Read Elsie's Endless Wait by Martha Finley Free Online
Book Title: Elsie's Endless Wait|
The author of the book: Martha Finley
Date of issue: August 6th 2006
ISBN 13: 9781928749806
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 31.38 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.8
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The basis of this book is an eight year old girl has never met her father. Then he comes and at first hates her, and then decides "hey, I can parent. Why not, how hard can this be?"
He spends most of the book being emotionally abusive, refusing all displays of affection, punishing her for accidents or things that aren't her fault, and assuming the worst of her even though others who have known her longer tell him she's a good girl. He separates her from her friends (see: Lucy), changes her diet to basically milk, fruit, and bread (she can have meat once a day), and constantly shames her for crying (it's "babyish" for a girl her age to cry). By half-way through the book she's living in mortal fear of her father (who has been around for all of like 3 months) because as far as he's concerned she's a very naughty child, and since his word is law, she believes that to be true. His reactions are so intense that even the barest of misdemeanors gets her screamed at, told she's bad, sent to her room, and sometimes left hungry. One time, her copybook was blotted and when she said (truthfully) that it wasn't her fault she nearly got spanked for it; only one of the other children sticking up for her saved her (literally her father's hand was raised and about to strike her.)
By the way, Everyone abuses her, her teacher, the other children, her grandparents... everyone except one aunt, Miss Rose, and the slaves.
Through all of this, the narrative makes it clear that her father is wrong to do most of these things, but it is also very clear that Elsie is a shining example of goodness because she works very hard to bow to each of his unreasonable demands and never speaks against him. The only time she stands against him, and it's right that she do so, is when he tried to make her play a song on Sunday that she doesn't think is right for the Sabbath.
At one point, there is this guy who is really nice and really likes Elsie, and he offers to basically adopt her, because he doesn't have children. Her father agrees. He AGREES! He's willing to GIVE HIS CHILD AWAY. And Elsie refuses to go because she loves her father so much. At what point does this stop becoming faith and start becoming stockholm syndrome? I get turning the other cheek, I really do, but when do we stop using the Bible to justify allowing abuse to continue? And Elsie would have been wrong to go live with this man (and his mother, so it's less creepy) because her duty is to her father. I want to write this girl a verse in "Wicked Girls Saving Ourselves." Or, hell, Dorothy's will work for her: "Dorothy just wanted something that she could believe in. A grey dust-bowl girl in a life she was better off leaving." She had a chance to escape, "she could have got clear and she could have got clean, but she chose to be 'good' and go back to that grey Kansas sky where colour's a fable and freedom's a fairy tale lie."
At one point while reading this I was shocked that Elsie hadn't developed a stammer or something, because for a while there her every move and word got her punished. And then her father, scowling at her, would snap, "why are you afraid of me? Stop that. Hey, why are you crying again? I said that's a bad habit, so stop. You're scared again, why are you scared?"
And yes, the narrative views her father as a poor parent, but it never condemns him for it. There are constantly all these excuses made for him. "He loved his daughter more than anything. He was trying his best. He didn't want to punish her unjustly, so when he found out the truth he let her leave her room/eat." The only thing he's really condemned for is, get this, loving his daughter more than loving God.
Maybe this is my liberalism showing through here, but you should not teach children that when they are being abused they should just go with it, because that's what God wants.
These are children we're dealing with here. It's one thing to read the Bible and know that as Christians we should turn the other cheek and submit to authority because our judgement comes from a higher place, but this book is dealing with things much bigger than being teased and not retaliating. This is child abuse. It's child abuse that the book does NOT outright condemn. When Elsie explains that she deserves to be punished because she's been naughty by disobeying her father, no one corrects her. This is terrifying stuff wrapped in religious ideals in an attempt to praise piety. Praising piety is awesome, I totally approve, but that's not what this is.
Anyone reading this who claims to love God and wants to raise children to love and serve him... this is not the way to do it. It should NEVER be a child's decision whether or not to stay with an abusive parent. A child's dedication to an abusive parent should NEVER be heralded as a demonstration of goodness. A child should NEVER have to chose between obeying their parents and obeying God, and when this is the case, we have all failed. It is not okay to give this book to a child and say "be like this" because this situation should not happen, and when it does (because it absolutely does) no child should be laying the blame on his/herself for the results, and that's exactly what this book tells them they should be doing. This book is not a beautiful standard for a child to strive for, it's a tragedy, showing the failure to care for a child. But it's marketed as a thing to help strengthen a child's faith, and that makes it dangerous.
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Read information about the authorMartha Finley was a teacher and author of numerous works, the most well known being the 28 volume Elsie Dinsmore series which was published over a span of 38 years. Finley wrote many of her books under the pseudonym Martha Farquharson.
For more information, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_F... or, http://marthafinley.wordpress.com/
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