TALK FUNNY GIRL

ROLAND MERULLO

Marjorie is a strong character who is tortured at home and at church. You would have to be strong to survive such an upbringing.  At seventeen Marjorie is the only child of  parents who live off their daughter’s earnings and beat her silly for any kind of conduct — good or bad. They do all this in the name of God, whom they worship in a little church where children are routinely inflicted with hideous torments, such as immersion in freezing water, for their real or imaginary sins. The congregation is bound together in an unspoken understanding that not only do the members get to torture their children, they’re encouraged to twist their evil conduct into righteousness. In the church children are seen as the worst sinners.

Marjorie “talks funny,” as does her father and his ancestors. “We talk like the same for everybody,” but she knows that isn’t true. Her family members have withdrawn from civilization so thoroughly and completely that language has begun to leave them. “Most high school kids would have tried to change, I know that,” she says, “would have tried desperately to fit in. But I had a lot of my father in me then, the same woundedness, the same fierce stubbornness. . . . I knew our speech was odd, obviously, but it had been natural to me for so long that, really, I preferred the sound of it to standard American English.” Marjorie and her family members are freaks, half savage, not entirely human.

Her Aunt is her saving grace.  “Whenever I saw Aunt Elaine I had another glimpse of that kind of life,” she says. “During all those years there was a way in which I believed people like that were a different species. There had been an invisible wall that stood between their lives and mine, something impossible to climb over or break through.”

An interesting read. Could have used some editing.

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