Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Incest

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Incest

    I scrolled through lots of sections and did a search just to make sure an idea like this hadn't already been discussed; if I happened to miss it though, please forgive. Also, I figured this would be the best place to put a theory like this, since it deals with Pelafina. If it'd be better somewhere else though, would shumbudeh be so kind as to move it?

    Anyway. Today I found myself a nice purple pen and finally got around to translating Pelafina's letter from May 8th, 1987. I went through it line by line afterwards and something just didn't sit right with me. I'm aware that it was most likely all in her mind, and that I'm probably stretching like all hell here, but I think it's possible that Pelafina had been raped once before by 'someone she didn't know' (since she does mention the word 'again' in the letter) and the Phantom Rapist was the man in question. Also, that she did the same to Johnny.
    The only reason I even continued to consider this was because of Johnny's ridiculous promiscuosity. He stated somewhere in the middle of of Leaves (I think it was a little before the Pekinese part) that meaningless sex was a way of distracting yourself from pain - blocking things out temporarily. And when that doesn't work, he literally blocks out whatever he doesn't want to remember.
    He obviously has a boatload of mommy issues following him around. Although his mother was ill while he was growing up, I don't think that alone would have been able to turn him into the Johnny we met when we first started reading, or at the end. In all of the Whalestoe letters, Pelafina seemed far too close to him, mother or not. I think it's plausible that she might have repeatedly molested him while he was growing up, out of what she might have called love - who knows what the original rapist told her while it was taking place. It would explain why he sees himself in his dream as the disgusting Minotaur being slaughtered by something weak and beautiful, the panic attack he has when he sees the purple ink, the abandoning of Ashley and the repression of any memories dealing with her, Thumper being turned down, and the sex with women he didn't know or give two shits about. Anybody he did sexual things with that was too close to him would trigger those memories, so it makes sense that he would unconciously avoid such situations.
    While the sickness (which I'm guessing is paranoid schizophrenia; smack me if I'm way off) that Pelafina passed down to him had a large hand in turning him into the Johnny we meet at the end, I think that repressed memories such as these, plus constant drug use, plus the burden of gluing together Zampano's of Leaves all proved to be too much for his mind to handle, thus warping him into an insane monster.

    Please lemme know if this is a completely crackpot theory.
    Last edited by Knick Knack; 03-18-2006, 11:15 PM.

  • #2
    Actually, I haven't found a thread for this either...though I do think something fishy is going on between Daisy and Navy.... I have commented on it before*. Also, Pelafina's affections for Johnny are VERY odd, mother's love or not. Some of the "love" she expresses for Johnny is way beyond weird for a mom to have for her kid....being a mom to a boy, I'd know. Her expressions of love are definitely tainted with romantic and sexual feelings-- and definitely not appropriate!


    *the hallways/always part in HOL happens in some weird moment where Karen is totally in denial of what is going on between Navy and Daisy.
    Last edited by poco locomotive; 03-19-2006, 05:56 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by poco locomotive
      Actually, I haven't found a thread for this either...though I do think something fishy is going on between Daisy and Navy.... I have commented on it before*. Also, Pelafina's affections for Johnny are VERY odd, mother's love or not. Some of the "love" she expresses for Johnny is way beyond weird for a mom to have for her kid....being a mom to a boy, I'd know. Her expressions of love are definitely tainted with romantic and sexual feelings-- and definitely not appropriate!


      *the hallways/always part in HOL happens in some weird moment where Karen is totally in denial of what is going on between Navy and Daisy.
      I'm very glad to see I'm not the only one who noticed this!
      Pelafina's letter from March 19th, 1988 also supports this idea, I think. She kept talking about how badly she wanted to protect Johnny from the pains of living and loving. The fact that she associated love with pain only further enforces the idea that she had been raped once before; that and the inappropriate intimacy of her letters only lead me to believe that she's unable to differenciate between the different kinds of love(love for a parent, for a spouse, for a child, etc). Thus, pedophilia.

      Comment


      • #4
        "My darling J,
        I remain your only Mary"
        Do you suppose she means the Virgin or Magdalen?

        Comment


        • #5
          I still maintain that she never abused Johnny. She, of course, would associate love with pain. Her husband put her away and then died. Her son didn't visit as much as he should. She probably (according to one of the "coded" letters) had a little sumpin sumpin going on with Zampano, who clearly had issues.
          And, Knick Knack, I'll say again that I don't think he "didn't give two shits" about the women he had sex with. I think he wanted to care very deeply for each one of them.

          f_s, that Mary thing really got to me the other night, when I was skimming through the book. If it means the Virgin Mary, could that mean Johnny was a product of rape?
          I can't get to my book at the moment, but does it actually say that Donny was her husband? I know she refers to Donny as Johnny's father, but I don't recall her referring to him as her husband. Could Donny have been the rapist, and Johnny a product of the rape?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by katatonic
            I still maintain that she never abused Johnny. She, of course, would associate love with pain. Her husband put her away and then died. Her son didn't visit as much as he should. She probably (according to one of the "coded" letters) had a little sumpin sumpin going on with Zampano, who clearly had issues.
            And, Knick Knack, I'll say again that I don't think he "didn't give two shits" about the women he had sex with. I think he wanted to care very deeply for each one of them.
            ::nods:: That does make sense. That plus her fling (if she had one) with Zampano could easily lead to that association. It really could go either way though. Thank you Mr. Ambiguous Danielewski. :/
            But I semidisagree with you on the second point; there were women that he obviously wanted to care for, like Ashley, and then there were women that he had only met an hour or two before and would probably never be seeing again, like Tatiana. I don't think those that were the latter - and there were a lot more - meant anything more to him other than a temporary distraction from internal pain.
            And didn't mean to be so crude there, sorry. ::laughs::

            Originally posted by katatonic
            f_s, that Mary thing really got to me the other night, when I was skimming through the book. If it means the Virgin Mary, could that mean Johnny was a product of rape?
            I can't get to my book at the moment, but does it actually say that Donny was her husband? I know she refers to Donny as Johnny's father, but I don't recall her referring to him as her husband. Could Donny have been the rapist, and Johnny a product of the rape?
            I had been wondering why she never refered to Donny as her husband, but I never thought of this. `Definitly need to do the second reading thing for this one. :I

            Comment


            • #7
              I'd not considered that option. As I've said elsewhere, Pelafina implores Johnny to save her 'in the name of [his] father', which has a definite religious ring to it.

              Remember, Joseph wasn't Jesus' father, he was just his mother's husband. (Man, I'll try and say something new at some point, I promise).

              Comment


              • #8
                If I was Joseph, I'd have been really pissed. Some people like kids, and don't mind raising someone else's. But if my wife got knocked up by someone else before I'd even gotten to bone her, oooh I'd be mad.
                Not to mention the fact that when she bore Joseph's children, Jesus was surely still her favorite.... all "Son of God" and "Messiah" and shit.


                Okay, sorry.
                The girl I really had in mind, Knick Knack, was that girl he met at the record store (Hailey?). He really liked her, but she got scared off by his screaming in his sleep. And then he felt really bad for scaring her. So that says he cares about her, right?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by katatonic
                  Not to mention the fact that when she bore Joseph's children, Jesus was surely still her favorite.... all "Son of God" and "Messiah" and shit.

                  Okay, sorry.
                  The girl I really had in mind, Knick Knack, was that girl he met at the record store (Hailey?).
                  Kyrie Hailey's son ? Hem, sorry !

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Pelafina's professions of love for Johnny indeed seem out of all (appropriate) proportion. Back in the dim ages, I addressed that topic from another angle here. Some things in Katatonic's posts reminded me of it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      John B, That's quite a fantastic post you referred to. You wrote my thoughts out nearly a year before I thunk them, and so well.

                      I think that Johnny was abused, I think HOL is pretty clear about this. However, I think that Kat's new idea about Johnny's paternity quite novel, and very possible. A rape could've damaged Pelafina's psyche enormously. Though she may be institutionalized, and possibly an abuser, her character does deserve sympathy.
                      When you love someone dangerous, someone legally insane, this is one of the hardest things: you want to love them entirely, and yet, you can't because you must always be on guard for your personal safety. The love is never allowed the freedom to be whole. Children have a natural inclination to love wholeheartedly. How painful to be hurt by your mother repeatedly, until you learn to keep yourself safe.
                      It would be very difficult to move forward as an adult into a loving couple relationship with this kind of personal history. And this is what leads Johnny to his sexual escapades. He does want to love his ladies with all his heart. But then he wants to tear them to pieces... poor guy can't help it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Poco,
                        Thanks to you, I'm beginning to see another similarity between Johnny and Zampanò as regards their relationships with women. But THAT's a subject for another thread.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ha. Johnny and Mary.

                          I know...1980s song. But I still like the nexus.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by John B.
                            Poco,
                            Thanks to you, I'm beginning to see another similarity between Johnny and Zampanò as regards their relationships with women. But THAT's a subject for another thread.
                            Indeed, I've had all kinds of weird thoughts this morning. If Zampano was Pelafina's rapist and also her father, what are the implications for Johnny? Imagine so much fodder for mental illness, and typically, abuse is a learned behaviour-- often referred to as a cycle of abuse that has been inherent in some families for many generations. It is sad that this is all some children grow up knowing and experiencing. It's amazing they can cope at all as adults. How horrible then to see yourself do the same thing to your own children/loved ones. It is more horrifying than a shifting .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by poco locomotive
                              ...Pelafina's rapist and also her father, what are the implications for Johnny? Imagine so much fodder for mental illness...
                              Raymond continued the lesson, his words ineffectually reverberating around me. He was trying to sound like one of his western heroes, doling out profound advice, telling me how I was only "cannon fodder" though he pronounced it like "father" and in a way that seemed to imply he was really referring to himself.
                              (p. 325)

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X