... it would be nice to talk a bit more about literature as opiate (OED: a. "Something that soothes or dulls the senses or causes drowsiness
or inaction" -- AND, I would stress the inaction....lulls a person into
inaction...so that they don't question things) ... I think some lit can be classified as opiate, but not all...however it might be hard to classify some works, since everyone's interpretation of a text will be different. It is probably more clear withthe lad lit books that end with the man being tamed and chosen for marriage after long occasions of intense rivalry with other men. It sends the message that it's ok to give in to the traditional roles of men...to let women tame you, etc.. Similarly with the nice little romance novels where the woman chooses her man and becomes a wife and mother. Perhaps some women read those types of books if they are unhappily married....to validate their lives, their choices, and to soothe any doubts the may have...Other literature COMPLETELY challenges these views or makes a complete riot of them, including Villette due to the tragic ending (I like to read the ending the way Bronte intended it...that is, that M. Paul drowns), and due to many other reasons besides. I think traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and social tradition come undone in the books we've read so far. It happens in almost every paragraph of Cranford!
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Literature the Opiate of the ....
I received the following stimulating email, which I am still mulling over. Your comments will be very welcome: