Friday, November 11, 2011
What, I am asked, does it mean?
Today a kind student from St. Joseph's University wrote in search of an answer. I said that I would share my thinking here. This second post for my day also gives me a chance to give another shout out to dear Serena, who has posted a You Are My Only interview on her blog today, and packaged it with a darned generous contest. Please go visit Savvy Verse & Wit to find out what I think about the Emmy vs. Sophie debate, what kept me awake at night, and the things I do or do not do to maintain some kind of balance. Follow the rules, and you'll be entered into the contest.
Thank you so much, Serena.
And now — back to that Dangerous Neighbors question, that confounding title. There are several pairs of dangerous neighbors in the book. Primarily the title refers to the neighborhood in which the action takes place—there, on one side of the avenue, is Shantytown and there, on the other, are the fairgrounds. The past and the future, vice and invention, showcase and (on one day) fire. Dangerous neighbors.
But we also class divisions in the novel—William and Katherine, Bennett and Anna. The twins have been warned, but they find themselves leaning toward away from their "own proper" social realm. What happens?
And finally, some 10 million people visited the Centennial fairgrounds over the course of six months, many of them hailing from all around the world. They brought change to Philadelphia—new languages, new cultures, new ways of seeing. Some Philadelphians viewed those folks as dangerous. They were suspicious of their temporary new neighbors.