thjazi: Sketch of goofy smiling Enjolras (Default)
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Well, that's what my edition says, anyway!  Discuss away!

3.2.6

Date: 2014-06-12 02:09 am (UTC)
bobbiewickham: Kalinda Sharma of The Good Wife (Default)
From: [personal profile] bobbiewickham
I love this view of Michelle as she recovers, demanding answers desperately and angrily from Tellmarch, and not getting anything but vague, sheepish demurrals and irrelevant patronizing warnings about her health (which reminds me of the doctor’s treatment of Fantine in M-sur-M).

Tellmarch evades because he feels guilty, even though his impulse is always to save his fellow man, even if the fellow man isn’t acting much like it. He who saves the wolf kills the prey. I love the complexity of Tellmarch here. He is the kind of man it’s easy to portray as saintly: he stays out of politics, he stays out of any worldly affairs, he is wholly non-violent, he loves nature and simple life (shades of Valjean), and he will help anyone who crosses his path. But his isolation and indiscriminate mercy has its price. We’ve already seen the bloody consequences of his mercy to Lantenac (and I love how Hugo adds that Lantenac certainly stopped thinking of Tellmarch long ago), but now we’re seeing the harmful consequences of his isolation. Because of his ways, he’s the town oddball, and can’t get answers for Michelle.

Michelle’s dark night of the soul, her anger, her desire to die so she can be a protective spirit for her children—all of these are great, despite Hugo’s irritating aside about women and motherhood. That aside perfectly encapsulates the idiocy of the patriarchal worldview. A mother isn’t a woman, she’s a “female,” animal but divine, inferior but also somehow superior, but never equal, never capable of reason, and never human. A beast of burden who is occasionally given lip-service and called an angel.

Michelle descends into despair, and comes through it into action, and she marches off to find her children. And it is heroic, fuck you very much, Hugo.

Date: 2014-06-12 04:14 pm (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
"a cure is a paternity," Like Cimourdain, who feels an even deeper affinity to Gauvain after saving his life (both times, actually!) The healing contribution is an indirect way of "parenting" someone—this "fatherly" relationship contrasts to Michelle’s motherhood, which is more physical and earthly. At least, according to this narrator.

"Hence there was a certain dread regarding him." We talked in the first part about how Tellmarch’s saving Lantenac actually didn’t come back to bite him, personally—he let the guy go free to slaughter people, but Tellmarch personally wasn’t then attacked by Lantenac, and in some sense this is kind of avoiding consequences. Here, we see that there is a price Tellmarch has to pay, not for any specific actions, but for being the kind of guy who saves people without question while everyone else is busy with civil war. He’s cut off from his social environment, and can’t even get any information to help Michelle.

"You did wrong to save me," Another take on the ends and means back-and-forth. According to this logic, he shouldn’t have tried to save her life for life’s sake—she’d be better off dead where she can protect her children.

"And how to make this mother’s all-absorbing idea listen to reason? Maternity is illogical; one cannot reason with it." Up till this point the rhetoric has actually been pretty believable! She’s motivated out of the deep need to protect her children, Tellmarch doesn’t really understand because he’s never been there. It’s just here that we go from "all-absorbing" to "illogical," because reason can’t interfere with the emotions.

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