on rebellion and life at home

Thursday, September 25th, 2003

Adam Szychowski in My Life with the Wave: A masterpiece of Ultrarealism (the joke is that he’s going write against a surreal attribution of Octavio Paz’ story) writes “They fall in love and settle into a routine . . . [and the wave] rebels; this time against the slow rhythm of domestic life, instead of the tides.”

I don’t know if I agree with this rebellion against the slow rhythm of domestic life, but I wonder about the notion of rebellion in the story that Adam points to and the issue of domesticity and the wave. What, in the context of the story, points to a rebellion of this kind? I guess my question goes this way: is the wave rebelling against domestic life (what kind) or does this have something to with nature, and does this question also have something to do with Kugelmass? Could we put a border around the idea of domestic life in order to define it more precisely, and then would Borges laugh at us?


6 responses to “on rebellion and life at home”

  1. Susan says:

    It’s an interesting viewpoint however. I, even though totally accepting the wave as a being, cared not–nay, didn’t give a thought–about her own feelings or regret of her choice. I’m not looking for any deeper meaning than the story, but it was unthinking of me not to grant this character any more credit than being the stereotypical selfish and spoiled feminine entity that she was. Kugelmass’ mistress Bovary indeed displays these same qualities.

  2. Steve says:

    But Susan how do we know she was selfish? What does the wave want?

  3. Susan says:

    For whatever reason, she clung to him and wouldn’t let go, no matter how he tried to get rid of her. She wanted to escape the sea or she wouldn’t have remained in his home while he was in jail, nor when he returned and found her a bit more than annoying, nor when he left her for long periods of time. When someone wants something and goes after it and holds on regardless of the impact on others, this, to me, is selfish. Susan

  4. Adam says:

    “But Susan how do we know she was selfish? What does the wave want?”

    The wave implicitly loves our narrator, to the point of alienating herself from all of her surroundings. Thus we can make an educated guess at what she wants.

    The mere fact that she either willingly indulges in what could be a tendency to be innately tempestuous, or indulges in it by default (by not showing any signs of trying to curb it) is, in itself, enough to seemingly belittle the narrator’s desire for a pleasurable life. Putting herself first, whether out of laziness or active will, would make her selfish.

  5. Adam says:

    And, for the record, that isn’t Alpha male response syndrome kicking in… I honestly believe that the wave acted selfishly. The narrator seems rather weak – maybe it was too much of a codependent relationship for the wave, and rather than break it off nicely (leaving the narrator devastated and her with guilt on her conscience, inevitably; keep in mind, we’re talking in terms of a hypothetical codependent relationship), the wave projected her feelings of alienation and her fickleness on the narrator and demonized him, perhaps trying to goad him into retaliating with anger.

    When it comes down to it, which is easier to deal with emotionally? A sad partner, or an angry one? The latter gives some ground for righteous indignation, certainly.

    Perhaps I’m rambling; however, given recent events in my *own* life, this seems to hit the nail on the head quite well.

  6. Adam says:

    Okay, posting once more, sorry:

    Certainly, that’s as human a trait as any. Something sours in one partner, and rather than accepting any blame for the relationship going wrong, they become the passive-aggressive victim to themselves, and “retaliate” on the other partner.

    The wave missed the sea; it was quite obvious. But who’s going to take the blame for that? She, who left it, or the weak-willed partner who let her?