By Terry Keefe (auth.)
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Additional resources for Simone de Beauvoir
Indeed, it soon becomes easy to forget just how unusual is the degree to which they freely spell out thoughts and feelings about all aspects of their lives. Many critics, however, have seen this very ideal itself as the crucial source of the couple's problems in the story. Not uncommonly, for instance, it is asserted or implied that they are attempting something impossible in aiming to formulate all of their feelings in words. This view seems often to be accompanied by the belief that there are forms of communication (or 'communion') between human beings that are somehow superior to the verbal form, although what exacdy these amount to is usually left vague.
Pascal's anxiety and belated action are to no avail: Anne dies within days of this incident. The mysteriousness of her death arises, in the text, from lack of detail and the brevity with which much is now narrated. Like the absence of narrative from Anne's viewpoint, the uncertainty that this generates throws the emphasis upon how others have seen Anne and used her, or an image of her, for their own purposes. Pascal, Chan tal and Mme Vignon all interpret her death in a way that suits them. Pascal's version of spiritualism involves, now, persuading hirnself that he loved Anne and is experiencing great and pure suffering.
The suggestion that self-deception is inseparably linked with spiritualism is actually more plausible in connection with the first category of characters than with the second. And a number of the girls in the stories are manifestly more than mere passive victims, being capable of resisting at least the form of spiritualism constituted by the condi- 30 Simone de Beauvoir tioning attempted by their mothers. Andree and Marguerite - even, in certain specific respects, Marcelle - display significant independence in their attitudes and actions, and Anne herself is far from entirely obedient to her mother.
Simone de Beauvoir by Terry Keefe (auth.)