Lynn’s belief that it’s next to impossible to train an animal out of its less desirable habits isn’t the only example of defeatism in the strip. It’s a minor manifestation of her belief that Elly is the hapless victim of a doomed struggle against impossible odds as she’s beaten down by an endless array of cruel and selfish people who hate her and want her to suffer. Other menaces to her contentment are:
- A selfish lout of a husband who wants her to not succeed at anything other than being his housemaid; he gets to meet adults and do exciting things while her brain rots away cooking, cleaning and dealing with the
horrible, horrible burdens that eat of her substance while providing nothing in returnchildren.
- Two demonic children who spend their days talking back to her, making messes and not getting along.
- Neighbors who live lives that remind her how squalid and wasted her own is.
- Highhanded outsiders who look on in her in judgment and refuse to admit that she’s clearly the victim of laughing chance.
There’s one threat, however, that is even more evil than the ones I’ve listed: people with a sense of proportion who accuse her of being a paranoiac with a martyrdom complex. They see the world in a way that threatens to take away the only thing that keeps Elly from having to do the thing she fears most and do something about her problems. If she were to admit that John wasn’t plotting her downfall, that her children need her time and love, that what her neighbors say or do doesn’t matter and that random passers-by don’t actually care one way or another about her, she might laugh off her troubles and get down to lightening her load. Too bad she’d rather not.