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My goal is to work in law enforcement out here, and I need a husband to love and cherish until death do we part. And when i looked at you i covered my face laughing. I'm an executive in a Silicon Valley company so I will definitely not stick you with the bill for either.

I help people who are broken inside. I ask questions, and listen carefully to the answers. Years of careful listening have taught me a lot. They make poor choices, and end up in lots of pain.

The movie is actually about a sick, dangerous relationship filled with physical and emotional abuse. It seems glamorous, because the actors are gorgeous, they have expensive cars and private planes, and Beyonce is singing.

The people there just want your money; they have no concern whatsoever about you and your dreams. This is what you need to know about Fifty Shades of Grey: He is confused about love because he never experienced the real thing.

In his mind, love is tangled up with bad feelings like pain and embarrassment. Either way, their lives would most definitely not be a fairy tale. Trust me on this one. A psychologically healthy woman avoids pain.

She wants to feel safe, respected and cared for by a man she can trust. A psychologically healthy man wants a woman who can stand up for herself.

If he is out of line, he wants her to set him straight. Sure, Anastasia had free choice — and she chose poorly. A self-destructive decision is a bad decision. Christian constantly supplies Anastasia with alcohol, impairing her judgement.

Also, Anastasia becomes sexually active with Christian — her first experience ever — soon after meeting him. Sex is a powerful, intense experience — particularly the first time. Finally, Christian manipulates Anastasia into signing a legal agreement prohibiting her from telling anyone that he is a long time abuser. Only in a movie. If Anastasia was fulfilled by helping emotionally disturbed people, she should have become a psychiatrist or social worker.

There are vast differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships, but the movie blurs those differences, so you begin to wonder: For information about booking me to speak at your event, please see my speaking page. Thank you for writing the truth. I am sharing this with everyone I know. I have several friends who were obsessed with reading these books and bought the next one the minute they came out.

They also are awaiting the movie with bated breath. What a great way to expose the lies that Hollywood is trying to perpetuate. Parents need to get their heads out of the sand and begin to re- engage their young people in meaningful discussions about the TRUTH of human sexuality.

Our young people need to be told of their intrinsic value and how precious they are to God and their families. They must be taught that self-respect comes from within, and engaging in a relationship like that of Grey and Anastastia will surely NOT enhance that self-respect.

Keep telling the truth, Dr. Thank you for your comments. I am from chile South America. I hope to have you down there one day to open the eyes to so many Mather that are not informed about what is happening here. Thank you so much for your help! Thank you for doing this! Please send me the letter, so, I can help spread your important warning about this perverse movie. Why else would there be war movies and horror. Where are the denunciations of those shoot-em-up films that are produced in abundance.

If we only showed fairy tale like movies would we be showing young people the truth? Who goes out to carry out half the things we see in a movie? Someone who already has intelligence challenges I presume and at that point it would be like carrying a child to that kind of movie. A movie that perhaps teaches what kind of relationship not to want to get into but they would have learned what to look out for in terms of abusive behaviours and codependency.

If we are worried about one movie what about the news? Talk shows that come on in the day? Do they teach young men and women about healthy relationships any better? Or about being emotionally and intellectually ready for intimacy? Do they teach them any better about how a healthy love relationship looks like and how we should love one another? Not really in my opinion.

I agree with you that we should explore what is good and what is wrong with this world and to explore what bad relationships are like to learn from them. But I do not agree with the parallel in your logic with war and horror movies with 50 shades. However, 50 shades of Grey glorifies the atrocities and it places abuse as acceptable in the created world. As the psychiatrist said above in the article, there are loads of people who do not understand what a working relationship is, I would extend that to say that no-one knows what a real and working relationship is as everyone is flawed.

People gain an understanding of relationships by observation of others. This is why this movie is wrong. There are people who are confused of what a real loving relationship is about, and when they see this movie that glorifies abuse, they then think it is acceptable that these acts are alright in societies eyes.

It is quite possible to have healthy sexual relationships outside of marriage. They can still have safe, meaningful relationships. I have been Married for over 10 years and love my Wife now more then when I knew her at the beginning, I also know that by my 50th year of being married my love for her will also have grown 50 years as well.

Important point, well put, Sandra. I was thinking this as I read it too. This is a very biased view. The acts of a BDSM relationship are safe, consensual and normal. They have a right to do whatever turns them on in the bedroom as long as both partners are completely consenting. It is healthy and builds trust if done correctly. Some of us like being handcuffed. This is what I have been thinking all along. The fact that these books are so popular is pretty disturbing — is this what women really want?

I was thrilled to see this letter!! I wish more of this was disseminated when the book came out. As a former wife of an alcoholic I know that dysfunctional relationships are nothing about love.

We are a culture that now accepts too many dysfunctional behaviors and we need to stop promoting this in movies and fiction. As a writer I was appalled when the book cam out and sent hundreds of otherwise normal women to the hardware store for clothesline.

I hope that more teenagers, boys and girls, will read this and not be taken in by painful and abusive relationships that are advertised as love and romance.

God help the children of parents who grow up thinking these behaviors are okay. I am an adult and realize that the book and movie are works of fiction, the same as any other movie. This is probably the most truthful article about the book series. All who are fans of Fifty Shades of Grey should read this. You may look at the story in a different light. I already know the repercussions of falling in love with the story and trying to make it my own reality.

This book and movie are no Fairy Tale. Please think real hard before you ever give yourself to another human being, because you never know their motives.

Thank you for the article. And yes I was a virgin. I really thought I could change him as well and end up with the Fairy Tale like in the books. I was dead wrong. That I was a victim and he was a creep who tool advantage of my innocence. Because my heart still loves and aches for me him. For their sexual relationship they set boundaries based on both of their comfort levels and only went beyond them when they felt comfortable. Another thing Christian never pumped Anna full of alcohol to take advantage of her.

In fact the scene where she is in the bar and she drunk calls him he comes to help her and pull her supposedly good friend off of her when he was trying to force himself upon her, that very well could have been a rape situation. I completely agree with you I was thinking this the whole time I was reading this article I am glad someone here makes sense. A great piece of advice to young people of today who tend to be less rational and more physically unhibited.

More to you doctor. A woman can be psychologically healthy and have atypical sexual interests.

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What should I do? But, fuck, might as well start with the truth: Do you know why you dismiss the girls you find attractive—girls who are not, by your dick's definition, unattractive in the least—as "ugly, trashy girls," "thick, ugly girls," "fat, ugly, hick girls," etc.? For the same reason, BATL, that you've ruled out the possibility of ever having a relationship with a fat girl: You're a cowardly, hateful piece of shit. That's unkind, of course, just like describing all fat girls as "ugly" or suggesting that women can be intelligent or heavy but never both.

So here's a kindler, gentler take: A long, long time ago you internalized our culture's anti-fat prejudice. We all do, of course, to greater or lesser extents. But when you hit puberty, BATL, your sexual tastes brought you into conflict with those anti-fat prejudices.

At that moment, BATL, you had an obligation to yourself and to your future sex partners to overcome your prejudices. Instead, disgusted by your desires, you projected your disgust and anger onto the women you want to fuck. Terrified of the shame and judgment that would come your way if you had a relationship with a big woman, you convinced yourself that all big women are thick, stupid trash. A big woman might be worth fucking, you concluded, but she could never be worthy of love.

So what do you do now, BATL? Well, you either stay with the skinny woman you married—a woman who will never satisfy you sexually—or you divorce her and find yourself a big girl, a woman who's active and intelligent, a woman you could love madly and wanna fuck, er, badly.

But you know what? That woman deserves better than you. I'm a year-old guy with a kink that my last boyfriend indulged to the limit. We met on a website for guys like us. Nope, it's not poo eating, but the kink is irrelevant to my problem.

I moved across the country after my ex and I split and the hit count on my beloved fetish sites in my new area is a big fat ZERO.

I told him about the fetish and he wants to be GGG, but it's going to take a while to get there. Meanwhile, my dick is not getting hard for this guy. Why can't I get hard for him? Can I get ex-fetishized? Ladies and gentleman, I welcome letters about your problematic fantasies and fetishes—of course—but I do need to know what the fuck they are if I'm gonna help. People send me letters like this one from TBHN all the time; they lay out the problem in detail but delicately omit their kink.

Strangely enough, everyone who does this then assures me that their fetish isn't poop. That's not the first thing I think of when people mention problematic fetishes, but it seems to be the first thing people think I think of. And I'm not sure what to think of that. Okay, fuck it, here's my freak flag: I like fat guys who love to eat. I only go for healthy fat guys yes, shut up , guys with a muscle or two to show off, along with their "table muscle," and who balance their weight with their long-term health.

I'm an ethical encourager, damnit! But, man, give me Frank Bruni on all fours eating gourmet meals from a trough with his ass in the air! My new boyfriend is stocky enough for me and he lets me watch him eat dessert now and then. But he really doesn't want to get on all fours and eat from a trough while I fuck him, like the hot ex did. Historian Catherine Gilbert Murdock adds: In many ways, women advocated for temperance because they had not yet been enfranchised: Yet in fighting for an issue that elicited such passion, an issue that was felt to intimately affect the lives of many women across the country, women were introduced into the public sphere and, once introduced, many were reluctant to let it go.

This, of course, made conceiving of the female drinker, let alone the female alcoholic, a difficult proposition. Literary scholar Nicholas O. The male alcoholic, while often vilified and seen as sinful, could retain his social rank as well as his claim to a normative masculine identity.

The male alcoholic existed in public, in novels, in language. This lack of visibility and representation finds reflection in the cultural vocabulary as well. Many whites saw Prohibition as a vehicle by which they could control the behavior of intemperate blacks—a stereotype greatly strengthened by prohibition advocate D. Cultural historian Lori Rotskoff attributes this to the fact that over the course of U. One continuity from the turn of the century through the s rested in the perception that most heavy drinkers, and hence most alcoholics, were men.

Jellinek assumed the alcoholic to be a man and did not employ data on women alcoholics. Murdock, speaking of the late nineteenth century, confirms this: Unlike the male alcoholic, the female alcoholic received no benefit from her relationship with alcohol; rather, she was rendered abject by it.

When psychiatrists did consider female alcoholics, they applied the same rhetoric of pathology to women as they did to men. As a result they considered woman alcoholics to be especially sick: Prohibition itself had an unintended effect: The figure of the flapper— whether or not she was as ubiquitous as retrospectives about the 20s often suggest—certainly contributed to the codification of alcohol consumption as daringly modern and appealing.

In Great Britain, the temperance movement tells a slightly different story when it comes to alcohol consumption and gender. Victorian conceptions of True Womanhood that construed woman as the passive but virtuous angel of the home were dominant in both Britain and the USA: Female drinkers on both sides of the Atlantic risked the same opprobrium.

Fears of alcohol-induced degeneracy resulted in the passage of the Habitual Inebriates Act, under which drunkards convicted of indictable offenses could be committed to inebriate reformatories for terms as long as three years. Although this provision was theoretically gender blind, in practice, eighty per cent of those committed under it were women charged with child-neglect.

The others were mostly attempted suicides. Violent or neglectful fathers were never prosecuted under the act. This degradation was best articulated—as Hogarth well knew—by the image of the drunk, neglectful mother. The Modernist Drunk Narrative In these historical and discursive contexts, then, it is perhaps unsurprising that the studies of writers and alcohol cited above—with the earliest appearing in the late 70s and the latest in —focus almost exclusively on male subjects; the gendering of alcoholism in both fiction and scholarship evidently persists today.

The mythos of the male modernist writer, then, is discursively bound to alcoholism as a solely masculine mode of being. My question, then, is this: What more do I want? This passage provides a useful point of entry as it foregrounds the female whose drinking functions as a means of knowing the world, of being sane within it. This thesis will argue that Jean Rhys, in Good Morning, Midnight, and Jane Bowles, in her novel Two Serious Ladies, both employ the figure of the drunk woman in order to articulate a female epistemology.

Rhys writes Sasha as consciously and tactically performing her role as drunk woman as a means of resistance and survival. Through this role, Sasha is granted a much desired invisibility even as she becomes exceedingly visible in the form of spectacle.

Moreover, drunkenness affords Sasha a penetrative vision, one that cuts through the superficialities of language and appearances to reveal the hidden, the abject, and the in-between.

While Miss Goering and Mrs. Copperfield each embark on very different quests, they do so thinking of themselves as subjects, as the heroes of their own stories, and remain 24 oblivious to patriarchal structures that would view them as other. Yet the novel is most radical— and arguably, the most drunken—in its depiction of Miss Goering, who plays the typically male role of philosophical adventurer. In a text where nearly all the characters narrate their stories and philosophies, Miss Goering stands apart as one who refuses the narrative impulse, and by doing so, acknowledges the difficulties of both knowing and speaking.

Miss Goering, in contrast, articulates—by effectively refusing to articulate—a means of inhabiting the unknown and ever- changing. By placing two women—with two very distinct ways of operating—at the centre of a novel preoccupied with themes of subjectivity and truth, Bowles makes a claim for female epistemologies, a claim which derives its power not by designating women as the privileged or sole seekers of the truth, but by simply investing them with the capacity to seek it.

The drunken landscape of Two Serious Ladies re-imagines a world in which women are tasked with facing existential questions, with seeking out universal truths. Authors and Texts under Consideration Rhys scholarship has tended to read her work as autobiographical.

More striking, however, is when alcohol asserts itself in more overt ways, as when Rhys offers a rare account of her writing philosophy: It uses you and throws you away when you are not useful any longer. But it does not do this until you are useless and quite useless too. Meanwhile there is nothing to do but plod 26 along line upon line.

Rhys battered her husbands, assaulted her neighbours on several occasions, and frequently gave in to uncontrollable rages, behaviour which perhaps accounts for the relative critical silence regarding this aspect of her life: Her protagonists spend their days, in various European cities, idling in cafes, ordering drinks, and having drinks ordered for them.

However, the biographical is generally employed differently when it comes to Bowles: When the biographical enters into Bowles scholarship, however, it is typically in order to address her legend. There was no drinking early in the day, but the cocktail hour was sacred. By outlining the critical response both literary and biographical to Rhys and Bowles, my goal has been to identify existing gaps in the scholarship, while pointing to areas deserving of further research.

In other words, while exploring the drunk narrative, let us also consider other, non-dominant, incarnations of that narrative, specifically those written by and about women. Modernist scholar Christina Britzolakis echoes this assertion: She wears it to fend off those who, by their glances or words, would reduce her, find her ridiculous, see her as spectacle.

But as Sasha readily acknowledges throughout the novel, she often fails to wear this mask successfully, to ape the part of a contented, bourgeois woman who, if not marked by her beauty and youth, is not entirely lacking in them. This pose, inevitably no more liberating than the last, is nonetheless employed tactically as a mode of survival and affords Sasha a certain measure of invisibility just as it cements her position as spectacle.

To play the respectable woman is to live by certain rules and codes, to inhabit certain places, to stick to a regimented programme. To play the drunken woman is to transgress these rules and yet appear, as passive automaton, to be following them only too well. Her vacation in Paris is enacted in terms very unlike a vacation, with her announcement of a strictly controlled plan to pass the time: I have decided on a place to eat in at midday, a place to eat in at night, a place to have my drink in after dinner.

Even with this plan, Sasha recognizes that her grasp on the character she aspires to play is a fragile one. Still, she persists in trying, as her programme for monotonous but safe living reappears again and again in the novel: A long walk back to the hotel.

Putting these two modes on the same plan or plane ruins the comfortable differentiation according to which the two are diametrically opposed, pleasure on one side and obligation on the other, time that is yours to spend and time that does not belong to you.

The plan is a defence and it is all there is. While she occasionally names them, the restaurants, bars, and cafes Sasha frequents are stripped of their singularity.

Moreover, by refusing to provide a clear-cut reason why Sasha is the way she is, Rhys depicts the modern subject as inextricably implicated in the networks that oppress her. Political, economic, and scientific rationality has been construed on this strategic model.

Good Morning, Midnight, set against the backdrop of the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques with its competing Nazi and Communist pavilions, gestures to a world dominated by competing power relations. The space of a tactic is the space of the other.

Thus it must play on and with a terrain imposed on it and organized by the law of a foreign power. It does not have the means to keep to itself, at a distance, in a position of withdrawal, foresight, and self-collection: It does not, therefore, have the options of planning general strategy and viewing the adversary as a whole within a distinct, visible, and objectifiable space.

It operates in isolated actions, blow by blow. It poaches in them. It creates surprises in them. It can be where it is least expected. How, then, does she live under these scopic conditions?

With these questions I turn to the next section. As cultural historian Deborah L. Yet if the ageing Sasha no longer occupies her former position as sexual commodity when walking in the street, she is also not granted the role of sexual appraiser. Do I really look like a wealthy dame trotting round Montparnasse in the hope of --? Yet what happens when Sasha cries, when she makes a scene? When she fails in her ultimate goal of appearing respectable? Sasha gives in to her pose as a drunk.

Paradoxically, she achieves the invisibility she is after by becoming super- visible, a spectacle, a drunk woman. What do you want here, you? Yet she soon feels the need to justify her behaviour and presence to the wait staff, as she often does in the establishments she frequents. I only came in here to inquire the way to the nearest cinema. Now the feeling of the room is different.

They all know what I am. They have a drink, these women, and then they have another and then they start crying silently. And then they go into the lavabo and then they come out—powdered, but with hollow eyes— and, head down, slink into the street. But otherwise quiet, fearful, tamed, prepared to give big tips.

Bon, bien, bien, bon Significantly, the designation and classification of this type—at least for the bartender and waiter—occur along purely visual lines: To appear within [this visual scene] was to literally make a spectacle of oneself, to configure oneself as spectacle, to apprehend oneself and be apprehended as image. She extends the complexities of female performance to roles not generally seen as performance: Furthermore, the drunk is defined by her addiction, her degradation, in ways that preclude her from performing at all: She is framed in ways that deny her the ability to see outside of her culturally constructed role as drunk.

Power is bound by its very visibility. Her pose lies not in her being drunk—she is or will be soon—but in the way she inhabits the discursive category of drunk woman. That category carries with it an excess of connotations, of which Sasha is aware, that characterize her as passive, sexually promiscuous, hysterical, degraded, and mad.

Yet just as she becomes a spectacle in this role—marring the visual scene of bourgeois cafe culture with her drunkenness, her sadness and hollow eyes—she paradoxically becomes invisible; she is seen, but only insofar as sight becomes a means of dismissal.

The social response to the drunk woman is revulsion and disgust, but this response trades in abstractions rather than specifics: Sasha as individual is eclipsed by Sasha as drunk woman; eliciting the stares and judgment of others, she is at the same time rendered invisible. Similarly, when Sasha assumes the role of drunk woman, she is relying on appearing passive in order to hide the radical resistance offered by her narrative.

Dolls, mannequins, and machines are recurring images in Good Morning, Midnight, gesturing, perhaps, to patriarchally licensed forms of feminine appearing. Her trickery lies in presenting a doll-like passivity to the world, a passivity that plays into the patriarchal desire for female subordination, while actively rebelling against the forces oppressing her through her fiercely ironic narrative mode. Instead, it converts language into an object of inquiry ironically scrutinized by a knowledgeable heroine.

As readers, we see both sides of her drunken act: Literature, Addiction, Mania, explores how Emma Bovary, as addict, is in a perpetual state of craving that troubles and complicates her desire to live, to be actively engaged in the world. Emma becomes such a subject only by subsuming herself within the narratives of the romance novel. In thrall to his or her addiction, the addict has no need for anyone or anything else.

Significantly, this abject position provides Sasha with a way of seeing born of doubleness and unstable boundaries. What does not respect borders, positions, rules. A beautiful room with bath. A very beautiful room with bath.

A bedroom and sitting-room with bath. Sasha, inhabiting a borderland herself, sees the unspoken underside of things. Even the description of a smell—something known immediately, viscerally—relies on the hidden and repugnant, with Sasha saying: This morning the hall smells like a very cheap Turkish bath in London—the sort of place that is got up to look respectable and clean outside, the passage very antiseptic and the woman who meets you a cross between a prison-wardress and a deaconess, and everybody speaking in whispering voices with lowered eyes: Does she locate in the clean smell the revolting one?

Similarly, the abject is also constituted by narrative: Good Morning, Midnight is a text anchored in the in-between, the liminal realm between disguises, the space in which things and people are exposed for what they are—often dirty and cruel, respectively.

Sasha immediately identifies with her, particularly because Serge relates that she asked for a drink as Sasha has just done. The Martinique woman occupies an ambiguous position; without identifying physical markers, Serge cannot tell if she is desirable or grotesque. The woman—drunk, poor, of mixed-race—is disturbing for the multiple ways in which she exists as other and resists categorization. Her position as someone existing in the in-between leaves Serge to also question her being alive and human.

Hers is a perspective that has done away with illusions: My reading situates Sasha as finally conceding to her vision—a vision that relies on the skewed perception of a drunk, a vision born of the masquerade. Sasha recognizes the commis for what he is: She seeks in his arms not the warmth of human companionship, nor the easy escape of death, but an acknowledgment of abjection, an encounter with it, an embrace of it. However, none of these critics provides a satisfying elaboration on these pronouncements.

In what ways, then, is the text disorienting? The narrative moves in a jerky manner, with seemingly important developments treated in a sentence or two, as when Miss Gamelon moves in with Miss Goering after just making her acquaintance, or when Arnold and Miss Gamelon abruptly stop hating each other and become a couple.

The novel enacts a constant shifting of terms, a perpetual display of relativity, as each character redefines what is held to be normal or strange. They are comically quick to declare their love, especially when the situation merits no such declaration, and often act completely unaware of social conventions. They speak with a blunt honesty reminiscent of children or the intoxicated. And, significantly, apart from Mrs. Drunkenness functions as a metaphor for a world, recognizable in its outlines, and yet rendered uncanny, discordant, off.

In the previous chapter, my discussion of Sasha situates her as reacting, from a vulnerable, weakened position, to the oppressive forces that both constitute and extinguish her sense of self. The protagonists of Two Serious Ladies are indeed transgressive figures, but not for their attacks on an oppressive system; rather, in their very obliviousness to it. Copperfield must shirk her husband in order to give herself fully to the Panamanian prostitute Pacifica, she successfully does so without too much trouble.

Her struggles to achieve happiness, to follow the paths of her desire, are her own; despite an earnest attempt to play the paternal authority figure, Mr. Copperfield ultimately remains peripheral. Copperfield, its unflinching treatment of their quests, mirrors their own understanding of themselves as subjects. Speech as Primitive State This lack of narrative closure in the form of judgments or explanations is conspicuous in a novel that features characters who frequently speak, often in monologues, about their beliefs and patterns of behaviour.

Quill, the proprietor of the Hotel de las Palmas in Panama, indulges in such a speech with Mrs. Copperfield when they first meet: They talk and they drink and they make love; they go on picnics; they go to the movies; they dance, sometimes all night long I need never be lonely unless I want to I can always go and dance with them if I feel like it. I have a fellow who takes me out to the dancing places whenever I want to go and I can always string along. I love it here.

I am never bothered with dreams unless I eat something which sits on my stomach. You have to pay a price when you indulge yourself. Quill brings the talk around to herself, almost as if to explain herself.

She does so through recourse to the primal, with her talk of sex, sleep, food, and cravings. Her desire to speak of herself, then, to narrate, emerges as a pressing need on par with the needs of her body, the act of speaking seemingly taking precedence over what is spoken about. Significantly, this scene unfolds as Mrs. Copperfield are drinking gin, and corresponds to other instances in the novel when the women drink.

As she enjoys her drink at the Hotel Washington with Toby, Mrs. Copperfield invokes the phrase as she drinks alone in her hotel room: At a certain point gin takes everything off your hands and you flop around like a little baby. Two Serious Ladies features characters who demonstrate an almost primal need to narrate their stories, to speak to others about who they are. Instead of an oppressive bourgeois culture, Arnold chafes at the demands of his elderly parents, with whom he still lives.

The discrepancy between what Arthur says, what he voices about himself, and the reality of his situation gestures to the limitations of narrative. Their assertions, made perhaps in a bid to sound decisive or important, ultimately bear little relation to their lived realities. Arthur may declare himself an artist-in-waiting or propose a radical personality change, but his words say less about his actual intent and beliefs than his need to say them.

This is apparent when Arthur questions Miss Goering—whose plan for salvation takes a consistent if enigmatic form throughout the novel—about her methods: Also I can tell you that I think it is absolute nonsense to move physically from one place to another. All places are more or less alike. She pulled her shawl closer around her shoulders and of a sudden looked quite old and very sad indeed.

Arnold began to doubt the validity of what he had just said, and immediately resolved to make exactly the same excursion from which Miss Goering had just returned, on the following night. He squared his jaw and pulled out a notebook from his pocket. I should have thought you would have guessed that by this time. Here, speech functions as a stopgap for the more involved processes of knowing and believing; Arnold speaks before he knows, perhaps because knowing is, ultimately, out of reach.

Here the impulse to narrate precedes the moment of understanding and self-recognition; narration, held as a means of legitimizing experience, works to obscure it instead. At stake is not the truthfulness of his story so much as its capacity to offer something definitive and final: The reified philosophical quest threatens to become nothing more than the narcissistic babbling of a drunk.

There are hints as to the nature of her spiritual enterprise—she must masochistically leave her comfortable home and seek out the tawdry and debased—but no overarching system is ever revealed. While the other characters of the novel engage in naming their beliefs and histories however inaccurately , Miss Goering appears to favour the unresolved and unspeakable. At the beginning of the novel, she tells Mrs. Copperfield cannot decide if the rain-sodden wallpaper is amusing or depressing, but feels the necessity of interjecting a comment all the same.

To speak is to lay claim to a truth, to an interpretive position, that holds at bay the terrifying consequences of not knowing. Both approaches, however, gesture to the limitations and difficulties of narrating, of putting the complexities of experience into words. Fictional narration requires no referent to work as narrative, and we might say that the irrecoverability of the referent, its foreclosure to us, is the very condition of possibility for an account of myself if that account is to take narrative form.

It does not destroy narration but produces it precisely in a fictional direction. So to be more precise, I would have to say that I can tell the story of my origin and even tell it again and again, in several ways; but the story of my origin I tell is not one for which I am accountable, and it cannot establish my accountability. His father, too, writes his wife a letter explaining his actions in order to elicit forgiveness and attain some measure of narrative closure.

Yet by remaining ignorant of his true motives for leaving her, he comes no closer to offering an authentic account of his feelings and beliefs.

Shortly after demonstrating her obsession with Pacifica, Mrs. Pacifica, depicted throughout the novel as Mrs. What remains for these characters, besides the empty appeals for the other, is the primal, overwhelming need to narrate. As the episode on the train with the red-faced woman illustrates, Miss Goering can be quite outspoken.

That both Miss Goering and Mrs. Copperfield, with their dissimilar narrative modes, are effectively estranged from language illustrates this point. Miss Goering, abruptly abandoned by the menacing man she has attached herself to, thinks to herself: Copperfield, desperately trailing after Pacifica, who intends to marry an American man, has finally become a baby by relinquishing control and giving herself entirely to her libidinal drives. When she sums up her situation, she does so drunkenly, in both a narrative and physical sense.

Half celebratory declaration, half admission of failure, her words accurately reflect how the Bowlesian subject inhabits the world.

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