A Prototypical Barbie
Posted by Karen R on October 28, 1997 at 13:17:19:
In response to Mind Passion, written by Cassia on October 27, 1997 at 18:18:40
] ] ] Just a note, particularly to Karen and Cassia. I am reading your posts with a great deal of pleasure, but I am not able to join in much at the moment, because, although I have read Possession before, I don't actually remember all the details, even of the plot. I know it sounds wierd, but I just don't remember what happens at the end! I have no objection at all to the whole story being discussed, but I will have to reply when I have a read more and got more of an overview myself! I know of two other people only just starting the read, too.
] ] ] Right now I am getting to the end of the batch of letters. Amy said in relation to Jane Eyre and Rochester: 'the sexiness of their passion was in the meeting of their minds'. The same could be said of Ash and LaMotte. I love the excitement in their letters, the rapid plunge of regard, but the tension that restrains them is almost unbearable.
] ] Hil:
] ] Please don't think you need to apologize for anything. Perhaps, we should stick to what is going on in the chapters assigned. It could be that the others you mentioned feel slightly intimidated.
] ] Actually, I just started a reread a couple of days ago (when I bought a paperback edition that I could markup. I've been working off memory (I had just reread it late August-early September).
] ] I've decided to hold off on the "Christabel" poem for a couple of reasons, the more important being that it necessitates a discussion of the end of the novel.
] ] However, I am in total agreement with the comment above from
] ] Amy about the nature of the LaMotte/Ash passion. This is a whole topic and I'll leave it to you to start it whenever you're ready.
] ] Karen
] I think passion of the mind is in many ways the ultimate female fantasy. One of the reason I think Byatt makes nearly all of the women we meet nearly unfunctional in a bodily/sexual way is due to this fantasy, especially in the cases of Maud and Dr Nest. Both of them supply some main fantasy element of the male fantasy ideal but the result is both of them, women with strong minds, become ashamed and hide away their 'assets'; Maud under a scarf, Dr Nest under layers of fuzzy sweaters. They both feel a need to hide themselves away from peering eyes although for diferent reason: Maud feels she is too attractive and that takes away from her serious academic ambitions; Dr Nest feels that her abundance makes her a freak. They feel being taken to be the fantasy that their bodies represent without being acknowledged for whothey really are. Women, in many ways are much more their bodies than men are. I read a few months ago that Stephen Hawkings, who has ALS and therefore a basically non- functioning body,left his wife of many years for another woman. I've never heard of this kind of situation working the other way around. (I realise I have chosen an extreme example.) So in chosing Dr Nest and Maud could Byatt be ansering that sex appeal isn't the definition of woman? What do you think?
Oh my, Cassia, I never tied those two together!! Maud refers to her blonde hair as her "doll mask." When I put Maud's attributes together with Bea's rather well-endowed figure, I see the original Barbie doll!! ('50s ponytail version). Other than the one woman in England (who I saw on a TV show) who has undergone jillions of surgical procedures to look like Barbie, don't we all hate that distorted image of the "perfect" woman. Who wouldn't cover them up if they interfered with being taken seriously, i.e., for one's mind, intelligence, etc. Has our Wolff identified his Sheep?
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