Monday, May 2, 2016

Questions about Black as Night and Waking Rose

It's been a while since I've posted reader questions about Black as Night and Waking Rose, so I thought I'd share these recent questions from a reader.

I can detect symbolism throughout all of the books but I especially notice this in Black As Night. And some of this symbolism I do not understand. The main one I have trouble comprehending happens to be the title of the play Rose was in in that book, Through the Looking Glass. I noticed that Elaine is the founder of the Mirror Corporation, and towards the end of the book Bear happens to literally be on the other side of the looking glass in his father's house. 

Another question I have is for Waking Rose. When Rose is in her coma and Dr. Murray is giving her something to make her stay in her coma, I was wondering what Rose sees. She sees Dr. Murray as a serpent and it talks about what she sees as a type of palace and everyone is sleeping and she can't seem to wake them up. Is what she seeing the inside of Graceton? So when she wakes up she can go throughout Graceton? Thank You!  -- B.F, 4/18/2016

Regarding your questions regarding Black as Night, your picking up of the symbolism was perceptive. While there's not a straightforward explanation, I think you'll agree with me that the mirror plays an important (and somewhat sinister) part in the original fairy tale, and I tried to, er, reflect that (no pun intended) in my retelling. 

It could be that just as the mirror serves first to flatter the queen's vanity and then to stoke her fears and drive her to try to murder Snow White, so Elaine uses the Mirror Corporation first to make herself feel important and then as a justification for her attempted murder of Jack (and later on, Blanche). She also uses the mirror to spy on Blanche (just as the Queen does to find out where Snow White is hiding) and on Bear, and thus entrap them, symbolized by Bear's being trapped behind the mirror.  

The play Through the Looking Glass reflects (again, no pun intended) the importance of the mirror symbol in the story, but also suggests an alternative to Blanche. Blanche feels victimized and entrapped by Elaine's mirror. Alice is empowered by her time on the other side of the looking-glass, which should suggest that Blanche might turn her own situation around if she took a different perspective. Rose's involvement in that play reminds us of the first book, The Shadow of the Bear, where each sister took a different path but each had something to teach the other. 

 In Waking Rose, you are correct that the drugs Rose is given distort her judgement. When she's in a more drugged state, she can't see Dr. Murray but can only hear her. Rose's imagination supplies the picture of the serpent.  When the medicine starts to wear off, she is able to see what's going on but she's still a little "out of it."  Hence when she's wandering around Graceton, she doesn't really understand fully where she is.  Of course this is my way of reflecting the original fairy tale, where the Sleeping Beauty dwells in a castle full of sleeping people, but it's just a suggestion.

I'm so glad you're enjoying the books! 

Peace and good
Regina