Response to Cathy's (Ruby Gillis's) Review

I'm sort of sorry that Rilla's kids are such brats-but part of me loves the
probability of drama that will follow (I love fictional drama, but hate it in
its other forms!) Chloe really is a little beast, but it rings true-you can
see all of Rilla's worst traits in her. I kind of hope you don't reform her!

I wonder how much of their attitude is based on the fact that Rilla always
seemed to sort of resent Di's closeness to Walter? It's an interesting rivalry
I never considered before, that she might pass on to her own children, and
vice versa.
I'm so, so excited you picked up on this, Cathy (and another example of "kindred spirits," I suppose, that you figured out the background without me having to say much of anything at all).

Chloe is, to me, Rilla without the tempering effects of her family and the War. Kenneth, too, is portrayed as a somewhat selfish, self-indulgent character (or at least that's one way to read him), and so in their three children I see all their worst traits coming together. I think I can safely say without fear of spoiling anything, that while some reformation happens to one of them, they won't really change much throughout the story. I do think that, if I write a war-years sequel, we will see that Chloe does have some strengths to her character, and that even some of her flaws can be turned to good use, but she'll never really be reformed.

But back to the part that really excited me, that you caught - the rivalry between Rilla and Di. I only started thinking about it with this story, that the two of them must have had some issues after Walter's death. First Di was his favorite, and then Rilla, and both must have felt some bitterness toward each other. Plus, their personalities are so very different, as are their priorities. I've also imagined that Di must have harbored some anger toward her parents for not letting her go overseas to work as a VAD, whereas Rilla might (just might) have been a little bit smug when they all returned home, about HER virtue in staying with her parents and comforting them while Nan and Di were "gadding" in Kingsport. Nan would have shrugged this off, because Nan is able to ignore those sort of pricks, but Di, already frustrated about not being able to do what she wanted, would have resented it.

So basically, I see a fairly fundamental gap between those two just widening and widening over the years, and while Di and Jon are very careful to never say anything negative about their siblings around the children, Rilla is not so cautious.

So there's the backstory! One of these days I might even write some Di stories, from the Rainbow Valley days through the war years, and expand on that a little bit. It's so fun taking established characters that I've already used once, and turn them around and make them different, while still trying to remain within what LMM wrote regarding them.
7 Responses
  1. They are just nasty. I would hate to say I was related to anyone like that. I'm very interested to see where you take this. I just hate to think ill of Rilla though.

  2. Connie Says:

    I have always LOVED Di, and have sort of resented Rilla myself for usurping Di in Walter's affections. It always seemed to me that Walter was looking for a sycophant, you know? And he found it in Rilla. He mentions that she never bothers him with unpleasant questions, and several times he mentions that she looks at him like a hero or as though he's perfect. I think their relationship offers a lot of signs of Walter's character that are never explored, either!

    I think, in some ways, the worst thing that could have happened to Rilla was to marry Ken. Rilla thrived in adversity--marrying Ken, her life is going to be scarce of that. She is the rich and beautiful Mrs. Kenneth Ford, society belle of Toronto now. How can her old ways not creep in? It makes perfect sense that Chloe should end up the way she has.

    I look forward to seeing more of this relationship. Are you planning on taking these characters into the future? Because the rivalry of 11 and 15 is going to look FAR different at 16 and 21, or 18 and 23. I would love to be able to see that.

  3. Adrienne Says:

    This is all true. I hate to admit it, but it is. We're supposed to love Walter and all that, but I have to agree that deep down, I've often thought the same things. He and Diana grew apart probably because she was close enough to tell him how things really were, and Rilla could never have done that. This could be a very interesting study in what is a very realistic way things could have been. In all honesty, Di could have outgrown Walter's ways during the war. Then she could also hold guilt because of that after he died.

  4. Connie Says:

    I totally agree, I can imagine Di (in a nice way) telling Walter to get over himself a little bit. Rilla wouldn't have done that. She took Walter as seriously as he wanted to be taken. Man, I wish LLM had explored this more, but I guess that would have made things a little boring for us FFers!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I've always thought the friendship between Di and Walter odd, too, because LMM mentioned several times how much Di was like Gilbert, and as a boy he would never have put up with Walter's "airs." He didn't even really let Anne get away with her dramatics. But maybe, as children, Walter and Di balanced each other out, and as they grew older it became harder to reconcile the differences in their personalities.

    I've envisioned Jon as a little bit like Walter in his quietness and how deeply he feels things, but he doesn't make quite so big a parade of his emotions. During the war, he hated the thought of going over and killing other human beings just as much as Walter did, but he did it because he felt it was his duty, and that's why Di was so attracted to him, because he was like Walter but with a bit more backbone.

    And to answer your other question, I am planning a sequel, and I do have ideas about how Chloe will turn out. I don't want her to be the stereotypical "nasty girl" so I'm trying to make sure there's still some depth to her character, but we'll see how it all pans out. It is kind of fun turning upside down the typical LMM fanfic conventions, though!

  6. Adrienne Says:

    Maybe she'll have a Come to Jesus experience and her nicer self will come out?

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Um ... well, THAT particular scenario wasn't one that I had planned, but who knows? Anything is possible! It would be sort of amusing to see Rilla's daughter take something like that completely overboard, go about wearing the ugliest clothes she can and always saying the most pious things, all from good motives but because she simply cannot help being dramatic!