October 20th, 2012

TKTD Questions V

1. Hey, ehekic!

In response to your first question:

So Santana’s grandmother and mother didn’t speak the same language—Santana’s grandmother spoke less English when Santana was a baby than she did later in Santana’s life—so the two women didn’t necessarily fight with words.

However, that being said, Santana’s grandmother did dislike Santana’s mother a great deal because she felt as if Santana’s mother prevented Santana’s father from fully assimilating into Anglo-American culture.

Santana’s grandmother very much resented that she had spent twenty odd years cooped up as a prisoner in her own home, pretending to be a lowly maid while her husband masqueraded as a well-to-do white widower, all in the hopes that their son would enjoy certain opportunities, only to have their son give many of those opportunities up to be with some girl he met at a party in the brothel district, whom he then sentenced to Santana’s grandmother’s same fate (i.e., being confined to her own home).

Furthermore, Santana’s grandmother disapproved of her son being with a woman he could never hope to marry and viewed his and Santana’s mother’s relationship as a mere sinful “fornication.”

In response to your second question:

Santana found out that her parents weren’t married when her father died and his lawyers came to appraise the bachelor cottage and, subsequently, to evict her from it.

During their visit, the lawyers reviewed her father’s papers and interviewed Santana. They eventually determined that Santana’s father had never married her mother and that Santana was therefore her father’s bastard, with no legal right to any of his belongings or the inheritance he had attempted to appropriate for her in his will.

Unusual circumstances surrounding her father’s death further blocked Santana’s recourse to claim her part in her father’s estate.

In response to your third question:

So children tend to accept as “normal” that to which they become accustomed, and particularly in terms of parents. 

Since Santana had no other experience than living at the bachelor cottage—where she spent most of her time divided between the indoors and the garden—she hadn’t any other experiences to which to compare her own personal experience, aside from those about which she read in her books. Accordingly, particularly as a child, Santana didn’t find anything unusual about her living arrangements.

As for the issue of differing complexions:

Like most small children, Santana first showed awareness of the difference between her skin tone from her grandmother’s skin tone and her father’s skin tone around the time she turned three years old—i.e., she noticed that her own skin tone was dark, that her grandmother’s was somewhere between light and dark, and that her father’s was light. However, like most small children, Santana didn’t know enough to realize that other people would make value judgments about her, her grandmother, father, or anyone else based on their various skin colors. 

Though Santana read broadly and inevitably encountered stories which featured interaction between characters from different races—like in Robinson Crusoe—her father deliberately limited her access to stories which either promoted racism or which depicted people of color as being in any way inferior to white people or dependent upon them.

Due to his own experiences, he felt compelled to closely monitor Santana’s reading diet so that he could raise Santana to be “colorblind” concerning race. He didn’t want his daughter internalizing ideas about racism. He chose this course of action not so much to protect Santana from how other people might relate to her—after all, he fully intended to shelter her throughout her life—but rather because he wanted to shape the way that she related to others, even if only in theory. He firmly believed that the only way to combat the racism rampant in society was to raise a generation that had no concept of race.

Accordingly, he never discussed the concept of race explicitly with Santana—which is why she didn’t know that her mother was African American or that her grandmother was Amerindian.

With all of that in mind, Santana really had no idea why her father didn’t live with her and her grandmother and only connected his absence to the issue of race after he died and she became acquainted with the subject.

Santana really did experience a sharp learning curve during the week after her father died, which is when she first learned to conceptualize herself as “an other” and specifically as a person of color, realized the unusual nature of her living situation and family life, encountered various racial slurs, and recognized that her father had essentially lied to her (largely by omission) throughout most of her life.

We see bits and pieces of Santana’s “rude awakening” process at present in TKTD’s narrative, particularly in places where Santana mentions her father’s lawyers coming to the bachelor cottage and her own experiences in the Tenderloin district immediately following her father’s death.







Also, I have this awesome beta who helps me keep track of stuff in my story. I don’t want to kill her because I’d miss her and stuff, so I’ll be careful with the ending.

#brotp: with the u and everything

3. Hey!

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “homosexual” did not enter regular English language usage until 1892. The term “lesbian” as a word denoting a homosexual woman did not enter regular English usage until 1890. Prior to that time, the terms “tribadism” and “tribade” did exist—and occur in print as early as 1811—but were used almost exclusively in medical journals. The terms “Sapphism” and “Sapphic” as they relate to homosexual women were likewise innovations of the  1890s.

That being said, prior to the 1890s, terms for homosexuality did exist, but they were largely euphemisms and related overwhelmingly to the male homosexual experience.

(For instance, in nineteenth century England, “lavender aunts” was a slang term that people used to describe homosexual men.)

Very few terms existed to describe female homosexuality, and certainly even fewer of those terms entered the common lexicon.

Simply put, people had no widespread set language to describe or categorize homosexuality, and particularly not female homosexuality. Moreover, since laws forbade homosexuality and even could punish it unto death throughout most of America until well into the twentieth century, during the nineteenth century, those people who were homosexual tended to keep quiet about their sexual activities and love lives, even if they lived with their partners.

(For a look at some real life, historic lesbians, see here.)


In TKTD, Santana has no concept of either male or female homosexuality and doesn’t know the word “lesbian” or any of its derivatives. Puck probably is familiar with the terms “sodomy” and “buggery” as they relate to male homosexuality, but is just as clueless as Santana when it comes to female homosexuality on the whole.

Santana would never describe herself as gay or lesbian or homosexual because those terms aren’t even on her radar at all. Indeed, most of her distress in realizing that she loves Brittany romantically stems from the fact that she had no idea that it was even possible for a girl to fall in love with another girl prior to the point when she herself did just that.

Essentially, because Santana has no language to describe her own experience, she assumes that she is the only girl on the face of the planet who has ever fallen in love with her female best friend.

Likewise, Santana also has no idea that what she did in the tent with Brittany constitutes having sex or making love because, to her, sex by definition must include one man and one woman. The notion that two women can have sex with each other would be absolutely revelatory to her.

That being said, if Santana were to somehow circumlocute her feelings for Brittany to Puck—i.e., to tell him something along the lines of “I love girls in the way that I’m supposed to feel about boys” or “I wish that I could marry Brittany” or “Brittany is my true love”—he would have no idea how to process what she had just told him. Again, he tends to view Santana’s relationship through the lens of romantic friendship.

4. Hey, Anon!

Thank you so much for the kind message! I’m really glad you enjoy TKTD so much. I’m basically a squealing fangirl mess right now because of you!


5. Hey, Anon!

I did see those spoilers, and, if they turn out to be legit, I’ll be most pleased. Of course, I am always dubious of spoilers and particularly when they come out so far in advance. All the same, I have my fingers crossed that we’ll hear some good music soon.

Thanks for writing in!

  1. lingeringlilies said: I was biting my nails the whole chapter 11 because I was sure the guns were going to go off but they didn’t and now I’m still so stressed and I can’t
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  3. socallmedaisy said: A;LSDKJFLKD I LOVE YOU, YOU DORK
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