An Octopus has Arms, a Squid has Tentacles

“To the family—that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.”
              from Dear Octopus: A Comedy in Three Acts
              Written by Dodie Smith

When I purchased my new computer last summer, I was sure I’d become proficient in Skype and Google Hangouts, confident that my updated technology would invite late-night chats with my two college sons. I knew our phone, email, and text conversations would keep me (somewhat) in the loop of what was important in their lives, but believed online chats would allow me to continue to be the mom who “reads between the lines.” I’d see both the smiles that broadcast success and the furrowed brows that signal disappointment, and I’d know what to say in response.
Midway through first semester, and with only one successful online chat under my belt, however, I remembered Dora, the matriarch of the Randolph family in Dodie Smith’s play, Dear Octopus

Read the rest of my writing prompt at Literary Mama


About the Quote
Charles and Dora Randolph are celebrating their Golden Anniversary and everyone’s coming home for the weekend celebration. The quote, part of the toast Dora’s son gives towards the end of the play, is prefaced with “We grumble with our families, we treat them as a bad joke, we hear on every hand that family ties are slackening – and yet, we pack the trains at Christmas going home … The family isn’t what it was. And there, lies its strength. It’s adaptable. It bends, it stretches — but it never breaks.”

Dear Octopus was first performed in 1938 at Queen’s Theatre in London and ran for 376 performances. Smith then brought the play to New York City where it ran for 53 performances. She is probably best known for her novel, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, which was adapted into a Disney animated film.

Read more about Dear Octopus at Goodreads.

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