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Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.
This week’s topic was tricky for me because I’m not a huge fan of redemption arcs in most cases. Too often they’re used to brush terrible choices under the rug due to the villain having a sad or tragic backstory. I’ve known plenty of people who have similar histories but who have consciously chosen to break those patterns and live gentle, good lives.
So it irritates me a little bit when a villain is given a pass for choosing to inflict the pain they felt onto new victims. There are so many other ways to create well-rounded characters in my opinion that don’t make the assumption that experiencing X somehow makes it okay for you do it to someone else.
And yet I must stick to the topic at hand and answer Long and Short Review’s question. 😉
Therefore, I’m going to with Agatha Trunchbull from Roald Dahl’s Matilda. She was the headmistress of the school Matilda attended, and yet she truly seemed to hate her job and children in general.
Given that this book was written in 1988 but could have been set a few decades before that, I wonder if Trunchbull ended up in teaching because women weren’t welcomed in the career that would have actually fit her.
This isn’t an excuse for the way she treated her students or employees at all. She was a horrible administrator who should have been fired years earlier.
But I do wonder if her gender and severe lack of patience with children set her up for failure, especially after a couple of decades of being trapped in a job that was such an awful fit for her personality and interests.
It would have been nice to have that closure for her. Maybe she became a kinder and happier person after she was (rightfully) forced to leave Matilda’s school? What do you all think?