Monday, November 1, 2010

Tell me about your mother.

Current book: The World According to Garp
Pages read: 62 - 120

Garp graduates from Steering and decides to go to Europe instead of college, but he takes his mother with him. He's ostensibly learning to be a writer, but Jenny ends up writing a 1,500 page autobiography while he works on one short story. He corresponds the whole time with Helen, eventually proposing to her via letter. She denies him at first, but we'll see what happens next, because she seems likely to change her mind.

That's really all that happens of substance in these pages, but clearly the relationship between Garp and his mother is just odd as hell. She insists on coming to Austria with him, but he lets her get away with it, and then they live together while they're there. He fulfills the caretaker role, largely because he speaks German and she doesn't, and does the cooking and shopping. They also get into these weird arguments about lust, since Jenny has never felt any and thinks it's disgusting when Garp does. Garp sleeps with some prostitutes and gets the clap, as well, but it's sort of peripheral, and Jenny doesn't find out.

I don't have a lot to say right now, other than that the relationship with Jenny and Garp is strange. I guess she wants to infantalize him, since he's all she has in the world, but she also reacts very strongly to his interest in sex, I think because of her general distaste for men and the sexuality she thinks they represent. I suppose, if we were to give Jenny a modern label, we'd call her asexual. She seems to think everyone else ought to be, too. Honestly, I don't like her much, but Garp isn't a whole lot better. He seems to be going through an adolescent disdain phase where he thinks nothing is good enough for him. I hope he grows out of it.

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