Date: 2009-03-09 01:35 am (UTC)
I hope it's ok for me to reply. I try to not engage as much bc I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable, but you invited dissenting opinions, so I hope that I'm allowed to be one of the responses & will not be crossing a line here. If I am, pls do tell me to go hush.

I'm not going to dissent bc that implies that there is a Correct Answer--which I think is silly. So . . . I'm intrigued by your reading--and can very much see how you arrived at it.

That said, Irial, as he's written, was not meant to be read as a rapist. (Not that your reading is without textual support--as I say, I can see the sources of this reading.) He is that which she uses to numb her emotions; he is, metaphorically, her addiction, her drug, her depression & self-destruction. Contact with him allows her to escape the feelings she wants to hide from (a typical PTSD response to rape). He is, obviously, not a healthy choice either. . . as frex, coke, smack, sexual excess are not. He is that response that I and most survivors I knew sought in whichever form (or forms) we found it.

If I had to pin a literal real world match instead of the metaphor, I'd say he is a drug dealer taking advantage of her being broken for his own gain.

He's not a "good man." He is, however, representative of the Dark Court, the shadows, the ugliness, & he is not without moments of awareness. Can "bad men" (drug dealers, et al) truly love someone enough to want them to get out of the world they are in? Yes, actually, they can. THAT realization is why Leslie cares for him.

I'm a rape survivor. I'm very open about that. I'm not going to write a text wherein the rapist is the beloved. Ever. I don't classify Irial as a rapist. He's the hell that comes after the rape, the ugly things that sometimes we fall into bc we are pretty far from ok at that point and just want the pain to be quiet for a moment or two. He's a bad man, not the protagonist, not someone we are to cheer for . . .

The empowerment issue . . . I don't agree there. Plain & simple. I get what you're saying, & it IS valid. In my read of the act of surviving, it is a choice we make over & over. It's a choice not to lift the pipe, needle, what-have-you. There are external things--people who help us or hinder us. There are moment we look back at where we were & think fond thoughts. It's not popular sentiment but being high enough not to hurt IS pleasing. We DO long for it. Leslie longs for that. She thinks fondly of the embodiment of it, and she thinks fondly of the fact that her embodiment had a voice & a volition & didn't make her running to safety harder. For that & for the numbness he gave her, she feels affection. She also knows that the drug/addiction/destruction would've killed her.

So that's what I intended.

That, of course, doesn't mean that your reader response is any LESS valid. Your reasoning, your interpretation, & your entire response to this aspect of the text (to any aspect, actually, if one buys into some schools of lit crit--which I do) are all quite valid. One doesn't only walk away from a text with what the author intended. To me, that's always the best part abt responding to text: there isn't A Right Answer, but a number of Possible Answers.

I'm glad I read your response. It was engaging & thoughtful--and supported textually.

Melissa

ETA: correction of grammar error in para #1
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