In the first half of the fourth chapter of A Wizard of Mars, Nita is given an ultimatum from her father. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.Â
Oh, Dairine. Itâ€™s easy to understand why sheâ€™s behaving as she is, but the first half of this chapter forces the reader to think about what recent events have meant to someone else: Mr. Callahan. Itâ€™s an interesting move on Duaneâ€™s part, and itâ€™s one I respect. Young adult fiction doesnâ€™t often successfully pull off the whole, â€œBut what about the parents?â€ thing, but it feels compelling here. Why?
Well, itâ€™s a means to an end. After Nitaâ€™s father reveals how much Dairine has been skipping school and disobeying very basic rules, he requests more responsibility of his eldest daughter. It does seem unfair, especially since Dairine is the one misbehaving, not Nita. Yet thereâ€™s a major reason why all of this is happening: death. Grief. Absence. Nitaâ€™s motherâ€™s death still hangs over everyone, and this sequence is no exception. Harry has had to deal with the loss of his wife, but he also lost a means to be a parent to Nita and especially Dairine. He was always closer to Nita, and given whatâ€™s happened with her, he has even less of a chance of reaching her than before. In another context, it might be strange to ask your own daughter to do what he asks for her. Thatâ€™s not to say that Nita shouldnâ€™t feel like this is unfair, because it is. But I understood the general idea behind it. Harry is tired. He needs a break! And he knows that Nita is responsible and can be depended on, so for the time being, itâ€™s the only way he can find some peace.
So yeah, itâ€™s unfair. I donâ€™t argue that. I did love that Nita thought about this new predicament in a creative way, though:
So treat it like a challenge from the Powersâ€¦ because maybe it is. Figure out what to do, and maybe the rest of the summer wonâ€™t turn into a horror story. Nita let out a breath. Think of Dairine as just another intervention, one more problem to be solved.
As far as we know, this is exactly why this is happening! At the same time, itâ€™s an interesting way to look at the problem because it allows Nita to detach from it a bit. Thatâ€™s probably going to be necessary because of how emotionally volatile this situation is for Dairine. Iâ€™m guessing that Dairine finally looked up the Wellakhit directory and discovered the same thing Nita did in this chapter: that Roshaunâ€™s entry shows no physical status for him. No death, no life, no anything. It is both the worst and best answer for Dairine. Terrible because it is shrouded in the unknown. The blank space implies a vacancy and an absence, and in the end, Roshaun is still missing.
But that blank space also means he isnâ€™t dead yet. The unknown might be anxiety-inducing, and Iâ€™m sure weâ€™re going to see just how upset Dairine is in the second half of this chapter. However, itâ€™s a huge key to her behavior. Why would she focus on such trivial things as school or chores when she could be focusing on finding Roshaun?
I think thatâ€™s what Nita is going to find. As for the whole sun thingâ€¦ maybe Dairine is learning to use the â€œnewâ€ powers she has??? I DONâ€™T KNOW.
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