Monday, February 19, 2007

To Foster or to Train???

I really can't imagine sending my own child out for fostering - although there were moments during her 21 years that I might have thought it a good idea! ;~)

Can any of you imagine being in the same situation as the characters and doing so?

In MoA, I think it is not so much about socializing the children as it is about training Arthur and Morgaine to fulfill their destinies. (It seems to have been a fairly common practice amongst the gentry. It was also a way to use children to (again, as pawns) to foster alliances between families.)

I know this is an important part of the exposition of the story, still it makes me so angry at Igraine for letting them leave. I'm also irritated at the Lady of the Lake for manipulating others in such a cold-hearted way. It makes me mistrust both their motivations from the start.


Brooke said...

I totally agree with you about not being able to imagine sending my child away. The one thing I think about and wonder, is that if their shorter lifespan and high infant/child mortality rate had anything to do with their ease in fostering out their children. If we look at it in dog years (for lack of a better term :P) would sending off a 7 year old child in those days be comparable to us sending off a child to college? I could be grasping here, but it's just a thought :) Wasn't Alexander the Great 18 years old when he went off to conquer Asia Minor? I think he also died when he was 32 or 33, but now I'm getting totally off the subject :P I was just trying to give a lifespan example. Hmmm...

Micah said...

Hi, Brooke,
I almost said something about the life expectancy in my earlier post. It seems so callous, but I wonder if they didn't have a different expectancy because of it. It makes me wonder if we place a different value on our children now than they did - after all, they also had much larger families. It's hard to imagine parents thinking that way about their children, but I am in my mid-40s and when I was growing up there was definitely a different perspective on a child's place in the family than there is now. Our parents, for instance would never have rearranged their entire schedules to drive us around to the number of activities that parents take their kids to now. That's not a value judgment, but times were different (most of us only had one car at home, too, so it wasn't logistically possible either). Of course, they valued us, but still, I almost feel as though things are changing.

You certainly had to get a lot accomplished before you became a crone at 35 in the middle ages! ;~)

ctlynn said...

Great ideas, ladies. I agree. Also consider that a marriage made purely for sake of alliances (political) may make for disinterested parenting. If you were *forced* to wed and bed someone like Igraine's first marriage, you may choose to love and create family through your children, or you may see yourself more like a racehorse mare, breeding for the stock of the country's political future?

Many people today give up children to adoption so the child can have a chance at a better life...maybe the scenario has changed but the sentiment remains?

Igraine's worry for Arthur's safety is not unfounded- it would be hard, but a legitimate reason for fosterage.

*FYI* Pre-Industrial-revolution, a woman had a 50% chance of surviving childbirth. Those chances increased exponentially with each birth, so the chances of a first-time mother surviving were less than 50%. Imagine what that would do to your psyche as you went to your confinement...

Dharmafey said...

This continues to happen today when a Buddhist Lama is reincarnated, and is widely accepted in that culture. The monks show up and the door and the 3-y.o. totally recognizes them and that they need to go.