[ilds] RG Justine 1.7 -- why should we hurt one another?

Jim Nichols jnichols at nctv.com
Sat Apr 21 05:13:47 PDT 2007

Just a note.    

      This is Brother Ass speaking, right?  And he condescends unthinkingly to the 'ordinary people' whom he desperately doesn't want to be like.  Darley is hardly a well of philosophical truth here.  He's a young, inexperienced boy who even now needs to grow up and is only partially there at the book's end.   That is why he runs to 'silence' at book's end.  He's scared.  He needs the courage of Clea very much.  He's still very unsure of himself and very afraid of what he's experienced.  Surely no fully mature artist would condescend to his subject with such self-gratifying, maudlin paternalism.   Ordinary people may be ordinary, but their life experience is still profound, and the artist who fails to realize that loses the very center of his art.

    But OH, those 'ordinary, non-artists whom he has met; they do have a life about them, don't they?

                                                                                                                                                            J N
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: slighcl 
  To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca 
  Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 9:59 PM
  Subject: Re: [ilds] RG Justine 1.7 -- why should we hurt one another?

  It is just not clear to me either, Bill.  I can believe in Michael's gloss.  It works with its terms.  But I hesitate to say that is all.  The question of suspending one's disbelief for some sentences and not others seems "out of kilter" from the retrospective skepticism we are asked to cast upon the narrator of Justine once we reach Balthazar.  Could someone who understood so little about his life and lovers and friends really be expected to hold authority?  

  Again, as I said, it is terrifically hard to "hear" what we are supposed hear in Darley when Balthazar or Pursewarden are not nearby.  I end up taking their roles as a reader.

  "Waits" I take to mean "awaits discovery by the artist."

  I also still am puzzling over the question "why should we hurt one another?"  I don't hear the artist as excluded from that.  The preceding lines are so cumbered with heady notions of the artist.  I hear instead that the struggle to face down destiny carries costs that "ordinary people" may not be ready to pay, though if they fall into the gravitational field of the poet as his family, his friend, or his lovers, they may be hurt.  The cost.  If we must appeal to"real  life," readings through LD's biography would support that, I think.  And the child.  And the child.


Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu


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