Battered Women Who Kill
In Roald Dahl’s “The Way Up to Heaven”, Mrs. Foster is an elderly woman who has a pathological fear of being late for any occasion. Whenever she is in danger of missing a train or plane or an engagement, a tiny muscle near her eye begins to twitch. Mr. Foster torments her harshly by making her wait for him, quite unnecessarily, past the hour when they must leave to arrive safely on time. An example of is when Mr. Foster suggests that they drop him off at his club on their way to the airport, knowing this will make Mrs. Foster late for her flight. He even seems to get enjoyment out of it. She has suffered his delaying tactics for years on special occasions and has only recently begun to suspect that he deliberately causes her great suffering. At the end of the story, Mrs. Foster lets Mr. Foster die intentionally, which leads to the topic “Battered Women Who Kill.” The story gets underway as the Fosters plan to leave home for six weeks. Mrs. Foster is flying to Paris to visit her daughter and grandchildren; Mr. Foster will move to the club while she is gone. Mrs. Foster is overcome with increasing anxiety as she counts down the minutes until 9:15 a.m. when they must leave in order for her to arrive at the airport. She fears that if she misses her plane, her husband will change his mind and not let her go at all. She wishes she could simply live in Paris and be with her grandchildren always. By the time Mr. Foster finally appears an joins her at the car, she's too far behind schedule. Luckily, the flight is postponed until the next day due to inclement weather. When she's ready to leave the next day, though, her husband suggests that they drop him off at his club on the way. This frightens Mrs.Foster, since the club is out of the way. It also increases her chances of missing her flight. Knowing this will make her late, she protests in vain. Just before the car leaves to the airport, Mr. Foster runs back into the house to retrieve a gift he...
Cited: Follingstad, D.; DeHart (2000). "Defining psychological abuse of husbands towards
Munro, Kali (2001)
By Wives on Husbands: Implications for Primary Prevention of Marital Violence."
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