Friday, May 26, 2006

Citizen X (1995)

Uploaded a new review of Citizen X at Viewpoint.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Long Loneliness (139-166)

This section encorporates the end of "Love Overflows" and "Jobs and Journeys." The latter is the last section of Part II: Natural Happiness.

There is a distant, sketchy quality to some of these passages that I found familiar. In those rare times that I have looked back on my own journals I have noticed long silences during significant changes in my life, silences that seem to testify to the fact that life was occuring.

I also found it interesting that Day reports an increase in her feelings of isolation upon joining the church rather than a decrease. There's a lot of truth to that, I thought. Before joining the church, her relationships were found on common interests, goals, desires. Fellowship was easier. The association in an institution often feels like a familial one--the bonds being external, feeling arbitrary.

Do not those in the church have common interests, goals, desires? Should they not? Why does it always feel as though the closeness to other Christians is a mandated chore rather than an affinity? Certainly in Day's case, it is easy to see that the institution stood (if only symbolically) against ideas and people whom she held dear. One hopes that the reality of the people one meets in the church dissolves one's false image of the church and makes it easier to challenge one's own stereotypes. Day says, though, that she often attended mass, gave confession, etc. but "after three years" she still "did not know personally one Catholic layman" (166).

I suppose of especial interest is the fact that Day uses the phrase that makes her title in this section. She claims that women are "especially" social beings, "who are not content with just husband and family, but must have a community, a group, an exchange with others" (157-8). "Young and old, even in the busiest years of our lives, we women especially are victims of the long loneliness" (158).

I'm not sure I buy this, any more than I buy generalizations about gender made by John Grey in Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus...Do I think men and women are essentially different in some ways? Yes, I suppose so. But whenever someone tries to articulate those differences, the descriptions strike me as too pat, too generalized. I know some women who claim to be and appear to be deeply introverted, who don't seem to be "especially" social nor particularly dependant upon an exchange with others. I know some men who need a community, who can do just about anything except be in alone with themselves for five minutes.

But that is too nitpicky, I think. Why must I pick the sentence out of a 100 that makes me say, "I disagree" rather than listen to those parts which resonate and connect and learn what I can from them?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Long Loneliness (109-138)

Yes, I am still reading the Long Loneliness. What with buying a house, getting in final grades, graduation, etc., I'm behind. What else is new?

I'm also slogging through this section because a lot of it is about the joy of giving birth, how every woman's deepest desire is to be a mother, etc.

But I don't mean to be glib.

Clearly having a child was an important paradigm shift in Day's life, and reading about it did make me think about how living for someone other than yourself can be clarifying for those facing existential, theological, or religious quandries.

Day writes:

"I had been passing through some years of fret and strife, beauty and ugliness--even some weeks of sadness and despair. There had been periods of intense joy but seldom had there been the quiet beauty and happiness I had now" (135).

Nothing profound, but one of the interesting aspects of Day's writing is the way in which she differentiates similar emotional states. It leads to my thinking about what the difference might be between happiness and joy, sadness and despair, etc.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

April Viewing Log

*= a second (or later) viewing
4/7--Elizabethtown (DVD)
4/7--Domino (DVD)
4/12--La Promesse (DVD)
4/18--We Don't Live Here Any More (DVD)
4/18--Million Dollar Baby* (DVD)
4/27--Aeon Flux (DVD)
4/27--Capote* (DVD)
Hmmm. April was not exactly the cruellest month, but in terms of movie watching, well I was grading a lot of papers and moving, so not much of interest on the slate. La Promesse (Dardennes) was probably the best. I thought Aeon Flux and Domino were stupid, but give a special prize to Elizabethtown for being irritatingly bad.