“No way back to recall the way, because I threw out all the why’s. ”
Lyrics from “the Scarlet Thing in you” by Peter Murphy
Virginia Andrews was intrigued by the why’s, she was basically obsessed with it … She wrote and designed The Dollanganger series as part of a BIG puzzle left for us to solve if we asked the right questions …
ATTICSECRETS was designed for the sole purpose of going there …
Where no VC Andrews fan has gone before..
We’re not afraid to ASK THE BIG QUESTIONS, we go through this MAZE or gauntlet (as we now call it) thinking if we ask the right questions (WHYS), will we find our WAY back home?
Virginia gave us her biggest clue with her opening line in Flowers in the Attic.
Today Jennifer Clark, who does the Attic Secrets Quote of the day….. Starts us off by asking the BIG QUESTION :
” Shall the clay say to him that fasioneth it, What makest thou?”
This quote from Isiah 45:9 is in the beginning of Flowers in the Attic.
How do we feel this is meant to be interpreted?
Here are the responses to the big question !
I ve thought a lot about this one : simplistically it could refer to the ” clay” ie children realising their mother “potter” has made them the way they are but wonder what made her that way?
Or alternatively if you look at the actual entire piece of that biblical quotation its actually saying that the clay has no right to question its maker , like the people have no right to question god.
Absolutely, what Lorraine Elgar stated. We have no right to question God’s LAW… Human beings are forged from the human clay, so you can’t ask God … Why What are God’s rules btw ? Is God even around to answer that ? We have no right to question Cathy, what she said was the truth. Who wrote the bible ? God or men ? Men who put in their prejudices, just as Cathy put in her prejudice… Is the purist view acceptable? We humans are designed to actually question. That’s our right to placidly accept things or question things until we find the truth I recall this quote when I used it For when we learn more about the creator, we learn more about the purpose and design of the creation (this is higher sci-fi philosophy in books like Dune and Neverness). Star Trek ; The Final Frontier dealt with this. You’ll even see this concept in Ripley Scott’s movie “Prometheus” When we question we somehow find the truth ….. We grow up and become more than clay…. We aren’t children anymore. When we placidly accept things,,, we are just clay … Ignorant to change of our fate caught in a cycle that may take us toward our doom and we remain children… You can take the blue pill or the red pill REDPILL, BLUEPILL Totally your choice … “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” ―Morpheus, to Neo Matrix.
The question is “do you really want to know ?”
Lulabel Johnson: Okay… So we have the Clay which is mankind or the children. We have the Fashioner who is God or the Doll’s ancestors.
The question itself asks: Can we make sense of human life?
Is there any meaning behind this great struggle of pain and pleasure that we call human history?
As we see most explicitly at the end of SOY, this is Cathy’s One Grand Question, it is the thesis of the whole rest of the series spelled out right at the very begining of FITA. So, VCA is asking us to follow her on this journey to answer: What is meaning of life? So, how does VCA structure her answer (her series)?
1. It is in first person.
2. It consists of multiple first person narratives. Three, in fact.
3. The narratives contradict one another.
4. It is made clear that all narratives are filtered through the narrators temperaments and even (in)sanity.
5. It is made clear that the narrators (Cathy and Bart at least) have personalities that are not whole, they are fragmented, riddled with holes, memory black-outs, undesired and ignored aspects. Again insanity.
To top it all off we have the big mystery, the unsolved crime: who poisoned the kids and why, that is never really answered within the books themselves! So… with all these narrative structures she explores the question with these anwers: Meaning and reality, cause and effect are subjective to the individual.
The individual, with all her insanity, errors and hidden aspects, DOES NOT EVEN KNOW HERSELF!
How can she propose to KNOW GOD? And how can she know God’s ways and motives which are the ultimate answers to her questions?
Reality itself cannot be separated from individual subjectivity, otherwise VCA would have neatly wrapped up our mysteries with a nice shiny bow at the end of SOY.
Instead, we have only the meaning Cathy herself was able to make out of her life as an epilogue. So, the meaning to life is unknowable by humans. Does the meaning in fact exist, if we can never perceive it with our limited minds?
Cathy spent POTW trying to make sense of her life. She thought punishing those she believed were responsible for her misery would make sense of her life. It did not. It only brought her more misery and pain.
Does Chris try to make sense of it all, as Neisha Chetty might say?
Or did he decide he didn’t have to?
That the best thing to do would be to move on and enjoy life now without worrying about the past (the meaning)? What do you all think? I really hope I made it clear.
Neisha Chetty :
Oh absolutely, Lulabel Johnson, it is about the purpose of life, what we were designed for… Something humans want to know the why. My friend once showed me a philosophy question about twenty years ago. Life is meaningful. Life is meaningless …
I’m not sure whom, but I heard it in a movie once “you only know what your life means to you before you die …” Or is it “when you’re dead” lol..
Even a sitcom Third Rock from the Sun went… Question “When will our mission as humans be complete and we can leave these earthly bodies,” Answer “When we finally know the meaning of life” As Cathy gets to the end of her life, she begins to put the pieces together… I suspect that Chris has already put the pieces together while he was in the attic. He worked out something … He took the Red Pill and went far down the rabbit hole.
“Chris plucked it out and held it, just staring down at a dead maple leaf as if his very life depended on reading its secret for knowing how to blow in the wind. No arms, no legs, no wings … but it could fly when dead. “
Flowers in the Attic
There is another instance, when Cathy recalls them riding their bike that becomes a metaphor for the whole book
“I saw him racing on his bike yards ahead of me, then slowing down deliberately so I could catch up and we’d both reach home at the same time.”
Chris has gone miles ahead in his understanding of life, he knows the answer, he is just waiting for Cathy to Cathy to catch up so they can reach home together.
We hope you found your way home through all that …
Written by Neisha Chetty
Based on a post by Jennifer Clark
With input from Lulubel Johnson and Lorraine Elgar
Artwork by Lorraine Elgar