LITERATURE: The Body Artist – Story

And so, with a more open-minded approach to the reading, (and I must say, relief that the rest of the book does not follow in the trail of style that upset me so in the first chapter), I find some gems here:

How completely strange it suddenly seemed that major corporations mass-produced bread crumbs and packaged and sold them everywhere in the world and she looked at the bread-crumb carton for the first true time, really seeing it and understanding what was in it, and it was bread crumbs.

She sat in the panelled room and tried to read.  First she’d build a fire.  It was a room designed aspiringly for a brandy and a fire, a failed room, perversely furnished, and she drank tea and tried to read a book.  But she’d make her way through a page and stare indifferently at objects fixed in space.

(…)  There were too many things to understand and finally just one.  (p. 31)

This is when Laura returns home alone after her husband’s suicide.  We get a sense of her mood in this sudden change in her life, the trying to comprehend the impossible and yet seeing the minor details so clearly of everyday items and actions she never stopped to think about before.  This is a refocusing on what may be understandable, thus avoiding the bigger question of her husband’s sudden "goneness."  I’ve seen this as well as a touching back to reality, when the reality of tragedy and shock overwhelms, when it has deceived by making one believe in it, and then finding it unstable, unsecured, unreal.  The body that lay next to you nightly just stops being there one day, never to return.  Was it ever there?  You doubt, you question, and Delillo has given a very straightforward and reliable picture of the unreliability of life.

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2 Responses to LITERATURE: The Body Artist – Story

  1. Mark says:

    Not to mention the guilt of maybe feeling partially responsible for his suicide?

  2. susan says:

    Yes, this too I’m sure. I missed that point and it’s very likely the feeling of noticing everything, because you never noticed the one thing of such great importance that you might have seen coming and even prevented. Thanks!

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