A Literary Un-Valentine’s Day


每个情人节我们都被真正的爱情和激情的理想形象轰炸,并且为了不幸的爱情,假期可能难以胃。从展示事项可能更糟的情况下,我们提供了两个文学反爱情场景,取自数字页面Literature Criticism Online

考虑海伦的困境一切顺利那treated in volume 163 ofShakespearean Criticism。她治疗威胁生命的疾病之王and his reward is to grant her a choice of husbands from the royal court. She chooses Bertram, a count who thinks he is too good for her and who absconds immediately following their wedding. He vows to recognize their marriage only if she becomes pregnant with his child—a seemingly impossible task given that he refuses to consummate the union. So Helen resorts to trickery in complicity with the sympathetic Diana, a young girl who is the object of Bertram’s affection, and her widowed mother. Helen slips into bed with Bertram, who thinks he is cuddling with Diana, manages to get pregnant, and claims her husband. As Michael Bristol notes in the aptly-named essay “How Dark Was It in That Room?,” no less a reader than Katherine Mansfield claimed to be “scandalized” by the scene:


Flannery O’Connor devised an even darker tryst in “Good Country People,” which is covered in短篇小说批评volume 168。这个故事涉及一个不满意的三十两岁的女子,名叫Hulga,他和她的母亲一起生活在南部社区农村社区。Hulga有一个博士学位。在哲学中,但在狩猎事故中的弱心脏和腿部的损失让她远离巢穴。孤独和闷闷不乐,她通过试图对她的传统母亲对其存在主义,无神论和虚无主义的看法来对抗她的传统母亲。有一天,一位名叫曼利指针的圣经推销员到达和魅力夫人,希望一串关于基督教的陈词滥调。Hulga最初被他厌恶,后来决定了她可以用简单的男孩用她的卓越的智慧来玩具。As Christina Bieber Lake notes in her essay “Body Matters,” Hulga “imagines that she will disabuse him of his innocence by seducing and abandoning him, because ‘true genius can get an idea across even to an inferior mind.’” At Hulga’s suggestion, she and Pointer go on a picnic and eventually end up in the hay loft of a barn where—to her surprise—the Bible salesman shows that he is not innocent at all. He kisses her and talks her into removing her prosthetic leg, after which he produces a hollowed-out Bible containing whiskey, pornographic playing cards, and condoms. He laughs at her sense of superiority, explaining, “I been believing in nothing ever since I was born.” Taking the prosthetic leg as a prize, he leaves the bewildered Hulga in the barn alone.

And so if this February 14th finds you without a valentine, take heart. At least you aren’t Bertram with a baby on the way, or solitary Hulga in a hayloft without a leg to stand on.

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