Throughout my blog post I want to address how Myriam deals with her rape through an uncensored sexual humor. Throughout the whole book, we get to know Myriam and her dark humor, but what stood out to me in these last chapters was how he she sexualizes certain instants to repress her traumatizing experience. Repression is a common mentality in all people, and the human subconscious works in ways that directs the thought through an outlet other than remembering; in this case it’s Myriam’s outlook the world in a sexualized fashion.
One-way Myriam represses her incident is by perceiving sex as an objective, which devalues the experience in a person’s life. She goes on to say “…so I gave myself a new challenge: to have sex with a married man” (p. 145), which makes the act of sex seem like a task rather than an intimate experience. By using the word “challenge,” Myriam is portraying to the audience that sex isn’t special, and just a goal for people to obtain. I feel that by devaluing sex, she is coping with her rape because the intimacy in sex was stripped away for her. She stops seeing sex as intimate, but as this tool of destruction. Another example of her devaluing sex was her experience with the drama professor. While vividly describing her sexual experience with the man, her mentality isn’t very serious. I believe that most people in this situation wouldn’t be making jokes; in this way Myriam displays that she is numb to being intimate. While in the alley with the man, he asks her “You just been diddled by a Jew. How does it feel,” to which she responds with “kosher,” (p. 149). Before I dissect this example, I want to say that this is my favorite line in the whole book. Not only is her response brilliant, but the situation is just weird. For this guy to say, “diddled by a Jew,” is just plain weird but oddly hysterical. It is kind of one of those lines where the person on the receiving end quietly laughs to themselves, and moves on, but Myriam answers with “kosher.” The reason she can respond in a witty way, while being against a wall in a sexual situation, is because of her lack of intimacy. Even if Myriam altered the situation while writing the book to make it funnier, her choosing to say or add a joke at that moment is her way of showing the reader how little sex means to her. Nevertheless, her use of satire in this situation exemplifies her lack of value in sex due to her traumatizing experience.
Even though Myriam is repressing the memory of her rape, she still gives insight to how it affects her mind. As the reader we travel through Myriam’s life, just to figure out how her trauma dictates her behavior. We analyze her dark humor, her way with people, and investigate her psyche. In these later chapters, she starts to directly connect her behavior to her experience more often than we’ve seen through the rest of the book; one instance really stood out to me. On page 153, Myriam’s use of anaphora really describes how derailed she has become due to the lose of her innocence. The repetition of “chaos” reflects how the memory of her rape is constantly bouncing around her head, as if she feels lost in her own mind. I really liked how Myriam breaks the anaphora with “the haunting.” This solidifies to the reader that her own memory is following her around like a ghost, giving a constant reminder of what happened to her. Nevertheless, Myriam is followed around by her trauma and continues to devalue sex because of her experience.
Question to answer:
Do you believe that Myriam uses the devaluing of sex to repress her trauma? What is another example of this in the text, and what significance does it have on the analysis of her behavior?