from The Essential Paradise
The trope involves an outwardly-attractive young girl, typically intelligent but naive, pursued by a would-be admirer who becomes reluctant to attempt to befriend, date, possess or defile her after learning that the girl’s moral fortitude, her intellect, or his conscience, makes any further contact improbable or likely to prove fruitless.
The trope is a principal one in the author’s novel Pamela; or Virtue Reclaimed, and is used in the Two Paradises realm as well.
Using America OnLine in the 1990s, the author encountered numerous circumstances in which an older male pursued a younger female, ostensibly for the sport of conversation but most likely with less reputable intentions. The author created the persona of Pamela Nichols with which to interact with others, gaining the insights that only a young woman can have. He later went on to compose the saga of Pamela; or: Virtue Reclaimed, about a too-beautiful, too intelligent and too-virtuous maiden attempting to find a place in a world that values her only for her outward attractiveness, youth and assumed availability.
In the fourth or fifth book of the series, 19-year-old au pair Pamela encounters Ed, a 35-year-old divorcé who regards her as a candidate for a girlfriend, lover, and surrogate mother for his two small children. Over two weeks he follows Pamela about town, watches her at the beach, and frequents the icecream parlour where she works, stealing every opportunity to speak with her. Their conversations-- most of which come directly from actual encounters on AOL-- are fraught with Ed’s wildly inaccurate and unflattering assumptions about her intelligence, her intentions and her virtue, and the chaste Pamela’s adroit avoidance of any of his less-than-respectable offers.
Pamela; or: Virtue Reclaimed was hailed by readers and critics as being an authentic and sympathetic representation of an uncannily credible female character, drawing comparisons to Jane Eyre and to the works of Jane Austen (both named as the character’s favourites in the book).
The trope of the untouchable bait also appears in the author’s Deirdre, the Wanderer series which was initially meant as a foil to the Pamela story.
Examples in Two Paradises Edit
Within the Two Paradises fantasy/fiction realm, the trope is often coapplied with either that of the eager ingenue, that of the unwelcome admirer, or both. The girl’s unavailability is often due to her being from the islands whilst the admirer is from somewhere else (typically America but often Australia), implying the trope of the stranger in paradise as well.
The trope does not require that the girl be under the legal age of consent; in any case the girl’s age is not necessarily a main factor in the man’s eventually giving over interest in her.
Janine, of Paradise, story arc Edit
In ‘No Great Flattery’ Janine Hewlett is harassed by an eager tourist and disembarks the bus early to be rid of him; he follows her till she stops to help a nanny repair a baby's pram and he insists on sharing a taxi with her. Their conversation includes much assuming on the part of the man about her, especially about her age; he even assumes he can convince her to give over her plans to meet Charlie for dinner and to spend the evening with him instead. The trope applies mainly due to the content of their conversation; the trope of the unwelcome admirer may be more applicable because of how Janine tricks him in taking her leave.
Noemi’s Wold, novel Edit
The sequence in which Noemi Chesney encounters the admiring man on the beach may serve as the best example of the trope in Paradise One. Noemi, a committed nudist, is playing in the sand like a much-younger child when 29-year-old Keith spies her from well up the beach. As he nears he realises she is much younger than he expected, but he relies on the Paradisian age of consent (15 years) to buoy his hopes of gaining some familiarity with her.
Noemi regards him only as any other stranger, towards whom she should be polite but properly aloof. In their conversation, Keith takes to only stating feeble assumptions rather than asking questions, a distinction the clever Noemi immediately recognises and easily works to her advantage; and only at length does the man learn her name and about where she lives. She agrees to meet him the next day, when they have a long walk on the beach together, discussing more of what it is like to live as she does (not just habitually naked, but as the heiress-apparent of a large and successful plantation). On the evening of her 13th-birthday party, she descends to the beach, in a dress and knickers, and finds Keith waiting for her in the dark. She narrowly avoids being kissed by him; but he has realised she shall be best off meeting a boy of her own age-- which she subsequently does-- and he someone more of his own age as well.
Though Noemi never admits her age, Keith develops some idea of it, at least as a range, which in any case is too young for him to consider her for any more than a casual friend. Nevertheless he is mesmerised by her, not merely because she is so pretty or so comfortable being entirely nude in his presence, and struggles with the inevitability of having to give over any hope of anything more. However his interest builds Noemi’s confidence as well as his own, and at the end of the subsequent section both have met more appropriate partners; the reader is left to conjecture how Keith’s will finish.
* * *