The conclusion of Written on the Body

September 13, 2007

So the story was interrupted by a brief anatomy lesson.  On page 115 there was a very cool line in the narrator describing Louise’s illness, “The security  forces have rebelled.  Louise is the victim of a coup.”  I like the way of presenting her illness in a way that it is not an outside force that is makeing her sick, but instead her body is turning on itself.  Continuing with the anatomy section, on page 129 the narrator says, “…but what I wanted to do was to fasten my index finger and thumb at the bolts of your collar bone, push out, spreading the web of my hand until it caught against your throat.  You asked me me if I wanted to strangle you.  No, I wanted to fit you…”  That just sounds incredibly bizarre and extremely painful.  I know I brought up this line in class, but it still sticks out to me, “I will ride you like a nightmare.” (page 131)  And I can assure you that I will probably use that phrase in a conversation at least once by the end of the week, just to see what kind of reaction it renders.

On page 150, the narrator recalls a time he/she visited a church, “I decided to go to church.  Not because I wanted to be saved, nor because I wanted solace from the cross.  Rather, I wanted the comfort of other people’s faith.”  The narrator did not she this visit as an uplifting experience, “No wonder they talk about Jesus filling a vacuum as though human beings were thermos flasks.  This was the vacuous place I’d ever been.  God my be compassionate but he must have some taste.”  The narrator seems to have no use for religion and sees no point in it; describing it pretty much as a filler to peoples’ lives, giving them nothing in return.

A passage on 176 caught my attention, “DIY has never caught on.  There’s something macabre about making your own coffin.  You can buy boat kits, house kits, garden furniture kits, but not coffin kits.  Providing the holes wer pre-drilled and properly lined up I forsee no disasters.  Wouldn’t it be the tenderest thing to do for the beolved?”  I can’t tell if the narrator is being serious or not, but something about make-your-own-coffin doesn’t really sit right.  Probably cheaper though 

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2 Responses to “The conclusion of Written on the Body”

  1. Esther said

    Ryan, I have to say, the church bit threw me, too. The narrator claims that he/she went to church to find solace in other people’s faith, but I think that it’s obvious that such was not really the goal. This is made especially clear by the references of Jesus being a wrestler, etc. While entertaining, I’m not sure where to fit these in with the rest of the story. Is it that religion has fallen apart and there is no truth to it, but many truths, none of which are true? To a large part, it seems that this was the author’s outlet for personal sentiments, but I’m not allowed to say that, so this is me pretending that I didn’t.

  2. Marina said

    (I know this is late but I wanted to comment anyway…)

    I kind of liked the little anatomy section because I felt like it really displayed the only connection the narrator had with Louise throughout the entire novel. The narrator was so obsessed with Louise’s body that the full blown anatomy and sexuality tied to it was the narrators way to feel close to Louise when away from her. The “ride you like a nightmare” line was definitely interesting…but I feel like if you were to use that in a conversation with someone they it probably wouldn’t turn out well, haha. I’m not even sure what I would say or do if someone said that to me.

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