Written on the Body

September 6, 2007

First impression of this novel is, boy, this guy gets around.  While I was reading I was looking for ways to tie postmodernism in with his, let’s just say, escapades.  Postmodernism is a moving away from old standards and rigid structures, and it seems that this guy is moving away from what we would consider the norm when it comes to love and relationships.

It is on the very first page that he goes after the phrase “I love you” three words that are not to be taken lightly.  His feelings on the phrase, “Why is is that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear?”  It’s hard to say whether he is against saying “I love you” or if he is opposed to the notion of love itself, which his relationship pattern might indicate. 

He also seems to have no regard for the sanctity of marriage.  On page 13 he says, “I used to think of marriage as a plate-glass window just begging for a brick.”  And then on page 16, “Odd that marriage, a public display and free to all, gives way to that most secret of liaisons, an adulterous affair.”  This man details several of his encounters with woman who are married, and he has done it so many times that he has memorized the dialogue between him and the women, which he gives on page 14-15.  So it is pretty clear that he holds no regard for marriage, and is more than willing to help a woman stray from her vows.

There is a point where he seems to have been developing feelings for Jacqueline, but it is made evident that relationship won’t last for very long.  So I would call this guy postmodern in that one of the facets of postmodernism is to break with tradition and the set norm.  And this guy has no interest in finding a nice girl, and settling down and having the white pickett fence.

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3 Responses to “Written on the Body”

  1. nemo33 said

    This book really is a giant maze including many clichés including what you were talking about with the love quotes and talk about marriage. I think it’s the puzzle that is actually keeping my interest for the story, not the characters or the barely visible plot. Not knowing the gender, even though I know there was never meant to be one, I like looking for just one slip up that has to let out what Sam really is. But not knowing what is real and a dream, and who to trust are more things keeping me going in this strange book.

  2. tllabello said

    I also think that the narrator is a guy but the gender of the narrator will continue to be a mystery. It is what as a reader you make the narrator to be. I did like that quote about I love you but I think the narrator is confused on what love is.

  3. Marina said

    Hi Ryan,

    I must say although I don’t necessarily agree with you that the narrator is a male, you do have some very interesting points here. I too was hung up on the narrators ease in having affairs. The plate glass window begging for a brink is a good one analogy that the narrator uses. Its as if the narrator thinks any marriage should be destroyed, even the beautiful ones. I also found it interesting when the narrator says, “I know what I did and what I was doing at the time. But I didn’t walk down the aisle, queue up at the Registry Office and swear to be faithful unto death. I wouldn’t dare” (16). Its as if being an adulterer was the narrators only option and that he/she thought, who in the world would want to get married? Marriage is for losers apparently (according to this narrator anyway)! 🙂

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