Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
How we cite our quotes:
She had said to him everything that she could bring herself to say. They had ganged up on her, in the claustrophobic, loving way of families, and she wanted no more of it. (22.214.171.124)
The idea of families as "claustrophobic" is really interesting. Elphaba often refers to feeling trapped, particularly when she's at Kiamo Ko. But her feelings of entrapment aren't always connected to physical places. This reference to smothering families helps emphasize how Elphaba has difficulty with people, attention, and emotions.
And now I am reduced to company I don't even want, my own squirming thorny little girl.... "Or we might take a walk in the woods today and pick the last of the winter berries." Melena was full of guilt at her lack of motherly feeling. (1.5.12-13)
Melena's roller coaster ride of motherly feeling is fascinating – and pretty realistic. We see this same sort of story repeated with Elphaba and Liir years later. Once again, Melena and Elphaba parallel one another in some very crucial ways.
"So now he sends [the shoes] to his Nessarose to keep her beautiful feet warm and dry and beautiful, and he sends them with his love."
Elphaba drove her fingers through the curlicues of shavings. There was nothing else in the box, nothing for her. (126.96.36.199-4)
The contrast between these two paragraphs is very cool. Morrible is summarizing Frex's letter aloud here, and her tone is pretty sarcastic. The repetition of the word "beautiful" emphasizes Morrible's mocking stance toward Frex and the entire Thropp family. In the next sentences, we break away from Morrible's recitation and get a description of Elphaba's actions. The sentences are short, and the last sentence repeats the word "nothing." Rather than spell out Elphaba's feelings, the diction, details, and sentence structure reveal her disappointment for us.