Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cultural differences in books


 Over the many years that I have enjoyed writing, one of the elements to my books that I realize returns again and again are people, from different levels of our culture, coming together. I hadn't really thought about how many times that was an issue until I was thinking of sharing a clip from Her Dark Angel and this is the one that came up. The hero and heroine are married but her mother isn't accepting it. She believed her daughter deserved more; so she set up a reception dinner to show the hero how inferior he is.
  His plate was whisked away with someone else setting another in front of him. Again Dill was presented with the silverware puzzle. He hated this. Hated the pretensions, hated the expectant eyes, eyes waiting for him to fail, but he reached for a utensil, no longer caring whether he had the right one, no longer looking to see what anyone else took after him.
   Dill longed for Katy, wanted her beside him but was forced to sit and eat, listen to the boring conversation, hearing people talk about things which he'd never heard and had less interest in knowing. What is the state of travel to Turkey this year? What did you think of Toffler's last work? Did you hear about the latest archaeological dig near Cuzco? Dill barely restrained himself from asking if that was the one where they found a buried alien. He suspected they’d not have found it funny.
   He was out of his element, but it wasn’t a surprise. He had nothing in common with these people and saw it brilliantly highlighted as Richard Jordan switched smoothly from conversation to conversation, adding something knowledgeable to each topic, managing to flatter all the ages of the ladies.
   The longer the dinner went on, the more Dill’s mood darkened. He didn't blame these people. They were who they were. Margaret Hayward had intended to make a point with this reception, and she had. The play was to be the final stroke of the blade. If he hadn’t gone through what he had at Tahoe, it might have succeeded. As it was, it just meant he had a lot of work ahead to fit with the people in Katy’s life. He would hate it, be bored to death by it, but he would do it.
He is a young man who grew up on his own a lot of the time and came from commune living where many didn't pay much attention to the kids with a father and mother not ready to be parents.  He missed out on the cultural experiences common to so many. Suddenly through love, he's been thrust into this other world where tuxedos were required. This is a guy who's bought all his clothes in used stores.

In writing the book I found it fun to play around with a lot of the differences and in the end showing that it's not as significant as some may think. There are values that matter far more. Why though has this element always been so appealing to me? I think because I also came from another world, not as far removed from cultural fineness as his, but I didn't go to a really nice restaurant until I was in my late teens and dating. Then I was uneasy about how would it go?

I have grown to be more comfortable in such settings but still am not prone to want the luxuries that many equate with culture and riches. I guess it makes sense I'd write about people from two different worlds coming together to make one world for themselves. As writers, I think those parts of our own lives often will show up one way or another in the plots we choose. It's  part of the fun of writing.

2 comments:

Tabor said...

Well, you did get me intrigued on this one. I wish I still like romance novels, I use to read them like one eats popcorn! Maybe I will try this one when I am done with my 400+ page Bosnia.

Rain Trueax said...

That would be great, Tabor and if you do give it a try, I hope you let me know what works or doesn't for you :)