Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is Desiderio Supposed to Be Angela Carter?

As I was looking over The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman again, for another class, I noticed something very peculiar that I didn't think about before. Desiderio says, "Well, I walked the heels out of my silk socks and the soles off my patent leather pumps and I fell down to sleep and rose to walk again until this filthy scarecrow in ragged evening dress, his matted hair falling over his shoulders and his gaunt jaw sprouting unkempt beard, his lapel still stuck through with a blackened rose of stiffened blood—until I saw before me, one moonlit dawn, the smoking ruins of a familiar city" (Carter 221). This quote is on the very last page, and it happens after Desiderio has destroyed the desire machines.


In the quote, we see the result of the desire machines in the destruction of the city—the destruction cannot be erased just because the machines are now inoperable (the damage is done)—but it is interesting that, after the machines are gone, we see the real/true form of the scarecrow. This appearance is something that can change, because it is just an appearance; nothing has been done to affect it (no damage), at least we can assume. The scarecrow is now wearing an evening dress and sports a beard (meaning it is no longer just a skull; it has substance, skin). Moreover, the real shocker is that Desiderio mentions "his" "patent leather pumps" and "silky socks" (panty hose?). Thus, is he, in reality, a woman? Is "he" really a projection of Angela Carter herself? If so, how/why does Desiderio become a man when the machine gets switched on (Is this even important? Can/should we answer it?), and does anyone else's gender change after the machine powers on? We know for certain that Albertina's gender and form/shape changes throughout the book, so it seems possible. Am I seeing something that isn't there? We could probably argue that the comments about silk socks and pumps only suggest some kind of weakness or tiredness, that Desiderio is like a spoiled (rich) kid with nice things who happens to be tired (and is thus complaining, like Wilhemina in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). What do you think?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Summers' Feminism Lecture

I also went to Christina Hoff Summers' lecture on feminism last Thursday. Her anecdote about The Vagina Monologues vs. The Penis Monologues was interesting, and I quite agreed with her point about the double-standards surrounding the plays/events/mascots/etc. I also agreed with her points about gender war propaganda (e.g., "men are from hell," "men are 'potential rapists,'" etc.), that propaganda makes the aberration the new norm and, thus, is a bigoted institution. Additionally, Summers drew an interesting connection to the "white man's burden," perhaps without meaning to do so: She said that the current societal discourse is that we have to "rescue boys from themselves," from danger and self-destructive behavior. Thus, by bringing the "white man's burden" discourse into the discussion, Summers also drew a connection between feminist/gender theories and post-colonial theory, and I thought this was interesting, as it shows how the different literary/cultural theories can go hand-in-hand. Finally, I agreed with Professor Salisbury's points that Summers' speech/work seems racially and socially biased and that she uses too many generalizations (e.g., how BOYS and GIRLS play). Overall, it was a good experience, and a heated one at that!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lucy, The "Holey" Holy Woman

I don't think we mentioned this in today's discussion, but I think the word "holey" in Linda Anderson's "Blinding" is very interesting. We talked quite a lot about religion, and about Linda's holes, her "honeycomb" nature. The word "holey" seems to tie these two ideas together quite well, when Lucy says that she is "a honeycomb of holes. A holey woman." From this, we can surmise that Lucy is a "holey" holy woman. She is holy because of her connection to religion and, perhaps, because she represents THE woman, some sort of ideal, perfect woman; she is "holey" because she is actually imperfect (How can any human be perfect?), and because of the travesties and punishments she endures. She is broken, destroyed, filled with holes, even though she is holy, a saint, a "light unto the world."


As i read this article, i found myself riding the fence a little. I agreed whet the Hirsch, in some aspects, that the author's intent is the most important thing. Yet, i do not agree with him on the facts that the only meaning is the "author's intended meaning." I feel that by looking at the author's intent in the poem or their background can give great influence to what the true idea of the poem is. However i also do believe that the fact of the matter still remains that all people have different meanings of things. The world is seen through different eyes, therefore no picture, image, is seen the same.
Even in the later part of the article in the Language and Speech Acts, words have different meanings. A words meaning would all depend on the context in which it is used. For instance mole is both a small furry animal that digs holes in your yard, but it is ofter referred to as a spy or informant. This the ideas that confuse and complicate intent. That is why i would say that getting a feel for the author's intent would help the reader understand their poems better.