TPD pp 65-67: The conspiracy continues

Trigger warning: Discussions of domestic abuse

At one am (or is it…?), Bernie is calling Marshall. If I were Kate I’d be a little concerned about this level of familiarity, but to be fair, she’s still concerned about her daughter

Bernie, you see, has developed the film in her camera! Out of twenty-four exposures, only the twelve taken at the carnival have been mysteriously completely exposed, printing as sheer black. So, what, the demons want to conceal any proof that the Carnival of Debauchery happened? I hate to break it to them, but the whole town was there. This cover-up will be a bit more involved than they’d like to think.

Marshall asks a few cursory questions about the other woman who was at this mysterious meeting, probably trying to lead us into suspecting the professor. He hangs up the phone, concentrating deeply on this new, all-important mystery and not at all on the mystery of his missing daughter. So focused, in fact, that when Kate tries to engage him in conversation, he asks:

“What were we talking about, anyway?”

Gee, I don’t know, your missing daughter?

Kate reminds him that he was considering asking the pastor about some of his religious misgivings; the mention of the pastor makes Marshall irrationally angry, something Kate describes thusly:

She had never really missed that fire in his eyes; perhaps she’d never known it was gone until this moment when, for the first time since they left New York, she saw it again. Some old, unpleasant feelings rose up within her, feelings she had no desire to cope with late at night with her daughter mysteriously missing.

Can we talk about this passage for a minute? Because it’s making me highly uncomfortable.

The narration goes on to imply this is the sort of “on fire for God” that evangelicals speak of, his fighting spirit coming back. But Kate doesn’t react that way. She finds this unpleasant, and has no desire to cope.

We know Marshall is verbally abusive to his daughter, Sandy, as well as being emotionally distant from her. These things don’t happen in isolation; often, such abuse can leak over into other people in his life over whom he feels powerful. The fact that Kate seems afraid here, and that what she describes as “fire” the narration describes as “almost angry”, well… just look at Kate’s initial reaction:

“Young”, [Marshall] said, and almost sounded angry.

“But if you don’t want to….”

Immediately she retracts the suggestion that made him upset in the first place, aware she’s treading on thin ice.

Marshall stared at the table while his warm milk got cold. Kate waited, then roused him with, “Would you rather talk about this in the morning?”

Marshall controls the flow of the conversation with his demanding, angry silence, letting the uncomfortable quiet drag on for quite some time if his milk has gone cold. Kate finally musters the courage to speak, though when she does, it’s gentle and appeasing.

“I’ll talk to him,” Marshall said flatly. “I… I want to talk to him. You bet I’ll talk to him!”

Marshall’s anger has only grown during the long silence, showing he’s not trying to calm himself but instead stewing, encouraging the rage to grow.

“It couldn’t hurt.” [Kate replied]

“No, it sure couldn’t.”

Kate agrees with her husband, hoping to soothe some of his wrath.

“I don’t know when he’d be able to see you, but–”

“One o’clock would be nice.” He scowled a bit. “One o’clock would be perfect.”

Marshall’s need to control people extends even to his pastor’s schedule, which he demands to suit his own needs. Possibly he’s here demanding the impossible of Kate, insisting that she make some other man’s schedule bend to Marshall’s will.

The angels, of course, find this passage amusing and heartening, insisting that Rafar “has helped awaken” him. I find that apt: the devil has awoken the monster within Marshall.

I only hope Kate manages to make it out alright.

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8 Responses to TPD pp 65-67: The conspiracy continues

  1. Jarred H says:

    The narration goes on to imply this is the sort of “on fire for God” that evangelicals speak of, his fighting spirit coming back. But Kate doesn’t react that way. She finds this unpleasant, and has no desire to cope.

    While I certainly understand your concern here, I will note that Marshall is not an author insert, nor is he being portrayed as being perfect. (After all, how can he be perfect? He’s “unsaved.”) I will also note that Peretti does address some of your concerns (though not all of them) later in the book.

    • yamikuronue says:

      When angels themselves are cheering the protagonist on, it makes it hard to believe this is going to be treated well or even pointed out.

      • Jarred H says:

        Yeah, I can certainly understand that. It certainly begs certain questions regarding the angels’ (not to mention the author’s) priorities, as it suggests that at the very least “winning the great battle” is more important than addressing the fact that Marshall is being an abusive jackass.

  2. yamikuronue says:

    Why won’t it let me reply to your comment directly…?

    Anyway, it almost has to be that way. In this universe, the angels’s job appears solely to be battling the demons, leaving humanity to their mundane struggles somewhere in the middle. What do they know of abuse posing as righteousness? All they know is what’ll help them in battle, like being able to channel anger into action.

    Ack, my fan theories are making the book grow on me!

    • Jarred H says:

      WordPress places a limit on how deeply comment threads can be nested. I seem to vaguely recall that the depth can be altered (I don’t think the limit can be disabled altogether) somewhere in the dashboard, but I don’t remember where. Plus my memory can be faulty.

      Actually, I think the angel’s tendency to overlook the abusive nature of Marshall’s response is a bit more problematic than that. I’d like to explain, but first….

      Spoiler alert.

      Later in the book, Marshall ends up getting saved. Part of that process is realizing that he hasn’t been treating his family properly. (I don’t think he comes right out and tackles the fact that what he’s doing is abusive, though.) And I think this is the real reason that the angels don’t express concern about his behavior here. They figure it’ll “get taken care of during the salvation moment.”

      Which is a problem in itself. There is a certain amount of magical thinking when it comes to salvation among certain evangelicals and fundamentalists. There seems to be this unspoken assumption that once someone gets saved, all their character flaws and horrid behavior will magically disappear.*

      This is especially troubling because it’s the major impetus behind the mindset that suggests abuse survivors — especially those who are married to their abusers — should strive to “get their abuser saved” rather than encouraging them to get out of such abusive situations. I find that highly problematic.

      * Oh sure, they’ll tell you they still sin, especially when deflecting accusations of self-righteousness. But trust me, they don’t spend nearly as much time reflecting on their own behavior and considering whether it’s truly sanctified as they’ll spend talking about the sins of the unsaved.

  3. Paul Paul says:

    Ola! Yamikuronue,
    Thanks, on a related note, In certain cases to conceal the real truth of a true conspiracy allows say nine/11, or 7/seven, do the illuminati/freemasons concoct a fake conspiracy (as component of there program) merely because they know the manifeste will forever look and feel for answers and are painless to feed with points like WHAT In reality Transpired style documentaries, in most cases to conceal the correct trigger of a tragedy, there are frequently very a wide selection of deliberate issues that are produced so the culprits can then go and clarify them absent (uncomplicated ahh) a legitimate conspiracy intended to eliminate millions or a top notch leader would by no means be identified (that is why we are fed fake stories to fool the manifeste into imagining the opposite of what is seriously transpired,) what was that white vehicle along facet lady di’s when she crashed (its not ever been observed), yea right, like they would be that stupid.
    Cheers

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