I find both of your anticipations applicable, for our characters are complex people who make different choices under various circumstances.
And I'd say our musings are fine in this thread, for this discussion takes a different track than the other. There will always be plenty to say about Catherine, and Vincent, and all the rest.
S wrote:Personally, there’s something more that I love, which is also her peculiar feature. It seems to me that she accepts Vincent completely.
In line with what I said earlier about the connections between Beauty's journey and Beast transformation, I'd augment your insight to propose that Catherine accepts Vincent with her full capability for acceptance at each present moment in the story. Her acceptance grows over time, not because she ever held something back from him or deliberately refused to embrace part of him, but because SHE grows over time and her ability to love and accept and give grows too. That's the whole point of the fable, yes?
S wrote:About Lady Bountiful, I agree. I regret that that beautiful opening of the Suicide Hotline of GBTC is so seldom explored in fanfiction. Rather than giving money, the canon shows that Catherine chooses to give herself, her time and compassion.
I have noticed this lack in fanfiction, and wondered about it. I would also add that Catherine's giving travels a different path than many fanfiction stories show. First, there is in canon a clear dichotomy between Catherine's pre-April-12 giving and post-April-12. She repeatedly credits Vincent and his community with teaching her how to give to others. She was kind and compassionate previously, sure. Our one example in the Pilot shows Catherine listening with care and concern to Eve's troubles at an investor's party. But Catherine was hardly doing volunteer work, using her legal skills outside her father's corporate law offices, or spending personal time assisting the poor. Tom Gunther, for one, would never have gotten involved with such a "liberal" woman in the first place, and Catherine seemed to surprise him when she broke from her expected role at that Pilot party.
Also, Catherine's giving after April 12 always takes the form of "unruly generosity," as you so brilliantly phrased it. She has finite time and energy, so she makes the most of every moment at her disposal. Catherine leaves corporate law for criminal law, working for the city to prosecute lawbreakers. I think it significant that she signs on with the prosecution, siding with victims of crime. That's a complete reorientation of her career and her financial priorities, a tremendous gift to the world at any time, but especially in the world of the 1980s. Beyond her career, her giving is deep and personally invested. She's not someone who dishes up food in soup kitchens or sorts thrift shop donations (although I'm certain she would happily do such important work if the occasion required her to). She does give money to causes (libraries and museums and the like; see "A Children's Story" and "Seige" and "A Happy Life" for examples), but she also shows up to the related social events to enjoy firsthand the environment her donations are supporting. Overall, however, she is drawn most personally to riskier things, more difficult undertakings, than that. Her wealth and prestige give her the power to take more risks. Her personal virtues and experiences give her the motivation.
Catherine mans the phones of a suicide hotline. At Christmas. Heavens, that scene always gives me chills; she's amazing in that conversation, and the one she has with Lena face-to-face. Catherine purchases gifts for people Below with specific recipients in mind, showing that she pays attention to what her recipients specifically need. She works at all hours on her cases for the District Attorney; that's not just a paycheck job to her, it is her primary outlet for giving to others. She applies her formidible intelligence to solving the personal problems other people bring to her, i.e. Lena, Tony Ramos, Michael, Rolley, Brigit O'Donnell, Jacob Wells, etc. She drops everything and rushes to nurse a community infected with plague. Or she drops everything and joins Devin on an unexplained trip to the carnival when he asks for her help. And on and on.
In other words, Catherine's giving is never safe, never simple, never easy, never convenient, and never anonymous. I'd wager even her monetary donations are never conservative. She doesn't fit giving into her schedule like extracurricular activities after school. Giving IS her schedule, her whote new life. I very, very much miss seeing more of Catherine's true style of giving in fanfiction.
Pat wrote: However, if I may anticipate Zara a bit, she may say that her ignoring the rules is an example of her poor risk assessment, although with Lena, it did turn out okay.
I think when Catherine ignores rules, it's more a sign of her ingrained-from-infancy sense of entitlement, fuelling her creative style of problem-solving. Risk assessment is a skill, one that Catherine can learn and expand through experience. Rule-breaking and rule-bending appear to be her habitual method for getting what she wants. Catherine's generosity leads her to want the best outcome for people in need, so anything in her way, including rules, often get shoved aside for the sake of achieving her goals.
S wrote:I'd say that this carefree side of her character may be fascinating for someone, like Vincent, for whom instead a careful risk assessment is vital, although he shares this desire of breaking the rules.
Oh, yes. The power of Catherine's freedom amazes and delights Vincent from the beginning, onward. Yet he keeps more rules than he breaks. And he is always able to justify the breaking of one rule through honoring the imperative of another rule. And he repeatedly admonishes Catherine in Season One to exercise greater caution in her own rulebreaking. We just need to keep in mind that the rules and laws of life Below are not the same as Topside rules and laws. Vincent is a very lawful character. But it's the laws of the underworld that he upholds. His relationship with Catherine increasingly leads him into situations where he becomes poignantly aware that he is breaking many Topsider rules and laws. Perhaps his innately cautious and lawful self is uncomfortable with that knowledge.