April 11, 2007

Quotation from a book I really didn't like as a child but which, taken out of context, seems pretty right on

"When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real. It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby."

Margery Williams
The Velveteen Rabbit

4 comments:

Barbara Mesle said...

here's what Toni Morrison says in Jazz about what babies "do" to us:
"When the baby was in her arms, she inched its blanket up around the cheeks against the threat of wind too cool for its honey-sweet, butter-colored face. Its big-eyed noncommittal stare made her smile. Comfort settled itself in her stomach and a kind of skipping, running light traveled her veins." Love, MIMI

Amy E said...

Of course, but the question remains, how does a woman become "real" without having a child?

I can tell, 98% of the time, if a woman has had a child or not, especially if she is older than 35. It's a game I used to play with an ex-boyfriend.

sarah said...

well, the nice thing about this quotation in particular is that it refers NOT to a mother but to a stuffed toy.

in this vison, at least, what counts is not biology but care; being loved.

what's more interesting about the quotation is its claim that being loved, becoming "real," has a high cost. remember, in the book, the toy literally gets burned.

Amy E said...

Separately, I am now reading "Rabbit is Rich," by John Updike, which I highly recommend over "The Velveteen Rabbit." I never knew of this book before a couple of weeks ago, when I found it on a dusty shelf at a lonely bagel shop. So far so good; somewhat superflous, but mostly interesting.

I used to call someone "Rabbit" and he liked it very much. Then he became "Rabs."