Reading Maguire: Wicked, Maladies and Remedies

My apologies for the delay. I’ve had some things happen in the past week, and am now preparing to start seeking an agent for my novel, so perhaps posting once or twice a week is a more attainable goal than Mondays through Thursdays.

This chapter is where we first get a clue that Frex and Melena’s daughter, now named Elphaba, may not be independently strange. It’s an important thing to note for the future, but it’s not what I want to discuss this time.

This chapter, we get a really good glimpse into the kind of upbringing that Elphaba is going to experience.

[TW – emotional abandonment of an infant]

Nanny, a woman who has only lived in nice places and has no clue how to deal with the town the family has been living in, is the only adult in Elphaba’s life that will not speak of her as a demon or something better off dead in her presence. Period.

In fact, Nanny’s sure that before she showed up, even with the threat of the baby’s sharp teeth temporarily neutralized, Elphaba has barely been held if at all.

No one has tried to emotionally bond to the child, and Nanny is the only one even trying to give an opening for Elphaba to emotionally bond to someone. And that’s verbal. As a near-newborn, Elphaba isn’t going to understand speech yet. She might understand vocal tones and overall speech patterns, but from Nanny those are still going to carry overtones of rejection and revulsion.

Elphaba is a few days old and beyond having her basic physical needs taken care of, she effectively has no one. She is surrounded by family, and she has no one.

Next time, we’ll see what a few years of this do to her as she grows into a child.

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