Surfacing 2 Gendered Identities and Fragmented Bodies in Nature Focus: chaps 13-14 Main Issues • Main Issues: – Quest for Lost Identities (Home and the Past) Her Fragmentary Selves – Gendered Identities in patriarchal society Fragmented Bodies & Animals – Nature and Humans’ Roles in Nature Fragmented Bodies in Nature • For Next Week Quest for Lost Identities (Home and the Past: 1. Lost Father) 1. Suspense built by her ‘fear’ of the father; e.g. Chap 7 (p. 59) “What I’m afraid of is my father, hidden on the island somewhere and attracted by the light perhaps, looming up at the window like a huge moth; or, if he’s still lucid, asking her who she is and ordering her out of his house. . . .” 2. Chap 12: “It was no longer his death but my own that concerned me” (p. 107) Quest for Lost Identities (Home and the Past: 2. Approaching the Past) 1. The past is ‘present’— e.g. 1. fence marriage; 2. chap 6 (p. 49) “Except for the bikini and the color of her hair, she could be me at sixteen. . . Joe and David, . . . Might be my brother and my father.” 2. Searching through scrapbooks and family albums; chap 10 (p. 91) • • All illustrations of ladies but not herself; A lot of Easter eggs. “No monsters, no wars, no explosions, no heroism.” Quest for Lost Identities (Home and the Past: 2. Approaching the Past) 3. Gradual revelation of the truth about her abortion Clue: chap 8 "I have to be more careful about my memories, I have to be sure they're my own" (70). Chap 5 -- 'remembers' her 'husband,' marriage and divorce, "like an amputation, you survive but there's less of you" (39) Chap 10 --Joe's proposal; remembers her 'wedding'; sees herself as an invalid. Chap 12 – her broken selves. Chap 17 – dives and faces the real past Quest for Lost Identities (Home and the Past: 3. Childhood and Self-Alienation) Childhood & Sunday School – Chap 6: trying to conform and be a Christian; Chap 8: quitting Sunday School; isolation from the other children End of Chap 12 (p. 108): family album “myself in stiff dresses, crinolines and tulle, layered like store birthday cakes; I was civilized at last, the finished product.” “After the formal dresses I disappeared; no wedding pictures, . . .” Quest for Lost Identities (Home and the Past: 4. ‘Marriage’ and Broken Selves) Chaps 1 – 4: homecoming with a strong sense of alienation: Chap 3: memory of her brother’s drowning; Chap 4: Upon arriving home, she 'remembers' her baby and marriage. Chap 5: marriage and divorce, "like an amputation, you survive but there's less of you" (39) The baby: "I have to behave as though it doesn't exist, . . . it was taken away from me. . . . A section of my own life, sliced off from me. . . , my own flesh cancelled" (45) Lost Identities = Broken Bodies e.g. 1 Chaps 12: pp. 108-109 “I didn’t know when it had happened. . . .but after that I’d allowed myself to be cut in two. Woman sawn apart ina wooden crate, wearing a bathing suit, smiling, a trick done with mirrors, I read it in a comic book; only with me there had been an accident and I came apart. The other half, the one locked away, was the only one that could live; I was the wrong half, detached, terminal. I was nothing but a head, or, no, something minor like a severed thumb; numb.” Lost Identities = Broken Bodies e.g. 2 Chaps 9 (p. 75) “The trouble is all in the knob at the top of our bodies. I’m not against the body or the head either: only the neck, which created the illusion that they are separate. . . .” What does the illusive separation of the head and the body mean here? Lost Identities = Broken Bodies e.g. 3 Chaps 13 -14 Questions for close analysis: 1. What does she fear and needs rescue from at night? (Chap 13 p. 112 --); 2. How does David treat women’s and animals’ bodies? (Chap 14 pp. 120-21) Gendered Identities in patriarchal society I. Anna and David: Chap 10 pp. 89-90 David, a sexist, gives compliment half-heartedly and makes sexist comments on ‘her’ ass casually. Chap 11 (pp. 98-99)—David as a womanizer; “He said it’s being honest. What a turd. When I get mad he says I’m jealous and possessive. . .he says jealousy is bourgeois, it’s a leftover from the property ethic. . .but really it’s to show me he cdan do it and get away with it. . . . “ Gendered Identities in patriarchal society I. Anna and David: 1. What do you think about the discussion of Women’s Lib on pp. 112-13 --David: 1) failure to understand their causes, 2) fear of their power --the narrator: ‘ought to’ be superior, but actually not. -- stereotypes in society 2. And the relationships between Anna and David? (123) David– bossy only to hide his inner depletion. Gendered Identities in patriarchal society II. The narrator and Joe: Chap 5: Joe’s nightmare; Chap 10: Joe's proposal; Chap 10: “When you can’t tell the difference between your own pleasure and your pain then you’re an addict. I did that, I fed him unlimited supplies of nothing, he wasn’t ready for it, . . .” (84) Chap 12: Joe’s question: “Do you love me?”(p. 107) “It was the language again, I couldn’t use it because it wasn’t mine.” Gendered Identities in patriarchal society II. The narrator and Joe: How can we characterize Joe? (pp. 111; 125) --weak; in need of the narrator’s participation in his self-love. But the latter is too preoccupied with her past to love. -- can feel and is not violent “’The truth is,’ he said bitterly, ‘you think my work is crap, you think I’m a loser and I’m not worth it.’ His face contorted, it was pain: I envied him.” (p. 107) Nature & Fragmented Bodies in Nature • Are there any passages you like in these two chapters? – Chap 13 p. 110 vs. p. 114 (the power company); p. 116; p. 118; • How does the narrator respond to the scene of the dead heron? How does David respond to it? (chap 14) – p. 118, human destruction/possession of things which they cannot possess alive; – David – Random Samples – choice of the strange and exotic without sympathy or understanding. P. 1 Nature & Fragmented Bodies in Nature • • • • • How does the narrator ‘live’ in Nature? Sun-time; Natural toilet; p. 119 Alert for possible dangers (e.g. 119; 125) Feels alive – p. 114 For Next Week • Chap 15: the 'Americans' turn out to be from Toronto p. 129 • "The trouble some people have being German," she says in reference to the Nazi atrocities, "I have being human" (p. 131) • Chaps 16 – 18 – 1. exploitation and power struggle between the two pairs get intensified; 2. The narrator dives and faces her past.