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Name: Linda | Gender: Female | Posts: 147 | Roses: 10
Old 10-11-2014 at 01:50 AM
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Erik's Mother  Post [1]


One of the most maligned characters (even more so than poor Raoul!) is Erik's mother. Leroux never even bothered to give her a name and only provides a few tidbits about her. We know she made a present of the mask to Erik, we know she threw his mask at him and ran away from him, and we know she wouldn't kiss him. We also know Erik loved her dearly. This is a rotten picture of her, yet a great one of him. Why is it so one-sided?

I find it interesting that Erik only tells us just a few things about his mother and all of them are terrible. Why tell the worst possible things about her? Was she really that bad or was he trying to gain Daroga's sympathy? Was that all there was to her? And what about this refusal to kiss him? Is that even believable? If he was the only child and grew up in a household where his mom never kissed him or never displayed a kiss in general, how would he even know what he was missing in the first place?

And the opposite side of the coin. Just what was he like as a child? Do you think he could have been a handful? Was that one of the times when his mother threw the mask at him? Or was he a good kid who simply got a bad break?

What would Erik's mother think of him as an adult? Would she have been proud of his accomplishments? What would she think of his job as an assassin? What do you think her thoughts would be on what he did to Christine?
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Old 10-11-2014 at 10:06 AM
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 Post [2]


I don't think he really talked bad about her to make her seem like a bad person. I rather think he just wanted to point out that EVERYONE - including his own MOTHER - couldn't stand his apperance.

I think he was a nice child. A sweet child. He always was - even as an adult. All the awful things that happened to him and that turned him into the dangerous, sad, horrible person he became, left a small (or not so small) spark of childishness, aswell as childlikeness in him. And that is what shows that - no matter how awful an adult he is - he was and is a sweet child.


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Name: Linda | Gender: Female | Posts: 147 | Roses: 10
Old 10-11-2014 at 04:28 PM
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 Post [3]


I think Leroux meant to put Erik's mother in a bad light. That's why Kay runs wild with her Madeline version of Mommie Dearest. Just to go off topic for a moment, there are those out there who don't believe Mommie Dearest's Joan Crawford was the tyrant her adopted daughter makes her out to be. In fact, there are those out there who believe the adopted daughter was actually the tyrant. Can Joan dispute her daughter's claim? Nope. Dearest daughter didn't publish her book until after Joan was dead.

So back to Erik because in essence he acts similar to Crawford's daughter. In fairness to him, not to that extent though. His mother is dead and cannot dispute his claim. It comes down to his word and he is known to be a liar.

I'm not so sure Erik's mother couldn't stand his appearance. By his own admission, she threw the mask at him. That means he wasn't wearing it. He didn't even have it in his possession. If she couldn't stand his appearance, I wonder how she had the fortitude to throw it at him. It makes more sense that she would simply not be in his presence if his appearance was that upsetting to her.

As a child I tend to think Erik was spoiled and often threw tantrums just like he does as an adult. I also believe that because he was a genius he was a real handful to his mother.
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Name: Lynn Rossignol | Gender: Female | Age: 40 | Posts: 30 | Roses: 10
Old 10-11-2014 at 06:14 PM
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 Post [4]


Funny... as that is rather how Kay portrays Erik. He throws tantrums to the point where he got his way almost invariably. Of course he never got the kiss from her.

Back in Victorian times which was obsessed with perfection someone with a deformity was often considered 'unfit for public viewing' and would have brought untold shame to the family. Thus, Erik would have been a shut in and likely due to his genius a full time handful. Honestly, I do not see Kay as being far off at all this this regard. There was a lot of logic that trickled down from that and it matches much of what Leroux hinted at.

Do I believe that she was as she was hinted at in Leroux? Given the age it is set, I see no reason why not to assume so. Look at the tale of Joseph Merrick the Elephant Man for a reference, he had both parents and look how they treated him as his disease progressed.

So far as her not being given a name... well, the Persian wasn't bestowed one either. And look how significant he was.


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Name: Linda | Gender: Female | Posts: 147 | Roses: 10
Old 10-11-2014 at 06:39 PM
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 Post [5]


I believe Merrick's real parents were fine. I think it was after his mother died and his father remarried that the issues with him being in the house began. There of course is a vast difference between Merrick and Erik. Merrick remained a kind and gentle man. Erik was anything but and in my opinion it's hard to believe he would love a woman who absolutely despised him. If that's what Leroux intended. Kay went wild with Erik's mother, naming her and giving her a nature that makes her very non-motherlike and easy to hate. her own son demonstrates his hatred of and disregard for her many times.


Good point about the Persian. He even refers to himself as The Persian.
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Name: Lynn Rossignol | Gender: Female | Age: 40 | Posts: 30 | Roses: 10
Old 10-13-2014 at 07:45 PM
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 Post [6]


I spent a good bit of time pondering this question and even went so far as to reread the lines in reference to Erik's mother ... at the root of everything I must admit that my opinion of questioning whether or not what we are 'told' is accurate is troublesome. My train of thought is thus:

Leroux, in the end, is our narrator, an investigator of this case. His information is reported to us from his various sources, one of which is the Persian whom he establishes as a man whom he trusts, basically a man who is incredibly honest. Leroux himself (original author and creature of Erik) makes his report rather frankly in regards to what the Persian says ... and there is no hint the Persian doubts this segment of Erik's tale (note: there are other sources he mentions earlier that he readily discredits!) To add doubt here brings into question EVERYTHING else within the tale and paints Leroux as an unreliable judge of facts vs fiction which pretty much brings the entire story now into question. i.e. We can now no longer take a single thing as fact.

In my opinion, I see it as entirely subversive as a reader to second guess the authenticity of one the most reliable sources Leroux provides us in this story. If the Persian had questioned Erik's integrity, or Leroux intended us to do so, he would have left a bolder clue. So I choose to believe what the original creator of the character tells me. Point blank.


"The only way to ensure a dream withstands the torrents of time is to lay the foundation in hard work and skills. Anything less and the accomplishment is not worth recognition."-Erik- from my novel ~Nightingale's Strain~
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Name: Linda | Gender: Female | Posts: 147 | Roses: 10
Old 10-14-2014 at 02:00 AM
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 Post [7]


But there is another passage in the book where Christine and Erik are talking to one another. Christine asks Erik what his nationality was and if that name of Erik did not point to his Scandinavian origin. Erik tells her he has no name and no country. He further states he took the name of Erik by accident.

The Persian says Erik was born in a small town near Rouen. He was the son of a master mason and ran away from home at any early age. His ugliness was a subject of horror and terror to his parents.

Now granted Erik does go on to tell Christine later that his mother gave him his first mask. But then, he goes on to say his father never saw him.

None of the accounts above match enough to be 100% total and concrete proof. I could let that go except for one detail. All come from the same source; Erik himself. Leroux can only put on paper what he is told or what he found as the result of his research.

I don't see it as subversive for a reader to question the authenticity one bit because Erik himself was obscure and even contradictory about his early life.
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Name: Lynn Rossignol | Gender: Female | Age: 40 | Posts: 30 | Roses: 10
Old 10-14-2014 at 05:07 AM
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 Post [8]


Sooo, Leroux the narrator is lying throughout the entire book and we can't trust a single thing we're being told at any point in time, it should always be questioned ... which basically means the entire tale is reduced a bunch of tangled yarns of nonsense. Ok, fine have it your way.

Frankly, I'm going to trust the narrator where it is sensible to do so, otherwise ... why care such much for a story where every minute detail is called into question?


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Name: Linda | Gender: Female | Posts: 147 | Roses: 10
Old 10-14-2014 at 01:00 PM
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 Post [9]


I understand. In your opinion, the Persian's a reliable source. Christine's not. Instead, as you put it, she's a minute detail.

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Frankly, I'm going to trust the narrator where it is sensible to do so....
Where it is sensible to do so? That's interesting in view of your recent posts.

I've been giving this subject a little more thought and wanted to add a bit to it. Let's say someone else joined this discussion and said they didn't believe Erik had a mother. Let's say they used the argument that he told Christine he had no name and no country. Can you really argue that they're wrong or nitpicking and your argument is more logical? Based on what?
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Name: Anne | Gender: Female | Posts: 66 | Roses: 10
Old 12-21-2014 at 02:09 AM
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 Post [10]


,I think that Leroux wrote what he wanted us to believe as the narrator (it is his story). He specifically called Christine "gullible", so when she reveals everything to Raoul, we can assume that this is what Erik told her. It is my belief that Erik told Christine the things that hurt him the most. If he was truly terribly by nature, then what reason do we have to pity him? To me, there is no reason to the story if we cannot pity him. That would completely ruin the beauty of the ending. But that's just me and my two cents, you all probably have different opinions. Carry on :)
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