dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

On whiskers in the sink

As we all know, the current arc marks the boundary between the Early and Middle Years of the strip. Lynn's take on events is that it was after this point that the Pattersons' view of the world expanded beyond the confines of domestic life and grew to encompass a far wider world. The problem is that this is only true for three of the characters. As we're going to see, Mike expands from "selfish foil to Elly" to "confused boy who gets into trouble because he thinks that he's cooler than he actually is" while Lizzie turns from "timid child clinging to Mommy" to "born follower who doesn't quite understand social norms." John gets into the evolution party too when he transforms from "insensitive oaf who doesn't understand Elly's pain" into "well-meaning but somewhat inept paterfamilias."

The problem is that the only person who doesn't undergo much growth is the one that's doing the housework. It seems to me that despite her having the more public role of librarian and joiner of committees, Elly remains somewhat constant throughout the strip. She has the same narrow focus on minor things that don't affect anything, the same hair-trigger temper, the same belief that family life is a trap and the same general uselessness as an advisor and (most importantly) the same lack of any sort of self-awareness she had in the Early Days. The sequence that highlights this is the one in which she whines to Connie about why Liz went to a stranger with her problems when she was there all along. As I've said before, Elly thinks that she's a better listener than she actually is and doesn't remember the fact that whenever Liz did come to her with a problem, Mommy shooed her away and told her to stop bugging her about meaningless nonsense about irrelevant children. She might think that she's better than losing her temper about whiskers in the sink but, as we'll see, she really isn't.
Tags: elly patterson: universal imbecile., the middle years

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