The Portable Veblen By Elizabeth Mckenzie

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The book The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie is a novel that shows how bad parenting can cause future problems in both the child and in the family’s next generations. This issue is shown through the story of Veblen and Paul, a young couple that struggle with their family relationships. This same idea has been explored by other writers as well, one of them being Alice Miller. In her book The Drama of the Gifted Child she describes how children that went through an abusive childhood deal with the trauma throughout their adult life. Alice Miller’s insights apply not only to Veblen, but also to Melanie and Paul, all in different ways. However, different from what Miller argues, I do not believe there is a single formula for recovering…show more content…
They are continuing to fear and avoid dangers that, although once real, have not been real for a long time” (2). Veblen wasn’t able to realize she is not facing the situations she faced as a child, and in her early thirties, is still completely repressing her emotions. As in the situation aforementioned, for example, where the mother interrupts Veblen’s moment to talk about herself and the narrator shifts the subject immediately, as if it did not affect Veblen at all. The abusive situations Veblen goes through, however, are not only due to the bad parenting from Melanie, but due to problems Melanie had with her own mother, which created the disturbing relationship presented in The Portable Veblen. This claim can be explained through Alice Miller’s insights: “Parents who did not experience this climate as a children [...] will continue to look for what their own parents could not give them [...] [and] the most efficacious objects for substitute gratification is their own children” (7). The “climate” cited by the author is making reference to a situation where the child would be in an environment where they could express their feelings. The author is then arguing that when this feeling of acceptance and love is inexistent, the child end up never achieving individuation and independency. The consequence to the situation aforementioned is that

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