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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Alternate Super Bowl: Murrys v. Austins

By popular demand, we bring you the Murrys v. Austins Super Bowl Smackdown. Yes, this is the game where you, the reader, get to determine which of Madeleine L'Engle's familes kicks the most butt. Uh, to the extent that any of L'Engles characters would be willing to kick butt. She's not so into butt-kicking as an authorial device, you know? But it's Super Bowl Sunday, so let's not examine this conceit too closely. Let's just get right into it and take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of our starting lineup.

Murrys: Meg kicks some serious gender-stereotyping butt with her gift for math.

Austins: Vicky warms the hearts of future English majors everywhere with her bent towards poetry.

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Murrys: Mom wins her own Nobel Prize.

Austins: Mom gave up singing career to stay at home.

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Murrys: Dad is too busy blundering around the space-time continuum to spend time with his kids.

Austins: Dad doesn't like women to wear pants.

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Murrys: Adorably eccentric and precocious small boy who embodies the moral center of the work. Literally. Check out those mitochondria!

Austins: Adorably precocious small boy who is occasionally called upon to bear the moral center of the work by walking the dog, playing with a stuffed animal, or rejecting the evil pleasure laser.

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Murrys: Travel to Camazotz and various small islands friendly to the study of marine biology.

Austins: Travel to Yellowstone National Park, Banff, and tunnels under the city of New York.

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Murrys: Pal around with Canon Tallis. Not so worried about the lack of eyebrows.

Austins: Pal around with Canon Tallis. Show occasional concern about the lack of eyebrows.

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Murrys: Main character relegated to the sidelines by the third book. Meg chooses to have what appear to be thousands of babies; siblings and progeny move to center stage instead. But none of the siblings or progeny make as compelling a character. At least she's still allowed to wear pants.

Austins: Vicky never appears to get past high school, while Suzy goes on to become a side character in someone else's story. (She's a doctor who spends not enough time with her kids. But does she wear pants?)

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Murrys: Poly (Meg's eldest child) has a thing for Adam and Zachary. But, after an ugly little episode of authorial homophobia, Poly looks like she'll be staying with the nice young medical student who DATES HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. Ick.

Austins: Vicky has a thing for Adam and Zachary. Looks like she wins Adam in the end, for a round of chaste, atemporal letter-writing.

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Murrys: Hang out with the most interesting beings: former stars, cherubim, Echthroi.

Austins: Hang out with dolphins.

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Murrys: Helped me correctly identify mitochondria in biology class.

Austins: Helped me correctly identify Henry Vaughn's poetry on the English 10 exam. If Helen Vendler had read L'Engle, she would have known better than to give us such an easy one!

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Murrys: Last seen embroiled in bizarre mythologies involving a Celtic/Native American connection.

Austins: Last seen fighting off Antarctic sea life.

So, pixies, get in there, mix it up, and declare your winners!

(Books referenced in the making of this post are listed below the fold)

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A wrinkle in time
A wind in the door
A swiftly tilting planet
An Acceptable Time
MANY WATERS
The Arm of the Starfish
Dragons in the Waters
Meet the Austins
A Ring of Endless Light
Moon by Night
The Young Unicorns
A House Like a Lotus
A Severed Wasp: A Novel

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