Visions and Dreams

The relationship between siblings is among the most complex of human relationships, affected by the similarities inherent in shared genes and family environment, but also by differences in siblings’ make-up, and in their responses to their upbringing. Parents and others may consciously or unconsciously treat the children differently, or perhaps children perceive their treatment as different, even unfair. As children grow into adulthood, separation, other loves, and their own experience of parenthood colour their interactions.

Paula and Joanna are sisters, close in age, only children in a devout Catholic family. Paula, the younger, is the pretty one, everybody’s pet, conditioned to please. She idolises her elder sister, whose bitter perception that she is not the favoured one drives her to a life of achievement of which Paula is permanently in awe. Joanna helped her younger sister through childhood crises, so the adult Paula finds a way to pay back the debt she feels by acting as a surrogate mother for the infertile Joanna. But she underestimates the power of mother love.

The hypertext explores, via a series of linked stories and other hypermedia elements, the themes of motherhood, genetics, injustice and spirituality.

Each element, complete in itself, forms a fragment of Paula's story, directly or indirectly relating to it via one of the four themes. Whatever the route chosen through the hypertext, the reader will build up a revealing picture of Paula’s journey through life and her relationship with her sister. Some stories present alternate visions of the characters' lives, so each route taken may give a slightly different impression.

Comments are welcome on all stories mentioned below, especially recent first drafts

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Last amended on 10th September 1998 / copyright H. M. Whitehead