Just to be clear, I was not using the word "retard" in a derogatory way. I was using it in it's literal meaning. I find it offensive that someone would throw an accusation at me, especially this particular one, in a public review without giving me a chance to explain why I did something. I appreciate all of my readers, but if you have a problem with something, please come to me directly and I will be more than happy to clear things up in a private message. My sister is mentally handicapped and has been called that and I don't like the word used in the derogatory way. I've been known to beat people up for calling her that word.
The word "retard" by definition is "to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment". Elena is slowing her emotional progress by preventing the advances of those around her. I feel like the general populace forgets that words have actual definitions and can actually be applied to things in an appropriate manner. I've noticed that the tendency is to attach the negative to a word such as "retard" or the N word (which I shall not say because I hate it even more than the former) and this is why the English language seems to be on a steady downfall. Words are power, people. I use my words to express myself and get stories across, whether that be in fanfiction or poetry. And the dictionary is my friend. I use it and a thesaurus quite often.
Watch The Dead Poet's Society. Wonderful movie and full of wonderful lessons about language and how to use it.
I'll climb down off my soap box now.