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Women & Men Chapter Discussions > 0216 still life: sisters sharing information

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (last edited Sep 28, 2012 10:05AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Discuss.

Originally published in TriQuarterly 53 (Winter 1982).


message 2: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan (nathandjoe) | 51 comments The division of labour theme played through this, I felt - not least because of explicit references to it within the chapter - particularly in Maya and Dave's relationship and the formation/development/instigation of her career. And duality too, of course, in the "different" Daves.

As for the smoking man - I felt that perhaps something of his role as an observer and interrogator of the women's narratives was important in terms of the Breather chapters etc. We shall see.

Overall I felt this a good example of Joe being clear and straightforward when necessary (i.e. proof that any obfuscation or opaqueness is deliberate - as if we would ever doubt it!) - much easier to comprehend than many of the previous sections.


message 3: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Jonathan's deleted post

#2----
"How it happened? [...] I don't care how it happened. It happened." It, how Maya wrote a book, how it got published, how the relationship between her and her SO Dave fell apart.

Maya is speaking with Sue at an Italian pastry place. (I think this is a second Sue, as in not the Sue associated with Marv and Larry, but am interested in evidence to the contrary.) Maya invited Sue to sit. They don't know each other, but they recognize each other because they both attended Grace's workshop, though they were in different sessions. Then, Sue has a second recognition. Maya wrote a book that Sue had "bought and read, a book that won an award". The origins of the book and the animosity Maya feels toward her husband are intertwined. Maya's husband is Dave, he sells phones. Sue's new fiance is also named Dave. Sue's Dave and Sue just bought a canoe together. Maya's Dave pushed what was a personal project of Maya's into a public project. He stole the manuscript and read it. He had it typed. He had it Xeroxed. He got it published. Maya thinks he did this not to be helpful, but out of the need for her to "come home with first prize or don't come home." Sue seems to be defending this Dave, it sinking in for both of them that perhaps both of their Daves are the same man. They are. (and is he Dave Shae, wood sculptor, known to Cliff?) Maya gets upset and leaves the pastry shop. Sue questions is Dave really how Maya sees him? "There's a lot to people" He isn't necessarily the same with Sue as with Maya. And perhaps Dave has changed, after all he no longer walks around the house with a toothbrush in his mouth.

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Qs

What do you make about the "male suffragette" intervening in the two women's conversation? I think perhaps he is supposed to parallel Dave, seemingly concerned about their problems as women, but with his own motives. But what are his motives? What do you make of his exaggeratedly hegemonic masculine qualities, the mustache, the blowing of smoke rings?

What are we to make of Elsa? Is she named because she will show up in another story in W&M or is she more significant to this one than I can see?

The copying and making public of a private document is at the heart of McElroy's Letter Left To Me. How does what happens in this section relate to that novel?


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