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Literature / Seeds of Yesterday

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The final, haunting novel in the extraordinary story that has enthralled millions!note 

Seeds of Yesterday is the fourth book in the Dollanganger Saga by V. C. Andrews. Originally published in 1984, the book is set 20 Minutes into the Future and follows the continuing story of Cathy Dollanganger Foxworth Sheffield, her husband/brother Chris, and her children. Like the rest of the books in the series, a Lifetime Movie of the Week will adapt the novel for the small screen.

Cathy and Chris, now in their mid-fifties, move into the newly rebuilt Foxworth Hall with their adult sons Jory and Bart and their teenage daughter Cindy. The house brings back painful memories for Cathy and Chris, who vow only to stay until Bart's birthday, after which they will spend the rest of their lives in Hawaii. But after a tragic accident, they find themselves staying on and on as jealousy and greed threaten to tear the family apart. It seems that Foxworth Hall is bent on snaring them in its sinister web until they are again trapped in its walls, just as they were as children, until Cathy realizes that the only way to end the cycle is by healing her children's hearts and bringing love and light into Foxworth Hall again.


Seeds of Yesterday contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Melodie is a brunette in the TV movie, while Jory is blond (it was the other way around in the book).
  • Adapted Out: Joel, of all people, who was a major antagonist in the novel, essentially what Malcolm strives to be, and who had considerable poisonous influence over Bart, is completely absent from the movie.
  • Alliterative Family: Jory continues the tradition by naming his twins Dierdre and Darren.
  • Answer Cut: Cathy assures Bart that the right woman for him is out there somewhere. The next shot is of Cindy arriving at the house.
  • Babies Ever After: At the end of the novel, Toni and Jory are married and Toni is pregnant.
  • Back from the Dead: Joel. He was thought to have died in a skiing accident, but has been living in an Italian monastery. However...
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  • The Beautiful Elite: The whole clan is stunningly beautiful (even Bart grew out of his childhood awkwardness). The trope is, of course, played with, because of the decadence and dysfunction within the family.
  • Betty and Veronica: Jory and Bart to Melodie and later Toni.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: Blonde, blue-eyed Melodie looks like the "Betty", but she physically and emotionally abandons Jory after his accident and cheats on him with Bart before finally leaving him and their children for good. Brunette Toni looks like the "Veronica", but she falls in love with and marries Jory despite his paralysis.
  • Big Brother Bully: Bart to Cindy. He's constantly verbally abusive to her and physically abusive on several occasions.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Bart displays a strange version of this towards Cindy in the movie—after beating up her boyfriend, he sincerely tells her that "he wasn't good enough for you" and tries to advise her against sleeping around. Later, he follows her when she sneaks out to a bar, both out of jealousy and to make sure she's safe.
  • Big Brother Worship: Averted with Bart and Jory, the former heavily resenting the latter for being more favored by their mother. Cindy did look up to Bart a lot when she was young but he refused to accept her for a long, long time and she also ends up resenting him.
  • Big Fancy House: The family moves into a replica of Foxworth Hall, which burned down at the end of Petals on the Wind.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Toni and Jory are married and expecting and Jory is embarking on a new career as a painter. Bart has found his niche as a preacher and he and Cindy have reconciled. But he has yet to find true love and probably never will because of his expectations, and Cathy dies unwilling to go on without Chris, feeling that it's time to go and that she isn't needed anymore.
  • Book-Ends: The series began and ended with Chris and Cathy coming to Foxworth Hall. At the end of the book, when Cathy realizes that her time has come, she goes to the attic. The epilogue reveals that she's been decorating it with paper flowers, as she did when imprisoned as a child.
    • The family also has to come to Foxworth Hall due to Chris Sr.'s death in a car accident. At the end of this book, Chris Jr. is the one killed in the same manner as the family is preparing to leave for good.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Jory is paralyzed from the waist down after a stage prop which may have been sabotaged collapses.
  • Covers Always Lie: If you saw the cover, you'd probably think that the blonde woman in the 'keyhole' image (presumably Melodie) was the main character. Cathy, the actual narrator of the book, appears in the stepback as the old woman.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Bart towards Cindy in the movie—his reaction upon catching her and her boyfriend together is far more that of a lover than brother. Later, he follows her when she sneaks out to a local bar and can be seen glaring at the guy she's cavorting with.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: Joel, who may or may not be Corinne's brother, is always whispering in Bart's ear.
  • Dead Guy Junior: At the end of the book, Jory tells Cathy that he and Toni are planning to name their not-yet born baby after the late Chris or after Cathy (who dies before the baby is even born anyway).
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Within the narrative Joel was supposed to have died in the skiing accident. The Joel we meet in this book does seem to have some knowledge but at the same time it is implied that either being in a monastery has changed him more or perhaps he is not who he claims to be.
  • Death by Despair: Apparently the reason for Cathy's death at the end of the novel after Chris is killed in a car accident.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Melody goes from a loving, devoted wife to Jory to detached and adulterous following his accident.
    • Bart abruptly goes from a wonderful boyfriend to Toni to verbally abusive and cruel.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Bart botches a tennis play upon catching sight of Cindy in her minidress, though its completely unintentional on her part.
  • Dirty Coward: It's implied Bart had sabotaged the ballet performance that left Jory paralyzed. Though it was more than likely Joel who wet the sandbag that hit Jory.
  • Doppelgänger: The name Cathy uses for the twins.
  • Evil Old Folks: Joel, in spades.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Jory has grown up to be a ballet dancer like his mother and his late father. Also like his father Jory is paralyzed in an accident, ending his dance career. He also marries a blonde woman who has blonde twins, who then leaves her kids behind and moves away.
    • Chris is killed in a sudden car accident, exactly like his father.
    • Bart's complicated love/hate issues with his mother echo that of his grandfather Malcolm and his uncle Chris.
    • Cindy takes pages on sexuality from her adopted mother Cathy. Her mother describes her as eager for love, but not mature enough to avoid decisions that will come back to bite her.
    • Even Foxworth Hall gets this, being a replica of the house that burned down at the end of Petals on the Wind.
    • In the movie, Bart and Cindy's incestuous relationship echoes that of their parents—there's even a moment following a confrontation with Cindy when Bart angrily tells Chris, "I am nothing like you!", indicating that he's determined to resist his attraction to his sister. (a slight improvement in that she's his adopted sister rather than biological).
  • Good Bad Girl: Cindy enjoys sex, has had multiple partners, and likes to wear clothes that show off her figure, but her attitude toward her own sexuality is much healthier than that of most of her family members (if only because she isn't sleeping with any of them). Ironically, Cindy is also adopted, and is thus the only person in the family who could sleep with a family member and still not technically commit incest.
  • Heel Realization: Bart at Chris' funeral.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Toni
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Bart and Chris refuse to believe anything negative Cathy tells them about Joel, Bart in particular essentially believing that he's a saint providing him with spiritual guidance, when he's in fact making him worse.
  • Hypocrite: Cathy and Chris have engaged in Brother–Sister Incest for years, yet are disgusted and angry with Bart and Melodie for their affair—Bart calls her out on this, telling her, "What I do with Melodie is far less sinful than what you do with Chris"—and with Cindy for her promiscuity. Meanwhile Bart cavorts with his brother's wife, other married women, and prostitutes, yet also condemns Cindy for sleeping around, to the point of nearly-constant verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. The most glaring example being when he beats up her boyfriend after catching them having sex, declaring "No sinning under my roof!", and Cathy coldly refuses to forgive her, conveniently forgetting that they're regularly committing the sins of adultery and incest, respectively. Cathy also tries to discourage Bart's idolization of the father he never knew, reminding him, "He wasn't faithful to his wife", somehow overlooking that she was the woman with whom he was unfaithful (and that she did so with the full intent of destroying Bart's marriage).
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Bart and Joel's condemnation of Cathy and Chris' incestuous relationship.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Bart (seemingly) arranged Jory's career-ending accident, had an affair with Jory's wife, abused and slut-shamed his adopted sister, considers most women whores (including his own mother), and tried to destroy his brother's small children by instilling in them his own sick religious fanaticism. (In the movie the latter is replaced with trying to drown his kids and threatened to kill his own mother). With no other choice left, everyone decides to do the one thing he's most afraid of: abandon him. Only Chris' accident prevents them from carrying out their plan.
  • Longing Look: Cathy is worried to notice Bart repeatedly doing this to Melodie. Later, she observes her son Jory doing this to the hired nurse Toni.
  • Loving Bully: Bart to Cindy in the movie, as it appears that a huge part of why he's always so antagonistic towards her is because he's struggling with his improper attraction to her. Right down to him throwing her out of his room after they finally have sex, no doubt because he's ashamed of what they've done.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: Bart's attitude towards women, though it's mostly as the latter category. On the rare occasions that he does view a woman as a "Madonna", she inevitably says or does something that makes him view her as a "whore". Case in point, he adores Melodie, but condemns her after they begin their affair, now viewing her as a tramp because of her infidelity.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Done in the film adaptation of Seeds of Yesterday in which Bart and Cindy fall in love and eventually marry (which didn't happen in the book.) Cindy justifies the relationship by saying that, unlike Chris and Cathy, at least she and Bart aren't blood-related.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Bart basically stalks Cindy when she sneaks out to a local bar, frightens her when he confronts her in the woods, and forcefully picks her up to take her home, then throws her on the ground and begins kissing her, all while she's screaming "No" and struggling. But she responds to his kiss and the next scene after the commercial break is of her sitting on his bed in her underwear, eager for Round Two.
  • Not So Different: Joel at one point tells Cathy that there are times she reminds him of his mother, the dreaded "Grandmother" of the first book. Cathy is floored at the idea that she "could be anything like that hard old woman."
  • Oedipus Complex: Cathy realizes that Bart will never find the "perfect" woman that he's looking for, because he's really looking for a replica of her. Even worse, at the same time, Bart also projects all his resentments of Cathy onto other women, destroying his chances for love.
    • Reversed with Cathy and Jory after his accident and Melodie' s desertion. While there's no sexual attraction or desire, Cathy does acknowledge that she's replaced his wife as his caretaker and as a surrogate mother to his children. Melodie even lashes out at her about this, "With a mother like you, Jory doesn't even need a wife."
  • Older Than They Look: Joel notes that Cathy looks much younger than her 50-something years. Joel being Joel, he suggests it's due to some pact with the devil.
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Boy, do they ever. Cathy more or less walks in on Bart and Melodie—she sees her walking out of Bart's room wearing a negligee, making it pretty obvious what's happened, and Chris admits to having seen the two making out. It's even more explicit in the movie, when she outright walks in on them having sex. Later, Cathy and Bart walk in on Cindy and one of her boyfriends going at it.
  • The Peeping Tom: Bart's room overlooks the pool, giving him the perfect locale to watch Cindy while she swims and suns herself. She's aware of this and tauntingly waves to him.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Bart and Cindy go from a brutally antagonistic relationship in the book to struggling with both an attraction and simultaneous mutual hatred in the movie. Right down to him throwing her out after they finally sleep together. The film concludes with him declaring "We were meant for each other" and them marrying.
  • Religious Stereotype: Bart Winslow, Joel Foxworth. The former eventually breaks out of the latter's dark influence and becomes a preacher.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Bart eventually realizes that Melodie would never have given him a second look had Jory not been paralyzed, meaning he was only this to her. Jory fears he's this to Toni in regards to Bart, but she assures him otherwise.
  • Retargeted Lust: In the movie, Bart beds Melody shortly after Cindy catches him spying on her while she's at the pool. Later, he visits a brothel and selects a prostitute who resembles Cindy. Even creepier, he takes her from behind, possibly to enable him to continue imagining that it's Cindy he's having sex with.
  • RevengeSVP: Inverted. Bart gets back at those who supposedly snubbed him by not attending his Christmas party—after responding that they would—by destroying them professionally/financially and/or personally.
  • Settle for Sibling: Bart also realizes this about his relationship with Melodie. Later, he accuses Toni of this when she reveals that she and Jory are engaged, but she sets him straight and tells him that if anything, she's trading up.
  • Show Within a Show: Jory dances in a version of Samson and Delilah.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Cathy is going off on Bart yet again about his affair with Melodie when he angrily informs her, "What I do with her is far less sinful than what you do with Chris." Cathy winces, but admits that he's right.
  • Sibling Rivalry: When Cathy notices the lustful way Bart is eyeing Melodie. "When had Bart ever not wanted what belonged to Jory?"
  • Slut-Shaming:
    • Basically everyone towards poor Cindy, to varying degrees. The irony is, for all her promiscuity, she's neither related to, cheating on, or cheating with any of the boys she sleeps with—unlike those condemning her.
    • Bart to Toni. After several months of bliss and serious discussion of marriage, suddenly he's calling her dress trashy and blasting her for dancing with another man, when only moments earlier, he was complimenting how pretty she looked and had given her permission to dance with someone else.
  • Spoiled Brat: Cindy can come off as entitled and petty. Considering how she was heavily spoiled by Cathy, Chris, and Jory, it's not a surprise. She grows out of it eventually and even forgives Bart for his mistreatment of her.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Joel to John from the previous novel. An evil, creepy old man who basically brainwashes Bart into his way of thinking, namely that Sex Is Evil and takes a sick, self-righteous pleasure in others misfortunes and misery. Case in point, he preaches that God punished Jory for "glorifying his body" (being a ballet dancer) by paralyzing him and making his wife leave him.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Darren and Deirdre Marquet.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Joel to Bart. Cindy mentions that one evening, she, Bart, and his girlfriend Toni were having a lovely evening out until an old man who resembled Joel appeared and Bart instantly became cruel and nasty to both of them. When she leaves Foxworth Hall for good, she blasts Joel and outright tells him that she hates him for what he's done to Bart—"He could have been normal without you!"—and tells Cathy that she's genuinely afraid of the two of them when they're together, yet still sincerely believes that Bart might be okay if he can be separated from Joel.
  • The Unfavorite: Bart has still never escaped this, constantly being upstaged by his brother and adopted sister. Even his nephew and niece are favored over him.
  • The Un-Reveal: In the book, Jory confides in Cathy that someone is playing nasty pranks on him—needles in his shoes or on his seat, salt in his sugar bowl, etc. It's heavily implied that it's either Bart or Joel, but it's never established who, much like we never learn who's responsible for Jory's injury.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Jory and Melodie's twins, the day after Christmas, no less.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: Cathy constantly slips up and calls the twins Cory and Carrie, much to everyone's irritation.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Melodie begins an affair with Bart after Jory's accident.
    • Rumors abound about Bart cavorting with other married women, specifically, the wives of the men who supposedly snubbed him by not attending his Christmas party.

Example of: