joi, 21 iulie 2011

Emma c'est toi!

Madame Bovary is one of the most important French novels of the 19Th century. It is vastly regarded as Flaubert's most important work, and is also considered socially relevant because it inadvertently served to inspire, if not signal the dawn of feminism. Flaubert's adulterous heroine, the author's alter-ego of sorts, was happy in her transgressions, her actions seemingly justified by her dull and lifeless marriage.
But getting back to our main "raison d'être", let us whet your appetite as to the novel we have chosen to feature on our website:

Madame Bovary is the story of Emma Bovary, an unhappily married woman who seeks escape through forbidden relationships with other men. The book could be viewed as an expose of the situation of women in the 19Th century; women who had not yet been emancipated and were expected to obey their husbands, to stay in their homes while the men went to work, or left for months on end to fight in wars. Emma Bovary also serves as a voice for Flaubert, who patterned the character's personality after his own. Emma Bovary's "rebellious" attitude against the accepted ideas of the day, reflects Flaubert's views of the bourgeoisie. Ultimately, Madame Bovary's indiscretions and her obsession with Romance lead to her downfall, which not only appeases the guardians of morality, but shows us Flaubert's view of the world wasn't one of naive optimism.

It is not without purpose that Flaubert asserted (and billions of other people, after him) 'Madame Bovary s'est moi'. He manages to capture real, thinkable thoughts that every humane being can have at a certain time. But why do so many people identify themselves with this colorful and picturesque character, Emma? Is it because she's frail, vulnerably delicate and incredible beautiful - how one would imagine being, as a character in a book (yes, I am pointing mostly at the feminine part of the 'cast'). Or is it because Emma is what we like to call a dreamer - unhappy, but hopping... Or maybe because every single soul is longing for everlasting love, and that eagerness excuses her for everything?

She is a horrible woman, without a doubt. The way she treats her baby, her husband, her mother-in-law, the way she has no sympathy for the poor, the needy, the helpless around her, the way she spends her time and money on egocentric rubble, makes Emma a despicable woman. But! We can't help loving her, understanding her, appreciating what she stands for. And there is a pretty good reason for that. She was created perfect. Not as a humane being, but as a character. She is a perfect character. We understand her! That's why we love her. Because we understand. And when she lets her feelings free and dares to fantasise about the Vicomte, we too aspire for that fantasy to come true, to apprehend that everlasting love trapped in a smile, that heart-skipping line, that soft, barely noticeable touch. And again, we understood her love for Leon, too, as there is a pure feeling, a real intense struggle that needs gazing and poetry. We understand the despair and the need of poison, the need to give up all the consequences of all the bad decision she took.
Is just... Somehow it's not fair, because we - the readers - were next to her when she took all her decisions (let me be!) and we supported her, we too smiled shyly when she was pacing on forbidden paths - because we too were thrilled by having the courage or the insanity to act that way. So I find it unfair. Full Stop. I find the ending unfair because she dies and I got to learn about the apothecary's affairs... The rightness of my reading experience has to press a red light and to admit that I would have been overexcited if something had happened to me too. If I would have died with her - the end. - or if her death would have driven Charles to be a less mediocre person.
Some people might consider her type of character doomed to an unhappy life. I rather consider her brave for not giving up the desire to live more, to feel more, to love more, be it for her own unhappiness.

Damn hard to write on such a delicate topic in english, I'll quit for now and start again after I've finished reading my one thousand book. Grrr...

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miercuri, 20 iulie 2011

Fragment 2. - Madame Linda

'Have I ever told you how I ended up living here?'
Madame Linda was in a good mood that morning. Usually she doesn't talk to anybody, not until she has breakfast and tea. She sits there, alone, looking through the window. I can't imagine what she has to stare at, the view hasn't changed for the last fifteen years. Yes, maybe the trees have grown older, thicker and their shade has become darker, but there are still the same trees...
I turned and faced her. 'You haven't.' Then I waited. Would she tell me? Would I have to ask her? She was not looking as if she was thinking of ways to start the story. We all knew that she was not like all of us, just old and sick, we knew there was more to Madame Linda, but no one ever got to hear her story. No one was interested in it, after fifteen years, because no one really believed that she would ever tell it. And then she just hit me with this question. And why would she pick me, from all the people living here? We were not good friends and I was ten years younger than her. Not to mention I was 'in the wrong gang', as Mister Johnson used to say, 'don't befriend the nurses, they are in the opposite gang', he used to say. He is dead now. But that doesn't get me down, as I know that he's in a better place.
'Do you want me to tell you?' madame Linda asked, awaking me from my daydreaming.
'If you wish...'
'I just need you to do me a favour.'
'OK', I said reluctantly, knowing that this favour could be anything, from a sip of cold water to a key to help her escape.
'I need a cigarette', she said quietly, with to much emphasis on 'need'. My eyes widened as her lips, curled upwards, told me that there still was a spoiled child inside Madame Linda, one that wouldn't speak unless she received what she demanded.
'You know that it is against the rules, in here...' I said, standing up.
'I know, I know', she said dismissively, 'now go get me one!'
I walked towards the building. As soon as the wind touched me with its spring fresh breeze, an idea crossed my mind. What if this one little cigarette would get me fired? But a burning red little devil on my shoulder whispered in my ear. 'What if this one little cigarette would make her speak?!' I had to try it...
I reached into my purse and looked for my cigarettes. I took one out and put it into my pocket. Then I rushed back into the garden.
On my way back I bumped into Madame Tania, the householder.
'What's the rush?' she asked me, gazing over her tiny glasses.
'Nothing, I just need some fresh air...'
'You'll get some fresh air when you'll finish your duties. Now, please, if you would be so sweet to check on Mr. Edward, he needs assistance with his aerobic classes.'
'Yes, M-am.'
'Where are you going, the sport hall is in the other side.'
'Oh, he was in the garden just a minute ago. I'll go there first and if he's still out I'll help him to the hall.'
Was it obvious I was lying? Did she just let me go because she didn't want to bother arguing with me? I don't know. I rushed into the garden to find... an empty bench. All the other benches, lining up in a semi circle, had people sitting, but Madame Linda was nowhere to be found. I had to ask around but apparently no one had seen her all morning. That was strange, as I remember seeing the same old people just five minutes ago, while sharing the same bench with Madame Linda. I burst into laughing as I remembered that I actually believed what a bunch of old crazy people were saying to me. I decided to look for Madame Linda, when I saw Madame Tania and two other nurses that I did not know coming in my direction.
'Stay right there, Linda.' Madame Tania almost shouted.
Was she talking to me? I stopped and watch them approaching.
'Hi, Linda. I thought you were going to help...'
'Look, she holds it in her hand', said one of the nurses, pointing towards my cigarette. She snatched it and looked at it closely. 'It's mine, I told you!'
Madame Tania took in a deep breath and looked at me questionably. 'Where did you got this cigarette, Linda?'
'From my purse, in the office.'
'That was my purse!' said the nurse.
'How many time should I say this to you, Linda, patients have no business in the office. Not even the patients who do voluntary work around here...'

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marți, 19 iulie 2011

Fragment 1.

Just for the pleasure (more pain though...) of exercising writing in English, I decided to write whatever crosses my mind, for a number of days. Do forgive my inevitable mistakes, I am still learning this game...


I found you standing on the cliff edge, facing the sunrise. I crept closer to you and held your hand. You didn't object in any way, you just stood there, as if my presence couldn't do anything to change your mood or your thoughts. The sun was slowly rising, making you're pale face look colourful. I felt trapped in my own body as the stillness hid some sort of living creature that I had feared. How long did we stay like that? A minute? An hour? A day? I can't remember. I just stood there, frozen in the moment, observing you're expression, as you were wandering around contemplating the infinite.
Then you turned to me. 'Let's go, it's time', you said, and the spell broke. 'We have a warm body waiting in the car.'
'I don't know about it's warmth', I said, trying to cut the strains of that stressful morning, and let it fly free, out of our heads, out of our memories. 'Have you thought what you wanna do with it?'
Oh, your mischievous dark eyes! How you love to trick me into stepping over my sanity line... 'We have to eat it, and we have to eat it all, no proof must remain after our feast'. Something inside me woke up and started screaming. It was me, inside of myself, naked and scared, struggling to discover if that was still love or was it insanity by now? 'Wait', I said, feeling my blood boiling under my skin, 'really, you want us to EAT it?'. You were heading towards the car. You turned your head and let a smile lit your face. 'Unless you are a vegetarian and you don't want to ruin your habits for this silly situation we've created', and you pointed towards the back of the car. 'No, but... It has to be other way. It has to be another way out!'
'I have barbecue sauce...' but you met my silence. 'Do you trust me?' you continued. 'You really chose your moment right here.' But your intense gaze told me that I would need to answer. Oh, how silly was I? 'I do...'
'Then jump in the car and let's dump this garbage in the closest river.'

We drove for half an hour, through some sort of arid lands that I never saw before. 'Where are we?' I asked. 'Not safe, yet.' Then I heard a noise from the back of the car. 'What was that?' You're face shown concern as you pulled the car and took your gun from under my chair. 'Wait here', you said. My heart started pounding faster and an distressing sound echoed in my head. I could not stay in the car. I could not bare the thought that I was not witnessing the last important moment of this... adventure. You opened the trunk and a contorted, bloody body appeared. The pungent odor made my eyes sting. 'Give me a hand, while you're here. Grab his legs and let's dump it here.' I did as required. You nodded you're head and we both lifted the body, then dumped in on the road. 'Now move the car a few steps ahead.' I mechanically took the key from you and started the engine. As the gunshot made my heart skip a beat, I saw you in the mirror, bend over the body, blood spreading all over your clothes and face. 'Now let's go!' I guess I looked terrified as you jumped in you seat and left the body standing there, inert. We drove another half an hour in silence. Neither of us had anything to say. I had a million questions pounding in my head but didn't have the courage to open my mouth. I was not afraid, I was not afraid of you but of what could have happened to us if... 'At leas we did not have to eat it', you said with a crooked smile. 'You were joking, right?' I asked, my eyes still on the empty road.
'Now, where to?'