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.


  1. This part really hit me in the book as well, for almost the same reason. When I read this part I literally almost started crying as a well … thank god I’m not the only one! Anyways! This part immediately made me think of my little niece and how incredibly protective I am over her. We are extremely close she’s pretty much the little sister I never had. I sometimes even call her my little sister. I felt like I was harv and my niece was Nell. All I’ve wanted to do since she was born was protect her and after reading this part of the book I realized that eventually I have to let her go and let her protect herself. I think this is why this part got to me so much because instead of the picturing the characters I was picturing me and my niece. I was picturing myself letting her go and grow up and not being able to protect her anymore. I know this will have to happen eventually when she’s old enough, but for now I’m going to be there for her like harv was in the beginning of the book. I absolutely loved the relationship between harv and nell as well!

  2. I think you're right that Nell really couldn't grow in some ways until Harv was gone. The whole loss of a protector idea is something we've seen in literature before, but do you think they'll put a spin on it? Remember one of the first things the Primer told Nell was that story in which Harv tries to kill her and one of her friends kills him instead. Do you think that was just morbid sorry telling, or do you think maybe the Primer really predicted something? Looking back, it kinda seems like the Primer predicted that she'd have to leave Harv behind to escape to a better place, so how much of that story will come true? Also, did it predict this stuff based on psychology and calculations and other mumbo jumbo, or is it magic or something? Sorry my entire post is in the form of questions, we're kind of at that part of the book, though.

  3. First, I want to say that I’m the youngest out of four and I know the feeling of having to finally defend yourself when your siblings aren’t around and it truly can be a life changing event. I agree with you PJ, the primer predicts things; it shows Nell how to deal with situations before they happen in real life. I believe that a lot of what the primer shows Nell happens in real life. I think that it has a little bit to do with psychological because the primer over time had to figure out how Nell was going to act to certain situations and now it knows how Nell is going to react. Also, I think the primer has magic in it but maybe I think that because the primer is so amazing in my eyes, like new technology is to many people. Like the Ipad’s facetime, I could see how some of the older generations think wow that has to be magic that I can see and talk to my grandchildren when they live thousands of miles away. Overall I think that the primer is the best thing that happened to Nell. I do wonder though how Hackworth is going to make all these primer’s to fit all these different girls. Like we discussed in class, each girl acted different with their primer so is he going to modify it a bit for each girl, but if he does, how is he going to know what to modify.

  4. I agree with you all of you guys. I also remember that part where Harv had to be killed, PJ. At first I was very confused because of just how protective Harv is of Nell and I was thinking to myself ‘what an AWFUL story for her to read’, but looking at it now it did predict it in some sense. Also, being the youngest out of 2 older brothers they are so (sometimes too) overprotective of me. They even passed it down to their sons to be protective of me too. And I couldn’t imagine how hard this was both of them to do. However, I do think that it was the right thing to do. Nell does need to grow up and learn about the world on her own. I feel like it is time for Nell to jump out of the nest and start flying and explore the world instead of viewing it behind Harv. Even though I know Harv let her go, I feel like you can never fully let someone go. You are always going to be there for them, so it would be interesting if Harv will be lurking in the shadows somewhere still looking out for his baby sister.