Reader Ted G. wrote in to Danika and I, with an interesting point of view about Rabbit in the Road that I wanted to share with you folks. Ted writes:
“We all agreed that most people read it as Bevie being the victim, only changing at the end of the book. This was the big surprise ending for all of us. It seemed that in that final confrontation, Bevie simply had had enough of her life being upturned all the time and saw a way out.
But, we all agreed that it can be read with Bevie in the roll of villianess from almost the very beginning. It could be argued that it was she using/manipulating Ray. Also her continual callous treatment of her boyfriends is evidence of a less than stellar moral fortitude. She manipulates these men to get what she needs, then abandons them all at the drop of a hat.”
The truth of the matter is: Either interpretation is correct. Of course, the question of INTENT is something else altogether. I can tell you that the second point of view is what we intended to write, and this is true. But this does not invalidate the first point of view either. It is 100% valid.
And that’s the funny thing about creative works. They’re open to interpretation a GREAT DEAL (but not necessarily all) of the time. Quentin Tarantino made an interesting observation about the nature of superheroes (and this very post is brought to you by the casual discussion that I was having regarding this topic) in Kill Bill Vol 2, regarding Superman:
“Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He’s weak… he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.”
In the discussion we were having, someone pointed out that that isn’t what the creator intended. And this is probably true, it’s NOT what they intended. However, just like with Rabbit in the Road and a great deal of other things in the world, merely the way in which you view or receive information, can change what it means. Where have I heard that before?
I will let you in on a little secret about Rabbit in the Road, however. Rabbit in the Road is, in fact, a critique on people. Some people are victims, some are heroes, and some are villains. Rabbit in the Road was written to address that very paradigm. Many readers who have spoken to me have pointed out that they were victimized at some point in their lives and in Bevie they saw themselves and her as a victim. Quite a few others saw her as a villain, and other people saw her as the heroine.
Ultimately, because of the method of the intentionally vague presentation of Bevie, I leave you with you this:
What you will see in Beverly Foster as a character, is merely a reflection of who you view yourself to be.