Feb. 15th, 2017

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So, I was reading a novel yesterday, and realized with irritation that the coming plot twist was going to be "surprise, your new love might be your half brother!" Sure enough, Hero's childhood sweetheart dumped that bit of gossip on Heroine. This frustrated me in two ways.

First, relatively minor, it assumed utter stupidity on the part of Heroine's father, who really should have noticed the possibility that Hero was his son.

Second, and what really bothered me because it's such a trope in both literature and (white American?) society.... Heroine immediately runs away. She doesn't go to Hero and say, hey, Girlfriend thinks you could be my half brother, isn't that crazy? She doesn't go to her father and ask. She doesn't go to Hero's mother and ask. She doesn't even go to her uncle, or to Hero's uncle, and ask.

When my daughter was in her teens, she got caught up in a soap opera one summer, and instead of trying to stop her, I watched it with her, and discussed the relationship dynamics that were portrayed. Over and over I would say (and later she would say), "Ya know, this wouldn't be much of a problem at all if they would just talk to each other!" How bizarre and sad that keeping painful secrets and brooding on them, to the great harm of relationships, is portrayed as normal.

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