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I start by looking at how the women of Arlington Park seem to adopt the Beauvoirean terminology mired in immanence and facticity, cut off from the transcendence that would confer subjectivity on them. Drawing on the recent revisionary work on Beauvoir by Fredrika Scarth in particular, this paper examines the ways in which the lived experience of womanhood is dramatized in the novel as a kind of risk that is not only physical but also ontological. I start Big Morillon women sex looking at how, in their relations to time and to the Big Morillon women sex, the women of Arlington Park seem to adopt the Beauvoirean terminology mired in immanence and facticity, cut off from the transcendence that would confer subjectivity on them.
One of the literary tropes through which Cusk explores the ambiguously porous interface between the female self and the world is that of the dissolving boundary. I look at the figure of the ambiguously dissolving boundary in Arlington Parkwhich maintains a separation while making possible the inevitable and necessary contact with the other. She would have sucked the little boy right out of the frame if she could.
Oh, to have self-control! The housewife wears herself out marking time: she makes nothing, simply perpetuates the present. The moment of transcendence has passed. The people moved and everything around them moved too, the clouds hurtling across the sky, the tossing sun, the grass bending this way and that in the wind, the branches and the bushes, the kites and balls, the dogs and the springing birds, the cars passing along the distant road. The whole mechanism of the world, running on, running like a machine: time poured into it like a blank river, and set off all these infinitesimal movements!
Why had she required such bulk, so much heaviness? What was she afraid of? It was … so solitary and powerful, so—transcendent. It made Juliet think she could transcend it all, this little house with its stained carpets, its shopping, its flawed people, transcend the grey, rain-sodden distances of Arlington Park; transcend, even, her own body, where bitterness lay like lead in the veins … Juliet did not feel transcendent any longer. She felt angry, dense and angry and dark, compacted, like lead. She had forgotten she was a native creature, a thing of flesh.
The illusion that marks patriarchy … is that men, as Absolute Subject, are free of the body and necessity, and that women, as Other, are only their bodies, their bodies exist as a constraining, restrictive identity, as a destiny, as a nature. Scarthciting Butler And she, like him … is a consenting, a voluntary gift, an activity; they live out in their several fashions the strange ambiguity of existence made body. In those combats where they think they confront one another, it is really against the self that each one struggles, projecting into the partner that part of the self which is repudiated; instead of living Big Morillon women sex the ambiguities of their situation, each tries to make the other bear the abjection and tries to reserve the honour for the self SS ; DSb ; emphasis added.
Cusk too seems to be seeking a new literary expression of female subjectivity that goes beyond the frustrating binary collisions that she nonetheless potently dramatizes. These boundaries, even when they are architectural ones, are repeatedly cast in anatomical terms, the house becoming coterminous with the contours of the female body. These moments came and they were beautiful, fragile pauses, like bubbles, in which Amanda experienced a feeling of summation, almost of symbolism.
They were representations: they were advertisements, for something that lay half-way between the life that was lived here and her own feelings about them. She experiences an uncanny but salutary realisation which is at the heart of Beauvoirean ambiguity, that although a subject to herself, she is an object to others and is exposed to their reading of her which she is unable to control. She wanted to feel a boundary with the world, before she was diffused entirely into fleshly relatedness. The spare room appeared to her as the place where this boundary could be established … it was also to be her means of return from all this marshy expansiveness towards a new independence.
It defied understanding. Cells fuse, split, and proliferate; volumes grow, tissues stretch, and body fluids change rhythm, speeding up or slowing down. Within the body, growing as a graft, indomitable, there is an other. And no one is present, within that simultaneously dual and alien space, to ify what is going on. Kristeva Not only maternity, but also family life itself are some of the situations her fiction creatively explores as tropes for articulating this ambiguous mode of subjectivity founded on acknowledging otherness rather than rejecting it.
The domestic scene becomes a locus of exposure and risk, not risk of the self-assertive Sartrean kind deemed to found the subject of existentialism but the risk involved in openness, in reciprocity and in the repeated acts of generosity required by family life. She felt she had deceived them, that she had stolen them from their rightful homes and carried them off with her on her getaway, her flight from authority.
And yet there was nothing in the world that she wanted for them, nothing in the whole world except for them to live, like two stolen bars of gold in a carpet bag, within her possession. There was nothing in the world they needed, only for her to believe they belonged to her.
And it was this belief, so necessary, that had marked her, as one way or another it marked everybody. It made you manifest, visible. It took away your anonymity, perhaps forever; and wherever you went, there you stood, between yourself and the world. As a verbal representation, this writing verges on the non-representational. It is, however, a suggestive expression of the inextricably embroiled relations of dependency, need and want that are bound up within a family environment, so that it is, precisely, no easy matter determining who needs whom, who possesses whom, who belongs to whom—if indeed it is legitimate to frame such relations in terms of possession and belonging.
She felt an almost unbearable sense of his reality, of his life and of the task, her task, of keeping these representations of him together, making them continuous. That was love, that work of deciphering and interpolating and testifying: to bear witness to something in its entirety, that was love.
Could she not tear down this veil of anger? Could she not bend them a little, these rules, this rod of marriage? Might not that be her single achievement, her masterpiece? To say to Benedict, I cannot go on as we are. We have to change things, just a little. You had to love someone, to say that. You had to be prepared to give, in order to ask for something in return.
Cusk seems indeed to suggest an analogy between the risks and exposures of female subjectivity and those of the female artist. Both are involved in an ambiguous kind of creation, a process that cannot be controlled or completely mastered, that is always open for interpretation in ways that may not have been anticipated, but which give the creation meaning.
Beauvoir, Simone de. The Second Sex. London: Picador, Paris: Gallimard, Butler, Judith. Subjects of Desire. Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth Century France. New York: Columbia University Press, Card, Claudia ed. The Cambridge Companion to Simone de Beauvoir. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, Cusk, Rachel.
London: Faber and Faber, Arlington Park.
Freidman, Susan Stanford. Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Kristeva, Julia. Roudiez ed.
New York: Columbia UP, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Leon S. Moi, Toril. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sartre, Jean-Paul. Scarth, Fredrika. The Other Within. Ethics, Politics and the Body in Simone de Beauvoir.
Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, Zerilli, Linda. If blood were but a nourishing fluid, it would be valued no higher than milk; but the hunter was no butcher, for in the struggle against wild Big Morillon women sex, he ran grave risks. The warrior put his life in jeopardy to elevate the prestige of the horde, the clan to which he belonged. And in this he proved dramatically that life is not the supreme value for man, but on the contrary, that it should be made to serve ends more important than itself.
The worst curse that was laid upon woman was that she should be excluded from these warlike forays. For it is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth [life] but to that which kills. It is tiresome, empty, monotonous, as a career. Another person has existed in her, and after their birth they live within the jurisdiction of her consciousness.
Maternity is an opening onto the future through the other, the child-to-be, and thus partakes of the transcendence of existence.Big Morillon women sex
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