To be hoist by your own petard simply means to be hurt by the trap you’ve set for another. This phenomenon is mentioned in the Bible and by Shakespeare (Hamlet), too. King David said it best… and quite succinctly, he made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. (Psalm 7:15 KJV).
Olive and Brandon elope to escape the madness in their respective alcohol-driven homes. They go away to a big city where they land up in a mostly industrialised area. An old couple on whose door they knock, seeking place to sleep, takes them in on trust.
A business tycoon visits them and gives the Field’s an offer for their home that they cannot refuse. The property is perfectly placed for a business the man plans to start there. The Fields will not hear of the Mann’s ‘deserting’ them just because they’re rich.
They buy a peri-urban farm and all live happily there, enjoying farm life after the sights, sounds and smells of the city.
Brandon works with a man, Tinker de Bruin who is in desperate need of accommodation. Brandon agrees to help him on condition Tinker renovates the dilapidated house on his property.
One day the very anti-alcohol Brandon takes a drink and swallows it fast, thinking Tinker had ordered it for him. Tinker is in the men’s room when Brandon walks into the pub and he sees too late when he emerges from there that Brandon had raised the glass to his lips. Thinking it is his usual lemon, lime and mint drink, it is in actual fact just that but “with a twist”; not meant for him.
That night begins a nightmare in the lives of the Mann family, because Brandon becomes an instant alcoholic and it has a grossly negative impact on his personality.
The Mann children very quickly get to experience what the de Bruin children have been living with for as long as they can remember.
“Hoist by their own Petard” is about home-brewed human suffering: emotional, psychological, physical torture.
Consequences are not often anticipated, but the unthinkable does happen.
An episode from one home…
“She ran to the kitchen and grabbed a poker that was lying near the wood and coal stove and brandished it in the air. “Leave my Mama at once or I’ll jab this in your stomach!” She looked so fearsome that Brandon let go of his burden and faced his irate little girl, the apple of his monstrous heart. In that moment the devil that lived in him manifested in his little girl. She was prepared to kill him. He saw it in her eyes.” (Hoist by their own petard brief excerpt)
…and one from the other…
His father dived at him. “Spew out the Bible at me, will you? I’ll show you!” and he grabbed his son by the scruff of his neck and yanked him outside. The family set up a frightened yell and Larry raced to the kitchen. He returned with a rolling pin. He struck his father smartly across the head and the crazed man slowly sank to the ground.
Rita helped Sean to his feet. “He got me unexpectedly,” Sean said.
“And I got him unexpectedly,” gloated the triumphant Larry. “I hope the dog is dead!”
“Larry! That’s your father. Let me see how he is. Ooh…he’s bleeding… he’s bleeding.”
From being Super-Dad and Husband-of-the-century, he becomes a beast of a Mann (couldn’t resist). The Mann children very quickly get to experience what the de Bruin children have been living with for as long as they can remember.
Milly is violated one day when she goes to the pub to take a peek at her dad; just to see him again, the old Dad, laughing and carefree. She misses her father very much, yet she has grown to hate him passionately. She tells no one about the experience but it twists her inside. From the loving, warm person she was, she becomes bitter and develops a violent hatred for men.
“Hoist by their own Petard” is about home-brewed human suffering: emotional, psychological, physical torture; a dearly beloved one’s inhumanity to dependents resulting in cruelties unbearable. Consequences are not often anticipated, but when the unthinkable happens, it becomes a burden not gladly borne… And it is also a story of victory over circumstances not easily borne or shed. As the title suggests, there is a twist in the tale, which sets the captives free. A bitter-sweet end, indeed.
However, restoration for the once-abused ones is sweet. They come into some money by default and put it to good use. The end truly is much better than the beginning. So the LORD blessed (their) latter end … more than (their) beginning. (Job 42:12)