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Women & Men Chapter Discussions > 0914 daughter of the revolution

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (last edited Sep 28, 2012 10:07AM) (new)

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

Originally published in Antaeus 52 (Spring 1984) and reprinted in Prize Stories 1982: The O. Henry Awards.

message 2: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments Terrific summary, Jonathan. Thank you.

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

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

Luce, the narrator of this chapter, writes in the first person in her notebook 'helter skelter like a letter, and why write words after all if not to somebody?'. If the words are to somebody, they are to a daughter of the (sexual) revolution, Maureen, who Luce had first seen in Grace's (and eventually Maureen's) building's elevator carrying baby's breath in a cone of green paper up to Grace Kimball's Body-Self space, this happening more than a month before Luce met Maureen at a swing in Luce's building in late '75.

Luce: 'What was the matter with me that I fell in love with that girl?' Luce grows attached to Maureen but Grace (who Luce refers to as Maureen's 'beloved leader', her 'mother superior') comes between them. Luce understands how Grace took Maureen 'from a buxom Miss America catatonically walking through boyfriends' to someone 'mentally at least determined to save herself', but still sees Grace's philosophies as tied with 'provincial evangelism' and Grace as destructive in her 'addict[ion] to Change', in her defining Maureen's 'bonding' with Luce as something to be severed for the sake of self-sufficiency. Grace spurs Maureen (successfully) to 'no-attachments' right when Luce begins to entertain the idea of moving in with Maureen.

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After Maureen's departure from Luce, Maureen's departure from NYC. She leaves to be close to her mother and father in Florida, and explores enema therapy.

Grace contacts Luce, and Luce surprisingly seems to entertain an uncertain relationship (she understands the seduction of Grace at least), though is not afraid to speak her mind to Grace:

I pointed out to Grace Kimball that in wanting to be a 'top', a business, a (God! a) vagina that is much more than a subtly hooded cock and its patient balls (lower extension of, i.e., a shape of, outer lips), and its claims to ejaculate, and in sashaying around like a boy trying to look like a man or whatever I am trying to say, Grace was further confusing what a woman is. She said I may be right, but so what?

Grace asks Luce to go into business with her.

One day, Maureen phones Luce: 'and taking the receiver and drawing it close to my ear and my mouth, I realized that I didn't see Maureen as a victim any more.'


Relatively self-contained, some tendrils from outside the chapter creep in (as some tendrils from this chapter likewise creep out). Jimmy, the "retarded" bike messenger is mentioned. Maureen stopped helping the messenger union because only one woman messenger could be found. Around this time, Jimmy realizes he's 'being exploited by a man [Spence] who had infiltrated a small theater group because he believed it was a front for some bloody escapade to do with Latin American politics and the clandestine history of a Middle Atlantic newspaper family...'

Mayn and a few other tenants of Mayn and Grace's building are mentioned in the context of Maureen's role as 'a leader of the building when the landlord drag[s] his heels', drags his heels when it comes to things like rats in the building, or a boiler gushing oil, or brick chips coming off the building and falling onto the street and sidewalk.

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