Created He Them, Alice Eleanor Jones

January 9, 2010 scitina

  The short science fiction narrative Created He Them written by Alice Eleanor Jones tells a distressed housewives point of view describing her life after a nuclear holocaust. Ann Crothers, the housewife, depicts her less than ideal living situation. She lives with her ungrateful and spiteful husband and reveals that once her children reach a certain age, they will be taken away from her. Throughout the story her husband maintains a different point of view of their lives together which reveals the different strains the society weighs on any parents during this time.

From the beginning of the narrative Ann Crothers carefully completes her daily tasks in order not to upset her husband. “She had already poured his coffee; he liked it cooled to a certain degree; but if he did not get up soon it would be too cool and the bacon to crisp and he would be angry and sulk the rest of the day. She had better call him.” (67) She prepared his breakfast conscious of every detail. She even reveals she must put the children in the basement and keep them quiet so any noise they make would not make her husband angry.

Ann Crothers is nervous and thorough to prefect things for her husband, however throughout the day she wishes he would die and repeatedly says she would kill him. She does however care deeply for her children. She takes them outdoors and wheels them down the street when the other women in the neighborhood begin to admire the children. This event connects the women in the society with Ann Crothers and their love for their children. The strangers in the neighborhood show admiration for the children yet their father does not acknowledge them once.

Henry Crothers, the husband, is demanding and critical of his wife. He sees her efforts as lazy and unworthy of his praise. However, telling the narrative in his point of view the reader would be exposed to a male’s coping process with his children being taken from him. In result of nuclear attacks children could be born with mutations or be stillborn the majority of the time. Henry and Ann are blessed and burdened with the fact they can still produce healthy children. Ann states, “we are among the tiny percentage of people in this world who can have normal children. We hate each other, but we breed true.” (75) Lisa Yaszek from Ladies’ Home Journal explains that Henry is a petty tyrant who neglects his children because he knows they will be taken away from him. (88) Although Ann wishes Henry would die, they also know their importance in society and their duty to create children like theirs. They must do this to live, and they must live together.

The hardships during this time turn husbands and wives against each other to cope with their situations. The narrative Created He Them, written by Alice Eleanor Jones reveals the society’s issues and public problems deeply impact the lifestyle and issues in the private sphere as well.

*All references taken from Daughters of Earth, Justine Larbalestier.


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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cosmosgirl  |  January 12, 2010 at 1:04 am

    I find it peculiar that in order for Ann to even feed her children, she has to parade them around the neighboorhood like a circus spectacle accepting bribes from her peers in exchange for a few minutes with them, while her own husband neglects the same children to the point that they have to be hidden in the basement while he eats. I too wonder what kind of story would have been told had Henry been narrating. Would Henry still be depicted as the cold-hearted, hateful man that would rather ignore his children than spend time with them while he can? Perhaps, but my guess is that Henry would be portrayed as slightly more sympathetic. Besides, if Henry was narrating, it would be more difficult to view the story through a feminist lens.

  • 2. meatyogreblog  |  January 12, 2010 at 1:15 am

    In this post you mention that this story, if told by Henry, would include insight into a man’s methods of coping with the loss of his children, and that’s something that never occurred to me. Jones does such a good job of creating this heartless monster of a husband that it becomes difficult for the reader to imagine him having any feelings towards his children at all. This appearance of total apathy could very well be a front, and if read this way could humanize Henry’s character rendering him worthy of sympathy. However in doing so it might completely detract from Jones’ intended point.

    I really like this proposal…I kind of want Jones to rewrite it from Henry’s perspective now. Maybe it’d even be more compelling.

  • 3. pandoraraver  |  January 12, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    I wish that the story had delved more into Henry’s life at the Center, and how they treated him there and the other influences in his life that could accord for his behavior. Perhaps there is some sort of brainwashing at the Center that numbs his feelings of compassion for his family life. The Center seems to control every other aspect of life in this society, so influencing the way the men process things mentally and emotionally could be programmed while the men are at work. I agree that Henry comes off as a pompous prick, but perhaps the way he reacts is due to the fact that he is programmed to only think of the Center. Even when Ann tells Henry she might be pregnant again, his first reaction is to invest the money back into the Center. Also, perhaps he treats his wife so negatively because he is programmed to see her as a threat against the order of things created by the Center.

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