Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Diamond Age: Nell's Big Brother

There was point in this book that I almost started crying. On page 243 when Brad is talking to Harv and Nell about runaway gang members and Harv just goes "'Nuff said" and runs off, I literally was tearing up.

I grew up with two older brother and I always felt like they would give me the moon if they could, and I feel like Harv attempts to do this for Nell. It is always hard, from my observation, for an older sibling to observe a younger sibling being hurt or not being taken care of correctly. I think this is a focal part of Harv and Nell's relationship. Harv is always the protector and it's basically his only redeeming quality.

When Harv leaves Nell I think that is was such an important thing that HAD to happen. As someone who always had big brothers looking out for her, I did not really learn to stand up for myself until I did not have my brothers there to do it for me. And I think that this is something that Nell learned quickly.

I think that hiding behind Harv was always something that Nell clung to, but without him she flourished. When Harv was sleeping Nell was more than capable of protecting herself from a stranger, but she couldn't when Harv was around/awake.

I just love their relationship so much. I love that Harv abandoned feeling safe and a having a good life just so Nell could have it for herself.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Diamond Age: Motherhood

Having it been somewhat hard to get through this book there have been quite a few things that have crept out of the pages and really gotten to me. One of those things is the portrayal of mothers in this book.

If I ignore Nell's mother for a minute since I hate her and I do not necessarily care how she is portrayed, I would like to look at Princess Nell's mother. Page 124 says this:

He took the babies back to the cottage and presented them to his wide, who swooned for joy. They lived happily together for some time, and whenever one of the babies cried, one of the parents would get up and comfort it. But one night father did not come home, because a storm had pushed his little red fishing boat far out to sea. One of the babies began to cry, and the mother got up to comfort it. But when the other began to cry as well, there was nothing she could do, and shortly the monster came calling.
When the fisherman returned home the next say, he found his wife's body lying beside that of the monster, and both of the babies unharmed. His grief was very great, and he began the difficult task of raising both the children.
Now, I am all for men raising babies, I think it's good for them to have the elbow deep in diaper experience that I feel mothers have no choice to go through. However, it bothers me that the mother cannot comfort two babies at the same time. I realize the man is hard at work and the mother is home taking care of the kids, two kids, who are apparently both very young although when they are older Harv is much bigger than Nell.... Anyways, she doesn't even try. And it bother me that the mother does not try to comfort the other baby, yes she gives up her life for her children but I feel like she just took the beating because she felt like she had no choice, she dies uselessly in my opinion. In this short story there is no time that the mother picked up the other baby in her other arm and attempted to comfort it, but the dad was able to raise them all on his own. 

I feel like Neal Stevenson goes out of his way to make mothers out to be awful. Like obviously no one can raise a child as well as Harv or the father. Every mother in this book is either mean or stupid. The only redeeming female character seems to be Miranda. And that is only because she cares about Nell and is trying to help her. Good thing she didn't have any kids though... Because apparently once you have kids you become an awful human being whole dates people who molest your children and burn them with cigarettes.