dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

The big picture and the small minds.

As we've noticed over the years, the Pattersons tend always to underreact to important problems while exploding in rage when confronted with non-issues. The example that comes readiest to mind is when Elly pitched an angry fit about how uncontrollable April was when the kid very politely told her that she'd be down for supper after putting her homework away. Worse still, John told her to apologize NOW if she knew what was good for her. An outside observer would have thought that they would have let that slide but then said observer would assume a fact not in evidence. The fact is that despite having a lot of real problems, the Pattersons by and large simply cannot deal with the big stuff and tend to explode when confronted with the inconsequential. We know that at the time, Elly had the following slate of very real problems in her life:

  1. A father whose intellect she didn't think had survived a series of massive strokes and her fear that she might actually somehow prefer it if he had been unmanned.

  2. A husband and daughter-in-law who'd somehow gotten her to leave her home so that he could play with trains and she could jam it to her mother.

  3. The worry that her detractors are right about her shoving her older daughter into marrying someone she might not love just because she doesn't like being scared by the unknown.

  4. The bigger worry that she's taking out her frustration at not having the brains and stamina to make a go of the career she wanted on her younger daughter.

  5. The really, REALLY big fear that she'd wasted most of her life feeling sorry for herself.

Now, the problem is that any one of those issues is so big, Elly's mind simply seems to shut down because it's too big to deal with. This mental paralysis seems to create a sort of emotional paralysis in which she cannot react to the issue in a realistic manner. Instead of being worried about her dad or her husband or whether she's angry at this woman Thérèse because she did what she could not, we get a sort of sinister placidity. The problem is that the emotional energy thus denied has to go somewhere and thus tends to rain down on people who make her mildly upset.
Tags: idiot plotting

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