Born That Way

Book Discussion

In Jessica Spostwood's Born Wicked, Cate tries really hard to deny that she and her sisters are witches. Her society has told her that they are wicked and dangerous. She's tried not using her magic and that just caused it to leap out, uncontrolled, at unfortunate times. She uses it just enough to keep it in control but the magic wants out. It wants to be used and she can't completely stop it. Cate can't stop being a witch because she was simply born that way.

"It's not right to go into people's minds and muddle things! It's too invasive. It's --" I stop myself before I say wicked.

But Maura stares as me in the mirror, like she knows what I'm thinking. "We're witches Cate. We were born that way. Magic isn't shameful, no matter what the Brothers would have us believe. It's a gift. I wish you would accept that."
Page 16.

It's hard when you are told that the way you were born is wrong. We all have natural talents and abilities. Or maybe we have a lack of a particular ability. As Joshilyn Jackson so aptly put it on her blog many years ago, I have the coordination of a dead drunk sloth in a wind machine. I am the kind of person that trips going up stairs and I've never successfully managed to do a cartwheel in my life. Grace, thy name is not Karen.

But what if we lived in a society where grace was demanded? What if the ability to do a cartwheel and how well one could do it defined whether or not I was a good citizen? What if they rounded up everyone who could not do a cartwheel and sent them to asylums? That's sort of Cate's world.

cartwheeling in the sand

Credit: Heather Aitken on Flickr

Cate is fearful of her powers because she has reasons to be fearful. She's seem too many girls carted away and punished, many whom were probably not even witches. They were just accused of witchcraft. She fears that for herself, but even more so for her sisters. Maura doesn't have the same fear. That is not to say that she has no fear, it's just different. We don't know for certain, because we never get to hear Maura's thoughts, but I got the sense that Maura feared a "normal" life without magic in it more than she feared the consequences of being branded as a witch. Her desire for an extraordinary life was greater than her fear of punishment. She was simply born with the gift of magic and if other's weren't that was too bad for them. She was not going to be made to feel of ashamed of something she could not control.

What natural abilities or talents do you have and celebrate? Are there any abilities that you wish you had?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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