Coffeerooms BookMark 20 Questions


The House of Gentle Men

Kathy Hepinstall,
author of
The House of Gentle Men

questions provided by Carrie
page 4

You don't see much of the Sheriff. However, what you do learn about him is disturbing. He appears to have no redeeming qualities. He is drawn as a wife beater, arsonist, corrupt law enforcer, and to some degree a Nazi. Why is he so stark and very much a dark presence?

Perhaps the sheriff should have been drawn with a lighter touch. He is a symbol, really, of at least outwardly what is an ideal man. Tall, blond, blue-eyed, a war hero. Because of the setting, there are parallels here to the Aryan belief in the perfect man. Maybe he is so bad because that is what the audience thinks Belinda deserves, at least at first.

The Sheriff's background is delved into very deeply. His past is more substantive than the other men. (i.e. Buchenwald, the girl who turned him in, the burned hand) Why give him a more complete past?

I did some research on Buchenwald and found it fascinating. They really did hold American pilots there for a time. I wanted to give the sheriff some motivation for his actions; some source for anger that explosive. In a way, the Sheriff found in Belinda an outwardly ideal woman, just as she had found in him an outwardly ideal man. But he didn't trust Belinda. He had chased her as a dream, and been disappointed by that dream.

There are many types of love in the story: brotherly love, courtly love, parent's love, courtly love, unrequited love, illicit love, false love, and for lack of a better term, true love. Some types augment forgiveness and redemption and others hatred and destruction. What forces allow certain characters to love and forgive and other characters to love and hate?

I think some people have found that certain forms of love aren't available to them; they perfect other forms of love in response. Perhaps a person rich in brotherly love hasn't found romantic love. Perhaps the opposite is also true. I don't know what makes one person forgive and the next not. I suspect there is a certain amount of grace involved.


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Kathy Hepinstall
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