Saturday, March 29, 2014

"LONGING TO TAME ME"

There is a remarkable moment in Elena Ferrante’s novel "The Lost Daughter" when the narrator, a middle-aged professor of literature, recalls a scene from her married life. She has just quarrelled with her husband, and wants to run from the house, “forget it and forget everything.” Her two young daughters enter the kitchen. One of them, Bianca, picks up an orange and a knife, hands them to her mother, and asks her to peel the fruit. Make a snake, she says. The girls sit in front of their mother, quietly expectant. “I felt their gazes longing to tame me,” the narrator recalls...
From a book review in The New Yorker by James Wood of another book by Jenny Offill, titled Dept. of Speculation.  I'm not sure whether non-subscribers can read it in its entirety.

Although I wanted children very much, the reality of mothering came hard for me once the children arrived. I was not a natural, and, though I did my best, I always thought I fell short in many ways. And yes, there were times when I fantasized about running away.

When I read the words “I felt their gazes longing to tame me...”, I gasped, because they describe quite well a thread that runs throughout my entire life (from my perspective) of other people wanting to tame me.

This morning, I told Grandpère about my seemingly life-long resistance to taming.  He laughed, but I had the impression that he thought I needed taming, though he denied any attempts to tame me.  I guess it depends upon one's point of view, because I consider him to be the main tamer who tries to tame my inner lioness, at least since my children are grown.  Still, I admit the possibility that the old lioness is yet in need of taming.  I will buy the two books, because the writers seem like kindred spirits.

5 comments:

Nij said...

Mimi, remember le Petit Prince and his rose? :>) nij

Nij said...

Mimi, remember le Petit Prince and his rose? :>) nij

Ann said...

I think you just get wilder and wilder if any try to tame you. Sit and wait by the well - that is what we need to do for each other. Wishing you fierce joy!

Grandmère Mimi said...

And remember the fox the Little Prince tamed. The fox cried when the LP left. When we care, we are tamed.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Thank you, Ann. What you say about getting wilder is probably right, but it seems to me that any relationships with others results in taming, and the best kind is mutual.