Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More on Gemma's dark moment

Why is this a "dark" moment? I think it's illustrative to see how this is set up.

Gemma is TOUGH. And she loves her men, and above all doesn't want to cause them harm. (And she knows they're dangerous when they're riled. :)

She doesn't "whine". She doesn't seek support. She doesn't ask for help. She is always in charge. That's her value system. Telling about this is against her own personal code. It's weak.

That's set up ahead of time. So when she is moved to tell this secret, to reveal her vulnerability and what she thinks of as her shame (she knows it's not her fault, but she thinks she was stupid and weak to let it happen), it's a very difficult choice because it goes against what she believes she "ought" to do. She ought to be able to handle this. And she sort of can (her sexuality is profoundly affected by the secrecy, and her relationship with Clay, so it's not unmixed-- and shouldn't be). Her decision to tell is made from love -- trying to reconcile Clay and Jax.

Clay, btw, has a similar journey. We of course think the husband of a rape survivor should act with love and compassion and never scorn her (and we're right). But by his code, or the club's code, which Gemma knows and actually supports, he should reject her now. That is, it's HIS value system, not ours, that makes this "dark", makes this a difficult choice for him. (He too acts with love, fortunately, but the writers quite rightly make this take a bit of time.)

But it's OUR value system (he should act with love) that determines, I think, that this is the right decision, even if it's the 'wrong' one by his own pre-existing value system.

Brilliantly done. But this is important-- we have to set this up. The action has to be painful, difficult, "dark" for this to be a dark moment. What in the run-up, in the whole story and character development BEFORE the dark moment makes this dark for your character?

BTW, there's a very nice setup moment for Jax in this episode. His friend, speaking of Clay, says, "He's your father." (Clay has, apparently, been his stepfather for 20 years, and they do love each other.) Jax says coldly, "My father died on Hwy 580." (His real father.) That is, Jax disavows this relationship (he has good reason, also set up). And so his action in the end of the episode, where he puts his hand on Clay's shoulder, and stays there as Clay covers his hand and holds it, is that much more intense, as it's re-establishing his filial bond.



Leona said...

I have a question which has nothing to do with this per se but everythin in relation to my book. I keep getting pulled out of my story because I'm not sure how to use 'affect' and 'effect'. I had it explained by others who claim to know more than us mere mortals when helping my husband with his homework.

When my husband got his paper back it was wrong! I was able to push past a block today. I'm at 40k 7500 of them today as I make up for the four days I did way under par.

However, my point is that I'm losing plot points and stopping in the middle of PNR scene because of this issue. It's making me crazy because these people all with degrees in English or something don't agree on the defintion as pertaining to proper usage.


Edittorrent said...

Okay, you know, I used to work on a Grammar Hotline, and yes, there was such a thing, back when the phone was the dominant means of communication. :) It was part of the IUPUI writing center, and when we weren't tutoring students (our real job), we were answering this phone.

And the number one question was "Affect or effect?" (Second was lay/lie.) So you're not alone.

It's complicated because usually it's one way, and then (esp. in psychology) it's the opposite.


Affect is the verb, and effect is the noun, and both refer to having an impact on something.

My lovely song affected my listeners, and caused a poignant effect especially on my mother.

Easy enough, huh? Just remember:

...Except they can both mean something else! In psychology, Affect is a noun that means something like "expression" mixed with "experience". (Anyone who has studied this, please correct me if I've got this wrong.) Someone with "low affect" probably doesn't express or maybe experience emotion the way most of us do.

And "effect" can also be a verb, but it doesn't mean "affect" or "cause an effect" exactly then. It means more to cause or make something happen, so "Dr. King effected a great change in the civil rights of our nation."

So when affect is used as a verb, and effect is used as a noun, they are just different parts of speech meaning the same thing, to influence or cause an impact (though perhaps a little "softer" than impact).

But when affect is used as a noun, or effect is used as a verb, they are really no longer related to each other-- they are different activities. They are each related to the central meaning of impact, but they're sort of like "My sister's brother-in-law" in relationship; he is not MY brother-in-law.

This means, I guess, that you always have to stop and figure out what part of speech or role the word is playing in the sentence (noun or verb), and then whether you are meaning those related but not exact terms (effect-verb, affect-noun).

This is the BEST example of how the part of speech/sentence role is essential with word choice! Thanks!!

Will foreblog this, just because I find it interesting!

(The grammar hotline, alas, is no more. Funding dried up, but more than that, the web kind of took over. Here is a great link:
I was looking up e.g./i.e. (YET AGAIN... some things just won't take up residence in my brain-- thank goodness for Google) and came across this helpful site that lists common usage errors (like auger/augur... okay, some NOT so common ones) and explains when to use each. Here's the page where the reasoning is explained. Oops, links didn't transfer-- I'll put those on the front page. )