The Stand Chapter 6

Updates will now be sporadic. School has started.

We are back to Fran’s perspective, now. Fran, if you recall from a few weeks ago, had a fight with her boyfriend Jesse when she told him she was pregnant. She is now about to break the news to her father.

Interestingly, the miniseries doesn’t bring the pregnancy up at this time. The miniseries also doesn’t show her breakup with Jesse. My friend D says that Fran is pregnant in the miniseries, and I am interested to see how it comes up later. Will she not know for sure who the baby’s father is? That would definitely ramp up the tension a bit.

The other thing the mini series changes is that Fran’s mother is gone. I’m not entirely sure if she left or if she’s dead, but either way, the confrontation with Fran’s mother (that I am told is coming) is left out of both the mini series and the edited edition.

In any case, Fran’s dad is in the garden, weeding the peas. We get some background about Fran’s dad, who is about 64. Well, at least that’s a nice, long life. Peter Goldsmith talks while Fran nods.

I had to pull out the edited edition to double check, but a lot of the conversation between Fran and her father has been cut. Also a lot of background information about her father didn’t make it into the original. I think this is because, as Fran’s dad ultimately doesn’t survive, it’s not really necessary to give him so much backstory.

She loved it when her dad talked this way. It wasn’t a way he talked often, because the woman that was his wife and her mother would all but cut the tongue out of his head with the acid which could flow so quickly and freely from her own.

This paragraph is also not present in the edited edition.

There’s some talk about how hard work is necessary, and that Fran’s mother is a bit upset that

Changes had come for women, whether the women always liked them or not, and it was hard for Carla to get it through her head that Fran wasn’t down there at UNH husband-hunting.

All of which is left out of the edited edition.

In the edited edition, Fran and Mr. Goldsmith don’t really talk much until Fran reveals she’s pregnant.

Oh my god, they cut out a lot. Especially about Fran’s mother, who sounds like a real wet blanket.

Peter Goldsmith’s voice switched from topic to topic, mellow and soothing…she was lulled by it, as she always had been. She had come here to tell him something, but since earliest childhood she had often come to tell and stayed to listen.

Finally, Mr. Goldsmith asks his daughter what’s up. She tells him she’s pregnant.

Peter asks if this is a joke or a game, and if she’s really sure she’s pregnant. Fran begins to cry, and asks her father if he still likes her. He is puzzled by the question because of course he still likes his own daughter.

In the miniseries, the conversation they have in the garden is about her breakup with Jesse, and there’s no tears involved. If Fran is at all pregnant in the TV series, she does not mention it at this time.

Peter admits he’s not sure how to react, and asks if the baby is “that Jess’s.” Upon being informed that it is, and that Jess said he would either marry her or pay for an abortion, Fran’s father doesn’t seem too pleased.

“Marriage or abortion….he’s a regular 2 gun Sam.”

At least Fran’s father seems to believe that there are more than 2 options here.

Fran looked down at her hands…there was dirt in the small creases of her knuckles and dirt under the nails. A lady’s hands proclaim her habits, the mental mother spoke up. A pregnant daughter. I’ll have to resign my membership in the church. A lady’s hands–

Fuck the church, then, if they’re not going to be supportive.

In the introduction to this extended edition, King mentioned something about a confrontation with Fran’s mother. I think all this is setting up for that scene. Some of the stuff in this section about Fran’s mother is kept in, but some of it is not. I think it would’ve made sense to take out more of the bits about her mother if he also took out a confrontation.

Fran tells her father she was on birth control when it happened. Fran’s dad tells her he won’t blame her, then. Or either one of them.

“64 has a way of forgetting what 21 was like. So we won’t talk about blame.”

I like this.

“Your mother will have plenty to say about blame,” he said, “and I won’t stop her, but I won’t be with her. Do you understand that?”

Fran understands this better than I do. I happen to think someone has to protect their kid from the unreasonable parent.

Her father never tried to oppose her mother anymore. Not out loud. There was that acid tongue of hers. When she was opposed, it sometimes got out of control. And when it was out of control, she just might take up a notion to cut anyone with it and think of sorry too late to do the wounded much good.

This is also in both editions.

Peter asks Fran if shes’ going to marry Jesse. Fran says no, that they broke up, but not because of the baby. She’s struggling to figure out why they broke up. She keeps thinking of the saying, “marry in haste, repent at leisure.” And I agree. I think that if Fran is having hesitations or doubts, getting married would be a terrible idea.The fact that she can’t figure out why she’s having these hesitations or doubts is entirely beside the point. Sometimes our subconscious figures this shit out before our conscious mind does.

Fortunately, Fran’s father is able to help her verbalize a little better. He asks if Fran really trusts Jesse, and Fran realizes that no, she doesn’t trust him.

Fran then tells her father a story that was absolutely left out of the original edition. She and Jesse went to a poetry reading and she got the giggles and had to leave. Jesse, we are told, was mad.

I’m with Jesse on this one. I’d probably be pissed as well. In any case, Fran realizes that she and Jesse just aren’t compatible with each other and wouldn’t be happy together.

“What do you think of me getting an abortion?” Fran asked after a while.”

Peter Goldsmith tells Fran about how he felt watching his son, Freddie, dying in the hospital after a drunk driver caused an accident. He says that all he can think of when he thinks of abortion is poor little 7 day old 13 year old Freddie.

Then Peter Goldsmith says what he actually thinks about abortion:

Here is the way the line appears in the original edition:

“I think abortion’s too clean a name for it,” Peter Goldsmith said. “I told you I was an old man.”

Here’s the way this appears in the unedited version.

“I think abortion’s too clean a name for it,” Peter Goldsmith said….”I think it’s infanticide, pure and simple.”

We can speculate about why this was left out of the 1970s edition. I have been told that, back then, Christians were less pro-forced birth than they are now. This book may not be “Christian,” nevertheless, I have a very hard time believing that Christians aren’t the target audience of this book. I’m going to hazard a guess that King didn’t want to piss them off, so in the edited edition, which came out in 1978, he smoothed over the abortion discussion. By the time he was able to put a lot of the edited stuff back in in the early 1990s, the majority of Christians were very anti-abortion, so it made sense to have Fran’s father tell her that abortion is totally the same as killing an actual infant.

Which, by the way, it’s totally not. There’s a world of difference between aborting a potential baby and killing an actual baby.

But Freddie wasn’t a baby when he died, so I’m a tad confused as to how they’re linked together in Mr. Goldsmith’s mind.

It was almost understandable when I thought Freddie was a small infant, but a teenager? Abortion is infanticide because you can’t separate the death of your 13 year old teenager from that of a clump of cells? I’m really not seeing the comparison here.

In the edited edition, Fran’s father comes off as almost too perfect. In this unabridged edition, he comes off as….well, a well rounded character who is a flawed human being and in my opinion quite a bit less likeable.

Fran’s dad then says, “Life is cheap. Abortion makes it cheaper.” This is included in both editions, and if King was going to include this then I’m not really sure why he edited the above sentence.

I think I’ve given up trying to figure this out. Someone else can start speculating.

In order to talk about abortion, I kind of skipped over some stuff about Fran’s mother. Apparently she used to be just like Fran, going to baseball games, drinking beer….and then Freddie died. After that, we are told, her views on things became set in stone. As Peter Goldsmith put it, “she stopped growing.” She became rigid in her mindset and stopped evaluating her world view whenever she got new information.

“Your mother has been using the old yardstick all her life, and she can’t change now….Fran, she’s too old to change, but you are getting old enough to understand that.”

That’s what we’re told, but I’m not 100% sure that that’s what we’re shown. In this chapter, sure, it fits, but in a few chapters Fran will have a confrontation with her mother, before which we will be shown flashbacks of Mrs. Fran’s mom, and in my opinion what we are shown of her kind of goes beyond “too old to change.” But we’ll get there when we get there.

Fran tells her father that she has her own reasons for not wanting an abortion. The baby is part of her.

Ok. There it is. Frannie doesn’t want an abortion, she shouldn’t get one. Problem solved.

Peter Goldsmith asks Fran what she does want to do, and Fran responds that she wants to keep the child.

Peter Goldsmith doesn’t respond to this, and Fran asks if he is thinking about her education. Peter tells her he wasn’t, but this comes across as not quite the truth. Of course he is thinking about her education. Of course he is thinking about how best to support his daughter.

Mr. Goldsmith tells Fran she doesn’t need to make a decision about the baby just yet, and then Fran’s mom pulls up.

“I have to tell her,” Frannie said.

“Yes. But give it a day or 2, Frannie.”

Sure. Let’s wait 2 whole days to tell your mother and see if she doesn’t get mad that you waited so long to tell her. Be sure to inform your mother that you told your father first and then waited a few days, that’ll totally not piss her right the fuck off.

The chapter ends there, and I think this chapter was actually stronger in the edited edition. Part of this is because Peter Goldsmith did a lot less talking before Frannie broke the news that she was pregnant. In this edition, Peter goes on and on about a lot of stuff before Fran springs the news. That was a good thing to have cut, because it contributed nothing to the overall plot, and only developed the character of a man who dies pretty early on. It was completely and utterly pointless, the novel was stronger without it.

And, in my opinion, it was stronger without the ridiculously strong “abortion is infanticide” comparison.

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2 thoughts on “The Stand Chapter 6

  1. I read the edited version initially and I remember liking this chapter. I liked the interaction between Frannie and her father. And it is important later, I think.

    I also had a talk with one of my daughters about the idea that being pregnant is not a reason to get married. Asked her to postpone it and, thank the goddess, she did. I do not think that anyone involved regrets that that marriage did not occur.

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