The Importance of Reading Ernest discussion

Up in Michigan > is it rape

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message 1: by Gio (new)

Gio (giobannaschlitz) this is going to be a touchy subject, but is this a gray area answer, or is it black and white? what do you think?

message 2: by Gio (new)

Gio (giobannaschlitz) yes, this is rape. its a man taking advantage of how a woman feels about him (and let's face it, she does have love-like feelings for him), and yes, she does respond to him, but inevitably, she says no. and when he's done with her, she's made to feel worthless and cry FOR HIM! just because he isn't a stranger, doesn't mean he didn't maker her do it.

seriously, this is still happening. i'm just wondering why hemingway would write this story.

message 3: by Brad (last edited Jan 14, 2009 07:19PM) (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 219 comments Mod
Again, I think this all depends on time and place.

Is it rape?

Yes. In the new millennium it is. Today "no" means "no," and he didn't stop when she said no.


No. Not in 1920s Michigan. I don't think it is. When she leaves with him in the night there is a tacit agreement that "something" is going to happen. And in the 20s -- a time teetering uneasily between the influences of 19th century coquetry, World War I's loosening of morals and the burgeoning consciousness of the possibility that women really had rights -- "no" sometimes meant "yes" -- and not just to men but to women too. At the very least we can see why there would be some confusion for him. In the culture of the time the signs she was giving were very much "yes" even if she really wanted "no" and said "no."

But maybe the latter is precisely why Hemingway wrote the story. Perhaps he himself felt it was a rape and that her "no" should have been enough, although he knew that the culture around him wouldn't see it that way. So he writes Up in Michigan from her perspective and shows the men of his day that she is violated.

I have been asked about some of the things I write about. I even had one person stop reading my book after the first story because they thought I was a sick freak for writing about infanticide. The answer for why I wrote the story I wrote was simply that I had to write it. It was in me and it had to come out, and I had to tell the truth of the characters.

I suspect the real reason Hemingway wrote this story, and all his stories, was just that...he had the story in him and he had to tell the truth of those characters. Or it could just be that I want to be Papa, so I project my own writing motives on him.

message 4: by Gio (new)

Gio (giobannaschlitz) the more i read it, the more i think that she isn't crying because of what happened, necessarily, but because her idea of love was so elevated taht when it happened, the shocking reality of it all came crashing down on her.

i still think its rape, but not in a conventional sense.

message 5: by Gary (last edited Mar 05, 2010 11:32AM) (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
I just read the story. Wow. disturbing, but was it rape?? Liz thought that she wanted it. The story says she wanted it... yet, she told him no, and he went ahead, she didn't scream, or yell, or anything....I also think things were different in the 20's. A woman was not suppose to like sex, or admit it,and was conditioned in society to say no...... i don't know. what was hemingway really trying to say here....???? hmmmmm. to me this was one of his most disturbing stories. He has several, but i'd rate this one as pretty high,as the most disturbing.

message 6: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
and jim was not exactly mr. gentle. it seems like more like sex then" making love" to me. i'd need to read it again, but maybe it was jim's first time,and he was rough because he didn't have any experience? i am assuming it must have been liz's first time,and it may have seemed disappointing to her in how it all went down, so to speak. gio is probably going to blast me one. i am waiting for it!

message 7: by Carl (new)

Carl | 3 comments The story is not a rape story at all. It is about a sensational topic so the real point gets obscured. An experienced awakened woman would not have been on that dock. The problem with Liz was she lived in a little girl fantasy world and imagined Jim to be a heroic figure when all evidence pointed to his being a brute. In effect then it is a morality tale meant to point us to see things as they are and not live in dreams of our own making. Liz has my sympathy she learned a hard lesson, Jim deserves nothing but scorn.

message 8: by Richard (new)

Richard Lawrence | 4 comments It wasn't rape at all. It was just deeply disappointing for her. She said 'No' but she wanted it, and didn't want him to stop but ultimately what he gave her lacked all tenderness, it was just drunken crap. The story is one of hope because ultimately she keeps her kindness alive, despite him being unsuitable for her.

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