately a very risky thing Soma is offering her.
True. Especially when you consider that this is less of a whimsical world where magic is real and more of a scary/dangerous world where Boogeymen and Will-O-Wisps are real.
It’s one thing to hear as a kid that you shouldn’t wander off or the Krampus will getcha. It’s another thing to live in a world where sometimes kids do wander off and when they don’t come back the adults say the Krampus got them and hold a funeral while The Guardian heads off to try and stop this thing from ever touching another child. I imagine that a lot of the fables they use to scare children here are all too real.
OK, several points:
1) It was the “can’t” I was puzzled about. Can’t has a series of implied meanings that basically combine as “If I do/attempt to do this, there will be unpleasant consequences that I feel are sufficiently bad as to make the action prohibitively costly”. Begs the question as to what would be prohibitively costly for Subira.
2) Yunda is not abusive? Depends entirely on how you define abuse, and recently verbal and emotional abuse have been recognised by most courts as being akin to physical. Additionally, discrimination and denial of hope definitely count as emotional abuse.
3) In defence of 2), “doesn’t get as much attention as she’d like” doesn’t quite cover it. I refer you back to the conversation about her being a sufficiently good worker that she hopes one-day to inherit the store, only to be told it’s going to Gong. Complete denial of hope. Yes, this is a society wide thing. Doesn’t make it better or less hurtful.
4) I would’ve thought the question implied at least a small time delay between acceptance and setting off. It’s not like there was a “hurry! There isn’t a moment to lose!” speech.
5) Approaching this as an adult? I’m offended. I hope never to approach anything as an “adult”. Basically, were I the kid, I would leap at the chance. Were I am the basically-the-same (but slightly taller) version of a kid I am now, I would think for a few seconds, accept, organise/make with the planning, and then leave. Especially since kids are (statistically speaking) far more likely than adults to completely forget to even think of the risk. Abstract fear and anticipation of consequence are fundamentally learned skills (we’ve measured it in developmental psychologies), and thus the province of adults.
6) Even assuming there is enough logic in a small child to consider the Krampus when deciding, such a world also lists the Guardian (or anyone else with a spirit orb) as the invincible, undefeatable hero. Idem not included. It’s really a 50-50 thing here.
The invincible, undefeatable hero, of this town and those inside it, with a dead wife, who’s son just released a swarm of killer bees on us yesterday, and who didn’t take care of it fast enough to prevent a whole lot of property damage and hospitalized citizens, and who wouldn’t have saved her if she didn’t happen to have her own spirit panther while he was off taking care of things at the other side of town.
Yeah. i can see why she’d feel so safe leaving the city borders. Where these beasts roam free without even the protection that a guardian provides.
Except Tane’s failures (assuming Subira is seeing this logically, which is never a guarantee in either fiction or in life) should demonstrate that she will be perfectly safe leaving. After all, last time, she was saved by her spirit puma and Soma. When she leaves, she will be leaving in the company of her spirit puma and Soma. Safety does not seem a sufficient concern.
Oh, and she went looking for the damn puma (or should that be puma dam? :D), so this is not necessarily a kid who is motivated primarily by fear, or by common sense (I mean seriously, even if you thought the puma might not be angry with you, would you go looking for it armed only with an old broom?).
That’s clearly not the case though. She’s still quite blatantly unsure about the the puma and she’s still visibly uncomfortable around Soma. She simply does not feel nearly safe enough around either of them for safety to be a non-issue.
As far as approaching the puma goes she is a child. The fact that she’s prone to lapses in foresight and impulsiveness does not by default mean she has a predisposition towards running away with strangers. So far she’s kept her misadventures pretty neatly within the city walls. Don’t think she’s even ventured too far outside the store voluntarily. Whatever her complaints might be she does seem to have a home here. She does look up to her father. She emulates him and she looks to him for guidance. She wants to follow in his footsteps by taking over the store one day.
She doesn’t have an overwhelming desire to escape this place which would drive her to disregard her sense of comfort and safety and I don’t think that means she’s some kind of masochist who enjoys having her aspirations denied. I really do think her fears are understandable here. While her daily existence isn’t perfect I don’t think it speaks poorly of her or is in any way baffling that she didn’t choose to run away with Hagrid the moment he gave the “You’re a wizard” speech.
Heck, even Harry had reservations now that I think about it and he hated his daily existence. There was nothing for him at the Dursley residence. He had no aspirations in his home like Subira does. His guardians treated him with open scorn. He spent much of his day locked in a small confined space. He was underfed and poorly clothed. Even then he needed to be sold on the premise before he agreed to run off and enter a magical life full of whimsy and wonder and mostly harmless magic. Subira still doesn’t quite seem to buy what Soma’s selling. She’s not a guardian. She’s an Item Shopkeeper. She’s probably gonna need to hear and see a bit more before she’s convinced otherwise. Maybe at least give her some time to better understand this situation she’s got with the cat and let it sink in.
So, your argument depends on her being forgetful and inquisitive, yet totally uninterested in that great big cool shiny just beyond the walls? Interesting.
Now, I’m just gonna leave the Harry Potter parallel alone, because for various reasons I feel it is inexact, but that’s kinda technical.
Basically, we disagree on what is required to motivate outward movement, especially in kids. You have assumed that “an overwhelming desire to escape” would be needed to persuade Subira to run off. I question this assumption. As we know, it’s actually quite easy to convince small children, especially impulsive ones with inadequate senses of self-preservation (which is definitely demonstrated by her going looking for the demon-puma), to go along with stuff. We know this, because there are far too many cases each year where this happens to the child’s detriment. More personally, we know this because either our older siblings (if you have them) have persuaded us to do bizarre/stupid things, or we have persuaded our younger siblings (if you have them) in similar contexts.
Now, you might argue that those cases are fundamentally different because a sibling is a trusted person. I disagree. I find that siblings are frequently treated with great suspicion, yet they are persuasive anyway. This is a truth universally acknowledged in my own family, in the families of my various friends, and throughout popular culture. Alternatively, Soma has demonstrated a decent degree of trustworthiness through saving the town. That kind of thing tends to boost one’s credibility. Whether Soma is trustworthy, or trust is not especially required, children are easy to persuade.
A further potential criticism is that, if children are so persuadable, why is Idem reluctant? The answer is simple – Idem is bat-shit scared of the orb. Overwhelming fear, in either children or adults, tends to render them unpersuadable, overriding the above. This is a perfectly permissible exception because this model of children’s behaviour is non-deterministic, anti-positivistic, and fundamentally multi-factoral – as any decent model should be.
I never said totally uninterested. From the beginning I’ve been making the case that she is not completely without desire to go on this trip. If you think every child that’s ever said “Sorry, I can’t come out to play right now” has held absolutely no desire to go out and play then I don’t even know where to begin to tackle that.
You were the one who put forth that her choosing to say was a sign that she enjoys her father’s misogyny. I inferred from this that you felt she should desire to escape. Once again, she doesn’t seem to desire to escape to any particularly overwhelming degree and I don’t think this speaks poorly of her.
Some children are easily lured away. We are aware of this partially because of the news. To use this to paint all children with a uniform brush if faulty. To use this to assume that every child will run away with any stranger if they are simply asked is also faulty.
Children in general are easily persuaded. No attempt to persuade has been made here. An offer has been made and it was declined. Children do not by default automatically respond with “Yes” to every offer. If Soma were to try and get Subira to change her mind on the subject it would likely be easier than with the average adult. Especially on account of the big cool shiny beyond the wall.
Well, at least we’re in agreement that the shiny is big and cool.
OK, so assuming low-level interest (though the main thing I’m surprised by is that she does not display high-level interest – honestly, if given the opportunity, wouldn’t you want to know what it feels like to command a demonic horde? Even a very small one?), I do not feel this adequately explains the use of the word “can’t” (see above explanation of why “can’t” is a particularly potent little word). Being nervous and not quite sure doesn’t appear to justify the emotionally-loaded “can’t”.
Ah, so we encountered confusion! Unfortunately, without the facilities to communicate appropriate tone (I feel font would be a good medium, but as yet it has not been taken up), misunderestimation is all too common. The final question in the first post was a deliberate exaggeration intended as a vehicle to communicate degree of puzzlement that the only explanations that came to mind were inherintly ludicrous. Her lack of escapeful desires is not, for me, the major issue speaking badly of her. For me, that remains the point where she went looking for a demon puma armed only with an old broom. I feel this demonstrates a (not entirely surprising) lack of self-preservation instinct, which is a large part of why I feel my comments about her probably being easily persuadable are justified.
As for the rest, clearly we have encountered different children. The children I have encountered (and from an earlier time this includes myself) have been almost suicidally inquisitive. This may appear somewhat hypocritical that I then criticise Subira for this. I feel it instead reflects a later awareness of how foolishly I (and, I feel, most other people) behaved as a child. Alternatively, it may appear as somewhat a case of projection. To this, I have two responses: (1) all human interactions are, to an extent, projective, because otherwise we have no reasonable means of interpreting each other’s actions, and (2) that my own experiences are extendable is supported by interactions with many other people who tell similar stories (we’re never as unique as we would like D:) or who display similar actions.
Ah, well okay. Now we’re starting to get on the same page. You’re right. It does kind of seem like she’s a little bit less enthusiastic about all of this than you might imagine. I don’t know if that’s a matter of her still being caught on trying to figure out the puma or if it’s because she still isn’t quite sure about all this stuff she’s hearing from Soma or if it’s just a matter of these demon hordes being a more mundane part of their setting than we give them credit for. After all she does know a kid who’s got a horde of his own and he seems less than enthused about the whole thing, though her brother seems to think it’d be a bit cooler than that. I think partially Soma just still really unnerves Subira and all this talk about guardians and spirits might not be helping.
That makes sense about the original post. Seems I was confused from the beginning on that front.
I’ll agree that most children reach a level of inquisitiveness that can be suicidal within certain contexts. Subira does seem a bit less so than a lot of children though, likely because she doesn’t live in quite so forgiving a place as our children grow in. I personally didn’t have that much of a desire to go out and explore the world as a whole as a kid though. I mean, exploration in general sure, but I didn’t really have any particular concept that the world extended too far outside of my city. Could be that’s a bit of what we’re seeing? Like, if Soma had offered to show her some neat nook within the town she might’ve gotten really excited, but outside is just a big wide open field of dullness in her eyes? I don’t know. That wouldn’t really account for the lack of inquisitiveness about the guardian stuff though. Maybe she just wants Soma to leave her alone so she can get to know that cat.
Then again it could be that curiosity just hasn’t really been enforced or allowed too much for her. Her parents seem more keen on her following orders than asking questions. It’s a good observation though. I’d be interested in whether Gong and Dossman would’ve asked more questions or if this is just a sort of closed-minded and tradition-based culture in general we’re looking at here. It sounds like Soma’s calls for change have been pretty consistently turned down by everybody she’s asked so that seems reasonably plausible. Though I am liking the idea that she just wants to be left alone with the cat at this point. Soma did kind of just walk in while Subira was having a moment and all this talk about guardianship and responsibility could be perceived as a bit of a buzzkill when you just want to get to know the super-awesome spirit kitty. Disregarding the promise of an adventure three hours for now because it’s interfering with the fun you’re trying to have right now would kind of fit fit into the short-term thought processes of a child. Just wild speculation at this point. Not like I’ve got any solid answer for why she wasn’t more inquisitive than she was.
It makes sense that Soma might be unnerving (afterall, the fiercest opposition to the suffragetes was usually from other women, and being near a hero[ine] is supposedly always somewhat disconcerting). That said, I don’t think ravening demonic hordes ever become mundane. Sort of like getting your set on fire, it’s just as surprising and horrifying everytime.
Incidentally, as a sidenote, do we know how well she actually knows Idem? I can’t remember the two of them actually interacting at any point.
A-ha! Agreement! Agreement is victory! Except that it seems to be somewhat bipartisan. I can understand wanting to get to know the cat. I’m not sure it explains word choice, but it would be a reasonable response. Kind of like Christmas – the kid just wants the opportunity to go and play with the new toy.
In terms of it being a traditional/cultural lack of curiosity, Gong and Dossman certainly displayed curiosity. Hazeldella has displayed an unhealthy degree of curiosity (and occasional lack of tact). Even (until the unleashign of the demonic bees) Idem displayed some curiosity. So, that doesn’t seem quite right. I could potentially buy the parental enforcement idea (which even allows for the difference between her and Gong/Dossman). That said, parents are often less successful than they would like in preventing curiosity, as generation after generation of teenage rebels can attest.
En fin, il faut que nous attendions et découvrions (I’m suffering linguistic withdrawals. Bear with it).
Not a whole lot to add at this point, but the fire thing does bring to mind the example of curiosity surrounding fire. Generally kids only have to burn themselves once to get pretty severely cautious in their exploration of the stuff. Still prone to the lapses in foresight and general childish mistakes of course. I think most children would be in agreement that flamethrowers are cool, but a child who’d just been burned in a flame-related accident might be a bit more reserved if offered a flamethrower to handle in her own hands. Subira kind of just had a close call with those bees yesterday after the guardian boy failed in his attempt to command a demon horde and now Soma comes offering to give Subira her own swarm of bees.
We’re thinking curiosity towards magic or mysticism or just the general world around us, but perhaps there’s some merit in considering it as similar to curiosity towards fire. A danger who’s harmful nature can be clearly illustrated in a way easily understandable to a child and not easily forgotten if you just get too close to it once.
Fire? What fire? Dammit, that sentence was meant to read “getting your hair set on fire”, refering mainly to the coninued untrustworthiness of older siblings. Still, interesting point. The other thing that can happen is that children, especially once exposed to the glories of chemistry, only end up more fascinated. Some of us never learn
Wow. This is quite a debate. All I can say is it looks like Soma is 0 for 2 in regards to convincing people to run off with her.
Gotta catch’m all, Spirit Animals. XD
One day, this is my stupid hope, one day will the comments on youtube read like these…
I feel like this has some connections to real-world problems. We’re in a time when the world is changing, and we’re relying heavily on old-guard ideas, and we’re too afraid to jump in to something brand new. Great story!
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