Thursday, 12 October 2017

Under The (Her) Thumb: Or: The Life Of A Well-Trained Stepdaughter

"...Maybe a few more years in that mental hospital would be GOOD for you, straighten you out a little and stop your complaining.  But perhaps that's where you belong - in a mental hospital - PERHAPS this time I'll just leave you there...PERMANENTLY!"  You can imagine her coughing haughtily or perhaps adding a little mocking laugh, the calling out to her visitor by way of greeting: "...just come on in, Edith - ignore the girl; she's just a servant!"

People often ask what is likely to happen to the girl after a few years spent incarcerated in a suitably secure institution (I always think in terms of a few years rather than months). Well I came across this image and it immediately suggested one particular scenario I am fond of - I think it was the girls facial expression of (not QUITE total) resignation. 

Of course it is important she wear something designed to keep her firmly in her place, both in her own mind and in the eyes of others who might see her around the house, scrubbing floors and so on. This outfit wasn’t QUITE perfect - I had to fiddle around with it a bit - but close enough to suggest what might be going on (and NO: I don’t want to know what is really going on!) And I kind of like the colour for some reason (which I've enhanced a smidgen): I’m sure we don’t ALL want to see those same old black and white maid’s uniforms ALL the time; and somehow THIS looks just that bit more demeaning, being I think suggestive of its suitability for a girl expected to be carrying out only the most basic of menial tasks around the house.

I’d imagine, incidentally, that by this stage psychologically speaking she’d be something of a cripple, virtually incapable of making any kind of decision for herself - even simple ones - and near totally dependent on others to give her orders for her to obey without which she’d be lost.  All this having been said: she might not quite realise herself to what an extent all this is true (I’m not sure where this bit is going  - I need to have a think about it, and the ramifications for my character’s future development, if ‘development’ is quite the right word!)

( Title with more than a nod to a certain song lyric, which spawned many an early thought back in the day!)


Unknown said...

My name is Kyle. I just stumbled upon this blog out of pure happenstance and correct google search terms, and I am blown away by how suited to me your subject matter is. I've just been reading through your posts and was compelled to buy the Institutionalised Trilogy on iBooks. I'm sure I will love it, and I hope to see more from you soon!

Toyntanen said...

Hopefuly it won't disapoint, although it is not really representative of my writing style nowadays

Bruno said...

Any news about the "domestic" environment story you mentioned quite some time ago ?

Toyntanen said...

Hi Bruno! It is still ongoing as and when the ideas come and every now and then I return to it. The trouble is various domestic problems keep intervening and I don't get a long enough continuous run at anything, which results in my revisiting and re-writing some scenes several times as I've forgotten where I'd gotten to and also losing the plot thread. The result is I have tons of unfinished fragments all over the place which need editing, arranging and generally pasting together. I'm also of course also striving to make something of all that work I did for Roger Benson and not let that eighteen-plus months of work go to waste. Plus I had something of a bit of a mental crash half way through last year and again this year at one point.

Bruno said...

Thanks for your reply
I am much more interested in stories including a domestic environment, with a stepmother or a governess.....