Friday, August 20, 2010
Charm and Evil
It is an interesting oxymoron, that charm and evil often exist together. It takes only a short analysis of the notorious villains in history to see that their charismatic skills of persuasion were paramount in victimizing their prey. Bernie Madoff would not have been able to pillage billions from clients without a charming persona and the ability to manipulate investors with a carefully orchestrated image designed to deceive his victims. In Pages in the Wind, Captain Jacob Taylor is able to commit horrendous acts of violence against Emily free of active intervention from anyone.
His charm is illustrated in this passage from Pages in the Wind:
Her father was gregarious and the first one invited to a party, for his quick wit and engaging presence. He was often called on to be the master of ceremonies at naval functions. He was not hindered by inhibitions, and reveled at being the center of attention without looking foolish or self-serving. His co-workers admired him for his intelligence and imposing demeanor, and women found him attractive and seductive. He filled up every room that he walked into. His stride was confident, and in his company you knew that you were in the presence of a man that could have whatever he desired. It was the way he laughed with his eyes, the way he exuded confidence with every step he took, the way he seasoned his conversation with interesting anecdotes.
It must be confusing to young Emily to watch the father that purposefully hurts her to be celebrated by family and friends. She is far too young to discern the difference between the private and public man. She longs for her father's charm to be directed at her. This reinforces the perception that she is hopelessly flawed and unworthy. What will be the long term effect of seeking this approval? Will Emily be drawn to men that are similar to her father? Perhaps more disastrous, will she be prey to men that give her the love and affection that she so desperately needs?