She who is eaten death returning

“The woman who presents herself to the spectator as a ‘picture’ forever arranged is, for the contemplative mind, the chiefest danger… Such a woman is an infected carrier of the past: before her the structure of our head and jaws ache – we feel that we could eat her, she who is eaten death returning, for only then do we put our face close to the blood on the lips of our forefathers.

“Something of this emotion came over Felix, but being racially incapable of abandon, he felt that he was looking upon a figurehead in a museum, which though static, no longer roosting on its cutwater, seemed yet to be going against the wind; as if this girl were the converging halves of a broken fate, setting face, in sleep, towards itself in time, as an image and its reflection in a lake seemed parted only by the hesitation of the hour” (Barnes 41).

“She was gracious and yet fading, like an old statue in a garden, that symbolizes the weather through which it has endured, and is not so much the work of man as the work of wind and rain and the herd of the seasons, and though formed in man’s image is a figure of doom. Because of this, Felix found her presence painful, and yet a happiness. Thinking of her, visualizing her, was an extreme act of will; to recall her after she had gone, however, was as easy as the recollection of a sensation of beauty without its details” (Barnes 45).

“He felt that her attention, somehow in spite of him, had already been taken by something not yet in history” (Barnes 48).

“Looking from the long windows one saw a fountain figure, a tall granite woman bending forward with lifted head; one hand was held over the pelvic round as if to warn a child who goes incautiously” (Barnes 61)

“In the passage of their lives together every object in the garden, every item in the house, every word they spoke, attested to their mutual love, the combining of their humours… such was the museum of their encounter” (Barnes 61)

“When the time came that Nora was alone must of the night and part of the day, she suffered from the personality of the house, the punishment of those who collect their lives together… Love becomes the deposit of the heart, analogous in all degrees to the ‘findings’ in a tomb. As in one will be charted the taken place of the body, the raiment, the utensils necessary to its other life, so in the heart of the lover will be traced, as an indelible shadow, that which he loves. In Nora’s heart lay the fossil of Robin… Thus the body of Robin could never be unloved, corrupt or put away. Robin was now beyond timely changes, except in the blood that animated her” (Barnes 61-2).

“To keep her (in Robin there was this tragic longing to be kept, knowing herself astray) Nora knew now that there was no way but death. In death Robin would belong to her. Death went with them, together and alone; and with the torment and catastrophe, thoughts of resurrection, the second duel” (Barnes 63).

“Only the impossible lasts forever; with time, it is made accessible. Robin’s love and mine was always impossible and loving each other, we no longer love. Yet we love each other like death” (148)

“We give death to a child when we give it a doll – it’s the effigy and the shroud; when a woman gives it to a woman, it is the life they cannot have, it is their child, sacred and profane; so when I saw that other doll–” Nora could not go on (151)

“Do you think that Robin had no right to fight you with her only weapon? She saw in you that fearful eye that would make her a target forever. Have not girls done as much for the doll?–the doll–yes, target of things past and to come? The last doll, given to age, is the girl who should have been a boy, and the boy who should have been a girl! The love of that last doll was foreshadowed in that love of the first. The doll and the immature have something right about them, the doll because it resembles but does not contain life, and the third sex because it contains life but resembles the doll” (157)

“… and because you forget Robin the best, it’s to you she turns. She comes trembling, and defiant, and belligerent, all right–that you may give her back to herself again as you have forgotten her–you are the only one strong enough to have listened to the prosecution, your life; and to have built back the amazing defence, your heart!” (162)

“It’s why she wants to be loved and left alone, all at the same time. She would kill the world to get at herself if the world were in the way, and it is in the way. A shadow was falling on her–mine–and it was driving her out of her wits.’ She began to walk again. ‘I have been loved,’ she said, ‘by something strange, and it has forgotten me.’ Her eyes were fixed and she seemed to be talking to herself. ‘It was me made her hair stand on end because I loved her. She turned bitter because I made her fate colossal. She wanted darkness in her mind–to throw a shadow over what she was powerless to alter–her dissolute life, her life at night; and I, I dashed it down. We will never have it out now,’ Nor said. ‘It’s too late. There is no last reckoning for those who have loved too long, so for me there is no end. Only I can’t, I can’t wait for ever!’ she said frantically. ‘I can’t live without my heart!'” (Barnes 165)

Matthew: “And I myself wish I’d never had a button up my middle–for what I’ve done and what I’ve not done all goes back to that–to be recognized, a gem should lie in a wide open field; but I’m all aglitter in the underbrush! If you don’t want to suffer you should tear yourself apart” (174)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s