As you know, Elly’s behavior doesn’t seem to make much sense in real world terms if you believe that she had the bland childhood she claims to have had. It’s difficult to tie together the following odd phenomena:
- Elly does not regard Vancouver as being home but simply as where she used to live.
- Her moving thousands of miles away to Southern Ontario but never again doing anything that adventurous.
- Her desperate need to drop out of University so as to marry and have a family.
- Her constant cleaning that, for some odd reason, results in nothing getting done.
- Her obsessive fear of being harshly judged by a world that doesn’t actually care.
- Her emotional distance from those around her.
- Her constant moaning about how bad her life is.
- Her treatment of Jim in his old age.
- Her distant relationship with her brother
- Her need to have someone like Connie to feel superior to
- Her dread of motorcycles
- Her need to abolish anything that isn’t familiar and safe.
unless you assume that Elly had suffered some sort of horrible disruption in her past that she never shared with her family. In a recent blog entry. forworse put things together the only way that makes any real-world sense: she assumed that Elly had gotten pregnant when she was seventeen. It seemed likely to her that, rather than face the scandal of having their daughter be seen to be carrying someone else’s illegitimate child, acknowledge its existence or look her in the face, Jim and the others packed her off to relatives in the Toronto area where she could have the kid in secret and then stay there so they wouldn’t have to be reminded of their shame. It also explains why the Hell the old buzzard never smiled and why Elly went into convulsions when she learned that he didn’t care if Philip cohabited with Georgia. It’s not very pleasant to realize that your dad is the sort of fink who thinks that having a Y-chromosome allows you to get away with pretty much everything. It explains her depression, fear of being judged and need for safety at all costs: I should think that she lives her life still convinced that her parents were right to treat her like she wasn’t fit to live among civilized people. This self-loathing is almost as crippling as her fear that said child would one day emerge from the shadows and destroy all that she had managed to create for herself. It seems likely that even now that forty years have past, John would react negatively to being reminded that she had a past that didn’t include him; what’s more, she assumes that if people knew something that didn’t affect them in any way or was really worth mentioning, she’d be the pariah that her parents made her all over again.