Given that the novel was published in 1981 at the tail end of the feminist

Given that the novel was published in 1981 at the

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11. Given that the novel was published in 1981, at the tail end of the feminist identity politics era, it is not hard to guess that it is a kind of response to increasing attacks on the feminist movement from women of color during the 1970s, attacks which highlighted the movement's blindness to cultural differences. With their exclusive focus on questions of gender, so the charge ran, the predominantly white feminists at the forefront of that movement did not reflect on the many different ways of embodying that gender. Thus elevating the white female subject to a privileged unmarked category, feminists became involuntarily complicit with their white male counterparts, whose privilege they otherwise contested. 12. Thus, when she first encounters Dr. Minnow on the plane, for example, we read:
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Regarding the Other 46 Rennie is becoming irritated with him. She looks at the pocket in the seatback in front of her, hoping there's something she can pretend to read, an airline magazine, barfbag mags as they're known in the trade, but there's nothing in it but the card illustrating emergency procedures. On the 707 to Barbados she had a thriller she bought at the airport, but she finished it and left it on the plane. A mistake: now she's bookless. (29) 13. I use "the real" in a generalized Lacanian sense here as that which resists symbolisation but nonetheless makes itself felt as an "absent presence," a disturbance, within the order of representation. I will return to this point more fully below. 14. I here rely on Marilyn Patton's research into the manuscript material. See particularly 167–170. Following Patton, I have emphasized the additions. 15. Vilaseca is quoting from ˇ Ziˇ zek 114. 16. An earlier instance of this return of the gaze is found in the scene in which Rennie observes policemen beating up the old man and the old man looks up and sees her: "She's been seen, she's being seen with utter thoroughness, she won't be forgotten" (146). 17. The word choice is significant here. Being "decent" in Griswold was associated with being dressed, that is, in Berger's terms, with being "nude" rather than "naked," or rather, being within representation (Berger 54). What Rennie perceives here is "indecent"; it is the real beyond representation. 18. In this respect, Rennie's recurring nightmare about her grandmother's "lost hands" is important, for it shows her that rather than backing away, as she did in the actual childhood incident, she should have "pu[t] out her hands" (115). That she did not do so at the time, and that in her nightmare it is "her hands she's looking for" (116), sug - gests that Rennie internalizes her childhood lesson of "how to look at things without touching them" (54) all too well and effectively, like her grandmother, loses her hands, that is, loses her ability to connect with people as a sentient being.
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