Link Critiques 'What Once Was Lost' -- Chapter 3
We are now in the head of Levi Jonnson, the owner off the Jonnson Millworks. In short, I feel for this man. I really do. Forget Francis, I feel very bad for Levi Jonnson. How so, you ask?
Well imagine yourself in his situation: It's the early hours of the morning and you hear someone on your front porch. You have your pistol ready in case you need to fight off a robber, but instead you find some disheveled woman who smell of smoke accompanied by a small boy. She, without your permission, enters your home with the boy and blurts out a request for you to protect and shelter this boy while she gets the orphanage rebuilt. You refuse and she says, “You can't claim you lack the space to accommodate one small boy.” You again attempt to explain to her why you can't take in some random boy, she says, “Are you rejecting him because of his blindness?”
Within a span of a few paragraphs, all respect I had for Willems (not a lot) is flushed away at her treatment of Levi Jonnson, as what I've listed out is exactly how she treats him. She accuses him of having something against blind people without bothering to consider that maybe, just maybe, Levi's got a million other things to do, things that don't include caring for a blind street urchin. No, he's clearly a selfish man who can't spare even a small corner of his home to the blind boy. Seriously, this is what she says, “Won't you please offer a small corner of your home to Tommy?” Levi has no idea who she is, she's entered his home uninvited and is basically guilt-tripping him to keeping a blind child in his house. At this point, I think Levi is well within his right to raise shit over this. Summon the constables; force Willems and Tommy out. This is his home. You just don't go around barging into someone else's home uninvited forcing burdens on them that they never asked for.
OK, maybe I'm not one to talk considering in both my fantasy-mystery and historical-mystery, my blind MCs are orphans under the care of someone outside an orphanage facility. Here's one marked difference there. My MCs weren't forced onto those caretakers; rather the caretakers themselves decided to take care of them. Hell, in my historical-mystery, the caretaker for Amos basically went, ‘Good hands...strong back...working ears, I assume. I'll put you to good use, boy. Come this way.’ and that was that. As for my fantasy-mystery MC? Her detective skills at the end won the admiration of a rich family who decided to take her in as a reward. The fact that she helped them was a bonus for the both of them.
Here, Levi doesn't know who in God's name Tommy is other than he's a blind orphan. And he's being forced to care for Tommy against his wishes by the owner of the Asylum who is basically making him feel bad for not doing otherwise.
Anyone else feel bad for Levi, or am I the only one?
At any rate, we finally find out how Tommy is scarred. He was injured in a boiler explosion and not only was his sight taken, but the explosion left, quote, a patch of rippled skin on the boy's jaw. The pink, puckered flesh flowed down his neck and disappeared beneath the collar of his shirt. Levi's chest went tight.
What? In my mind, it looks like Tommy has a patch of rough, bumpy skin on his jaw. How would that make people reject him? Before this, I imagined that he was badly scarred, like the lower right part of his face was nothing but raw, disfigured flesh but he's...mildly scarred on one side? Why does this remind me of the recent remake of The Phantom of the Opera where the Phantom has something similar on his face? What was supposed to be a mark of hideous disfigurement in the play was interpreted by the movie as something...not as harmless. Actually quite cute for those into scarred guys? Honestly, when Tommy turns 15/16, I don't doubt he'll find a lady who will find the scar and the whole ‘was blinded in a boiler explosion’ thing very adorable.
So Levi reluctantly agrees, probably to spare himself more ‘you clearly hate blind people!’ comments thrown at him by this woman who invaded his home unannounced and without his permission. She leaves Tommy alone with him.
Here's something I want you to note:
...the boy slowly turned his head, his unblinking eyes seeming to search for something.
Tommy twisted his face around, aiming his unseeing gaze in Levi's direction.
This will not be the last time we see descriptions of Tommy's eyes like this; almost like the book is afraid that unless it mentions that his eyes don't work, we're going to forget that he's blind. Funny, as I have blind characters and I don't feel the need to address that their eyes don't work. I address it by their actions, the way they move. The way they use their remaining senses to navigate the world.
The second phrase is interesting: ‘Tommy twisted his face around,’ What does this mean? Is he actually turning his head around to find where Levi's voice is coming from? Is he actually smiling when it seems like Levi isn't going to throw him out? Instead, this phrase makes me think he's contorting his face into a weird expression.
So let's pause for a brief moment: we have now a disgruntled mill owner with seemingly no children of his own and he clearly doesn't want to care for one. He's just been saddled with a blind orphan who has no place else to go.
Huh. Bitter old man, forced to take care of a child he doesn't want, said child is a homeless orphan with no place to go...
Why does this sound so familiar?
Oh, that's right!! Except...
Kid's blind, and unlike Joel and Ellie, Brambleville is not dealing with a zombie apocalypse.
...You're now imagining a blind Ellie killing a pack of undead monstrosities with a katana.
With hard rock music playing in the background.
Yep, it's the age old cliché, and the savviest of us can already guess how this is going to end up. Look at the chapters leading up to this. Asylum burns down, everyone but Tommy has a place to go. Levi is the boy's last chance and the man reluctantly agrees to look after him after basically being guilt-tripped into doing so. He even feels some measure of pity for the boy.
We all know what's gonna happen here.
Author Note: Sorry for the delay, been writing up the critique for Chapters Two and this one. Hope you all are finding this entertaining. I'll be reading Chapter 4 and writing up the critique later.
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