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In this traditional research topic paper, explore the concept of social isolation in "Rappaccini's Daughter", "On the hospital", and "Geek Love". Feel free to bring in research involving current events and to bring in discussion of related topics such as—for example—social distancing during the pandemic, the effects of quarantining, and loneline. Discuss all three texts together. The challenge is to put all three texts into dialog in the paper, instead of having mini-discussions that are not connected to the other texts.

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1) On the Hospital

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Ellen Samuels htt : www.ro uea ent'ourna|.com esamuels ON THE HOSPITAL When I say I'm at the hospital, everyone sits up and pays attention. The hospital isserious. The hospital means business. Is there anything we can do? people say to thehospital. But the hospital is just a place I go sometimes when I am well enough to leave my house. All these weeks and months I spend at home, drifting the plumb of bed's expanse.The hospital is not a building. The hospital is here, this pale inland sea. My mouth is the hospital, opening for the words I can't think how to say.My hands are the hospital, reaching for the spoon handle before it drops.The sound of the spoon hitting the floor is the hospital. The hospital is the shirt I unpeel from my heat-slick back, and the clean shirt I take fromthe stack and drag over my head is the hospital. The basket of unfolded laundry in the living room all week is the hospital. In the center of my heartbone I feel the hospital beating, through days and nights thatbleed into days like a pink-coated pill touched with wet fingers leaks its shell until youdecide whether to take it or throw it away. My dog's grunts and startles beside me, her trembling repetitive dreams, are the hospital. The sour at the back of my throat when my breath stops in the folds of night tastes of thehospital. The pillow I twist to an easier spot, the sheet that escapes from the mattress corner, thequilt knotted around my belly, these are the hospital. This animal burrow, this rumpled cot, fevered skin and dog's fir and cotton sheets allpetaled together, this is the hospital. And it is home. This is home and the hospital. ...

2) Rappacinis Daughter

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Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864 . Rappaccini's DaughterElectronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library RAPPACCINI' S DAUGHTER [From the Writings of Aubepine.] WE do not remember to have seen any translated specimens of the productions of M. del'Aubépine -- a fact the less to be wondered at, as his very name is unknown to many of his owncountrymen as well as to the student of foreign literature. As a writer, he seems to occupy anunfortunate position between the Transcendentalists (who, under one name or another, havetheir share in all the current literature of the world) and the great body of pen-and-ink men whoaddress the intellect and sympathies of the multitude. If not too refined, at all events too remote,too shadowy, and unsubstantial in his modes of development to suit the taste of the latter class,and yet too popular to satisfy the spiritual or metaphysical requisitions of the former, he mustnecessarily find himself without an audience, except here and there an individual or possibly anisolated clique. His writings, to do them justice, are not altogether destitute of fancy andoriginality; they might have won him greater reputation but for an inveterate love of allegory,which is apt to invest his plots and characters with the aspect of scenery and people in theclouds, and to steal away the human warmth out of his conceptions. His fictions are sometimeshistorical, sometimes of the present day, and sometimes, so far as can be discovered, have littleor no reference either to time or space. In any case, he generally contents himself with a veryslight embroidery of outward manners, —— the faintest possible counterfeit of real life, —— andendeavors to create an interest by some less obvious peculiarity of the subject. Occasionally abreath of Nature, a raindrop of pathos and tenderness, or a gleam of humor, will find its wayinto the midst of his fantastic imagery, and make us feel as if, after all, we were yet within thelimits of our native earth. We will only add to this very cursory notice that M. de l'Aubépine'sproductions, if the reader chance to take them in precisely the proper point of View, may amusea leisure hour as well as those of a brighter man; if otherwise, they can hardly fail to lookexcessively like nonsense. Our author is voluminous; he continues to write and publish with as much praiseworthy andindefatigable prolixity as if his efforts were crowned with the brilliant success that so justlyattends those of Eugene Sue. His first appearance was by a collection of stories in a long seriesof volumes entitled "Contes deux fois racontées." The titles of some of his more recent works(we quote from memory) are as follows: "Le Voyage Céleste a Chemin de Fer," 3 tom., 1838;"Le nouveau Pere Adam et la nouvelle Mere Eve," 2 tom., 1839; "Roderic; ou le Serpent a ...

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l'estomac," 2 tom., 1840; "Le Culte du Feu," a folio volume of ponderous research into thereligion and ritual of the old Persian Ghebers, -1 044- published in 1841; "La Soiree du Chateau en Espagne," 1 tom., 8vo, 1842; and "L'Artiste duBeau; ou le Papillon Mécanique," 5 tom., 4to, 1843. Our somewhat wearisome perusal of thisstartling catalogue of volumes has left behind it a certain personal affection and sympathy,though by no means admiration, for M. de l'Aubépine; and we would fain do the little in ourpower towards introducing him favorably to the American public. The ensuing tale is atranslation of his "Beatrice; ou la Belle Empoisonneuse," recently published in "La Revue Anti-Aristocratique." This journal, edited by the Comte de Bearhaven, has for some years past led thedefence of liberal principles and popular rights with a faithfulness and ability worthy of allpralse. A young man, named Giovanni Guasconti, came, very long ago, from the more southernregion of Italy, to pursue his studies at the University of Padua. Giovanni, who had but a scantysupply of gold ducats in his pocket, took lodgings in a high and gloomy chamber of an oldedifice which looked not unworthy to have been the palace of a Paduan noble, and which, infact, exhibited over its entrance the armorial bearings of a family long since extinct. The youngstranger, who was not unstudied in the great poem of his country, recollected that one of theancestors of this family, and perhaps an occupant of this very mansion, had been pictured byDante as a partaker of the immortal agonies of his Inferno. These reminiscences andassociations, together with the tendency to heartbreak natural to a young man for the first timeout of his native sphere, caused Giovanni to sigh heavily as he looked around the desolate andill-furnished apartment. "Holy Virgin, signor!" cried old Dame Lisabetta, who, won by the youth's remarkable beautyof person, was kindly endeavoring to give the chamber a habitable air, "what a sigh was that tocome out of a young man's heart! Do you find this old mansion gloomy? For the love ofHeaven, then, put your head out of the window, and you will see as bright sunshine as youhave left in Naples." Guasconti mechanically did as the old woman advised, but could not quite agree with her thatthe Paduan sunshine was as cheerful as that of southern Italy. Such as it was, however, it fell ...

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upon a garden beneath the window and expended its fostering influences on a variety of plants,which seemed to have been cultivated with exceeding care. "Does this garden belong to the house?" asked Giovanni. "Heaven forbid, signor, unless it were fruitful of better pot herbs than any that grow therenow," answered old Lisabetta. "No; that garden is cultivated by the own hands of SignorGiacomo Rappaccini, the famous doctor, who, Iwarrant him, has been heard of as far as Naples.It is said that he distils these plants into medicines that are as potent as a charm. Oftentimes youmay see the signor doctor at work, and perchance the signora, his daughter, too, gathering thestrange flowers that grow in the garden." The old woman had now done what she could for the aspect of the -1045- chamber; and, commending the young man to the protection of the saints, took her departure Giovanni still found no better occupation than to look down into the garden beneath hiswindow. From its appearance, he judged it to be one of those botanic gardens which were ofearlier date in Padua than elsewhere in Italy or in the world. Or, not improbably, it might oncehave been the pleasure-place of an opulent family; for there was the ruin of a marble fountain inthe centre, sculptured with rare art, but so wofully shattered that it was impossible to trace theoriginal design from the chaos of remaining fragments. The water, however, continued to gushand sparkle into the sunbeams as cheerfully as ever. A little gurgling sound ascended to theyoung man's window, and made him feel as if the fountain were an immortal spirit that sung itssong unceasingly and without heeding the vicissitudes around it, while one century irnbodied itin marble and another scattered the perishable garniture on the soil. All about the pool intowhich the water subsided grew various plants, that seemed to require a plentiful supply ofmoisture for the nourishment of gigantic leaves, and in some instances, flowers gorgeouslymagnificent. There was one shrub in particular, set in a marble vase in the midst of the pool,that bore a profusion of purple blossoms, each of which had the lustre and richness of a gem;and the whole together made a show so resplendent that it seemed enough to illuminate thegarden, even had there been no sunshine. Every portion of the soil was peopled with plants andherbs, which, if less beautiful, still bore tokens of assiduous care, as if all had their individualvirtues, known to the scientific mind that fostered them. Some were placed in urns, rich withold carving, and others in common garden pots; some crept serpent-like along the ground orclimbed on high, using whatever means of ascent was offered them. One plant had wreatheditself round a statue of Vertumnus, which was thus quite veiled and shrouded in a drapery ofhanging foliage, so happily arranged that it might have served a sculptor for a study. ...

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While Giovanni stood at the window he heard a rustling behind a screen of leaves, andbecame aware that a person was at work in the garden. His figure soon emerged into view, andshowed itself to be that of no common laborer, but a tall, emaciated, sallow, and sickly-lookingman, dressed in a scholar's garb of black. He was beyond the middle term of life, with gray hair,a thin, gray beard, and a face singularly marked with intellect and cultivation, but which couldnever, even in his more youthful days, have expressed much warmth of heart. Nothing could exceed the intentness with which this scientific gardener examined every shrubwhich grew in his path: it seemed as if he was looking into their inmost nature, makingobservations in regard to their creative essence, and discovering why one leaf grew in thisshape and another in that, and Wherefore such and such flowers differed among themselves inhue and perfume. Nevertheless, in spite of this deep intelligence on his part, there was noapproach to intimacy between himself -I 046- and these vegetable existences. On the contrary, he avoided their actual touch or the directinhaling of their odors with a caution that impressed Giovanni most disagreeably,' for the man'sdemeanor was that of one walking among malignant influences, such as savage beasts, ordeadly snakes, or evil spirits, which, should he allow them one moment of license, would wreakupon him some terrible fatality. It was strangely frightful to the young man's imagination to seethis air of insecurity in a person cultivating a garden, that most simple and innocent of humantoils, and which had been alike the joy and labor of the unfallen parents of the race. Was thisgarden, then, the Eden of the present world? And this man, with such a perception of harm inwhat his own hands caused to grow, —— was he the Adam? The distrustful gardener, while plucking away the dead leaves or pruning the too luxuriantgrowth of the shrubs, defended his hands with a pair of thick gloves. Nor were these his onlyarmor. When, in his walk through the garden, he came to the magnificent plant that hung itspurple gems beside the marble fountain, he placed a kind of mask over his mouth and nostrils,as if all this beauty did but conceal a deadlier malice; but, finding his task still too dangerous, hedrew back, removed the mask, and called loudly, but in the infirm voice of a person affectedwith inward disease, -- "Beatrice! Beatrice!" "Here am I, my father. What would you?" cried a rich and youthful voice from the window ofthe opposite house —— a voice as rich as a tropical sunset, and which made Giovanni, though heknew not why, think of deep hues of purple or crimson and of perfumes heavily delectable."Are you in the garden?" ...

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"Yes, Beatrice," answered the gardener, "and I need your help." Soon there emerged from under a sculptured portal the figure of a young girl, arrayed with asmuch richness of taste as the most splendid of the flowers, beautiful as the day, and with abloom so deep and vivid that one shade more would have been too much. She lookedredundant with life, health, and energy; all of which attributes were bound down andcompressed, as it were and girdled tensely, in their luxuriance, by her virgin zone. YetGiovanni's fancy must have grown morbid while he looked down into the garden; for theimpression which the fair stranger made upon him was as if here were another flower, thehuman sister of those vegetable ones, as beautiful as they, more beautiful than the richest ofthem, but still to be touched only with a glove, nor to be approached without a mask. AsBeatrice came down the garden path, it was observable that she handled and inhaled the odorof several of the plants which her father had most sedulously avoided. "Here, Beatrice," said the latter, "see how many needful offices require to be done to our chieftreasure. Yet, shattered as I am, my life might pay the penalty of approaching it so closely ascircumstances demand. Henceforth, Ifear, this plant must be consigned to your sole charge." "And gladly will I undertake it," cried again the rich tones of the young -1047- lady, as she bent towards the magnificent plant and opened her arms as if to embrace it. "Yes,my sister, my splendour, it shall be Beatrice's task to nurse and serve thee; and thou shaltreward her with thy kisses and perfumed breath, which to her is as the breath of life." Then, with all the tenderness in her manner that was so strikingly expressed in her words, shebusied herself with such attentions as the plant seemed to require; and Giovanni, at his loftywindow, rubbed his eyes and almost doubted whether it were a girl tending her favorite flower,or one sister performing the duties of affection to another. The scene soon terminated. WhetherDr. Rappaccini had finished his labors in the garden, or that his watchful eye had caught thestranger's face, he now took his daughter's arm and retired. Night was already closing in,'oppressive exhalations seemed to proceed from the plants and steal upward past the openwindow; and Giovanni, closing the lattice, went to his couch and dreamed of a rich flower andbeautiful girl. Flower and maiden were different, and yet the same, and fraught with somestrange peril in either shape. But there is an influence in the light of morning that tends to rectify whatever errors of fancy,or even of judgment, we may have incurred during the sun's decline, or among the shadows ofthe night, or in the less wholesome glow of moonshine. Giovanni's first movement, on startingfrom sleep, was to throw open the window and gaze down into the garden which his dreams ...

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had made so fertile of mysteries. He was surprised and a little ashamed to find how real andmatter-of-fact an affair it proved to be, in the first rays of the sun which gilded the dew-dropsthat hung upon leaf and blossom, and, while giving a brighter beauty to each rare flower,brought everything within the limits of ordinary experience. The young man rejoiced that, inthe heart of the barren City, he had the privilege of overlooking this spot of lovely and luxuriantvegetation. It would serve, he said to himself, as a symbolic language to keep him inCommunion with Nature. Neither the sickly and thoughtworn Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini, it istrue, nor his brilliant daughter, were now visible; so that Giovanni could not determine howmuch of the singularity which he attributed to both was due to their own qualities and howmuch to his wonder-working fancy; but he was inclined to take a most rational view of thewhole matter. In the course of the day he paid his respects to Signor Pietro Baglioni, professor of medicine inthe university, a physician of eminent repute to whom Giovanni had brought a letter ofintroduction. The professor was an elderly personage, apparently of genial nature, and habitsthat might almost be called jovial. He kept the young man to dinner, and made himself veryagreeable by the freedom and liveliness of his conversation, especially when warmed by a flaskor two of Tuscan wine. Giovanni, conceiving that men of science, inhabitants of the same city,must needs be on familiar terms with one another, took an opportunity to mention the name ofDr. Rappaccini. But the professor did not respond with so much cordiality as he hadanticipated. -1048- "111 would it become a teacher of the divine art of medicine," said Professor Pietro Baglioni, inanswer to a question of Giovanni, "to withhold due and well-considered praise of a physicianso eminently skilled as Rappaccini; but, on the other hand, I should answer it but scantily to myconscience were I to permit a worthy youth like yourself, Signor Giovanni, the son of an ancientfriend, to imbibe erroneous ideas respecting a man who might hereafter chance to hold your lifeand death in his hands. The truth is, our worshipful Dr. Rappaccini has as much science as anymember of the faculty -- with perhaps one single exception -- in Padua, or all Italy; but there arecertain grave objections to his professional Character." "And what are they?" asked the young man. "Has my friend Giovanni any disease of body or heart, that he is so inquisitive aboutphysicians?" said the professor, with a smile. "But as for Rappaccini, it is said of him —— and I,who know the man well, can answer for its truth -- that he cares infinitely more for science than ...

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for mankind. His patients are interesting to him only as subjects for some new experiment. Hewould sacrifice human life, his own among the rest, or whatever else was dearest to him, for thesake of adding so much as a grain of mustard seed to the great heap of his accumulatedknowledge." "Methinks he is an awful man indeed," remarked Guasconti, mentally recalling the cold andpurely intellectual aspect of Rappaccini. "And yet, worshipful professor, is it not a noble spirit?Are there many men capable of so spiritual a love of science?" "God forbid," answered the professor, somewhat testily; "at least, unless they take sounderviews of the healing art than those adopted by Rappaccini. It is his theory that all medicinalvirtues are comprised within those substances which we term vegetable poisons. These hecultivates with his own hands, and is said even to have produced new varieties of poison, morehorribly deleterious than Nature, without the assistance of this learned person, would ever haveplagued the world withal. That the signor doctor does less mischief than might be expectedwith such dangerous substances is undeniable. Now and then, it must be owned, he haseffected, or seemed to effect, a marvellous cure; but, to tell you my private mind, SignorGiovanni, he should receive little credit for such instances of success, —— they being probably thework of chance, -- but should be held strictly accountable for his failures, which may justly beconsidered his own wor ." The youth might have taken Baglioni's opinions with many grains of allowance had he knownthat there was a professional warfare of long continuance between him and Dr. Rappaccini, inwhich the latter was generally thought to have gained the advantage. If the reader be inclined tojudge for himself, we refer him to certain black—letter tracts on both sides, preserved in themedical department of the University of Padua. "I know not, most learned professor," returned Giovanni, after musing on what had been saidof Rappaccini's exclusive zeal for science, -- "I -1 049- know not how dearly this physician may love his art; but surely there is one object more dear tohim. He has a daughter." "Aha!" cried the professor, with a laugh. "So now our friend Giovanni's secret is out. Youhave heard of this daughter, whom all the young men in Padua are wild about, though not halfa dozen have ever had the good hap to see her face. Iknow little of the Signora Beatrice savethat Rappaccini is said to have instructed her deeply in his science, and that, young andbeautiful as fame reports her, she is already qualified to fill a professor's chair. Perchance her ...

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father destines her for mine! Other absurd rumors there be, not worth talking about or listeningto. So now, Signor Giovanni, drink off your glass of lachryma." Guasconti returned to his lodgings somewhat heated with the wine he had quaffed, andwhich caused his brain to swim with strange fantasies in reference to Dr. Rappaccini and thebeautiful Beatrice. On his way, happening to pass by a florist's, he bought a fresh bouquet offlowers. Ascending to his chamber, he seated himself near the window, but within the shadow thrownby the depth of the wall, so that he could look down into the garden with little risk of beingdiscovered. All beneath his eye was a solitude. The strange plants were basking in the sunshine,and now and then nodding gently to one another, as if in acknowledgment of sympathy andkindred. In the midst, by the shattered fountain, grew the magnificent shrub, with its purplegems clustering all over it; they glowed in the air, and gleamed back again out of the depths ofthe pool, which thus seemed to overflow with colored radiance from the rich reflection that wassteeped in it. At first, as we have said, the garden was a solitude. Soon, however, -- as Giovannihad half hoped, half feared, would be the case, —— a figure appeared beneath the antiquesculptured portal, and came down between the rows of plants, inhaling their various perfumesas if she were one of those beings of old classic fable that lived upon sweet odors. On againbeholding Beatrice, the young man was even startled to perceive how much her beautyexceeded his recollection of it; so brilliant, so vivid, was its character, that she glowed amid thesunlight, and, as Giovanni whispered to himself, positively illuminated the more shadowyintervals of the garden path. Her face being now more revealed than on the former occasion, hewas struck by its expression of simplicity and sweetness, -- qualities that had not entered intohis idea of her character, and which made him ask anew what manner of mortal she might be.Nor did he fail again to observe, or imagine, an analogy between the beautiful girl and thegorgeous shrub that hung its gemlike flowers over the fountain, -- a resemblance which Beatriceseemed to have indulged a fantastic humor in heightening, both by the arrangement of herdress and the selection of its hues. Approaching the shrub, she threw open her arms, as with a passionate ardor, and drew itsbranches into an intimate embrace -- so intimate that her features were hidden in its leafybosom and her glistening ringlets all intermingled with the flowers. -1050- ...

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"Give me thy breath, my sister," exclaimed Beatrice; "for I am faint with common air. Andgive me this flower of thine, which 1 separate with gentlest fingers from the stem and place itClose beside my heart." With these words the beautiful daughter of Rappaccini plucked one of the richest blossoms ofthe shrub, and was about to fasten it in her bosom. But now, unless Giovanni's draughts of winehad bewildered his senses, a singular incident occurred. A small orange—colored reptile, of thelizard or chameleon species, chanced to be creeping along the path, just at the feet of Beatrice. Itappeared to Giovanni, -- but, at the distance from which he gazed, he could scarcely have seenanything so minute, -- it appeared to him, however, that a drop or two of moisture from thebroken stem of the flower descended upon the lizard's head. For an instant the reptile contorteditself violently, and then lay motionless in the sunshine. Beatrice observed this remarkablephenomenon and crossed herself, sadly, but without surprise; nor did she therefore hesitate toarrange the fatal flower in her bosom. There it blushed, and almost glimmered with thedazzling effect of a precious stone, adding to her dress and aspect the one appropriate charmwhich nothing else in the world could have supplied. But Giovanni, out of the shadow of hiswindow, bent forward and shrank back, and murmured and trembled. "Am I awake? Have I my senses?" said he to himself. "What is this being? Beautiful shall Icall her, or inexpressibly terrible?" Beatrice now strayed carelessly through the garden, approaching closer beneath Giovanni'swindow, so that he was compelled to thrust his head quite out of its concealment in order togratify the intense and painful curiosity which she excited. At this moment there came abeautiful insect over the garden wall,' it had, perhaps, wandered through the city, and found noflowers or verdure among those antique haunts of men until the heavy perfumes of Dr.Rappaccini's shrubs had lured it from afar. Without alighting on the flowers, this wingedbrightness seemed to be attracted by Beatrice, and lingered in the air and fluttered about herhead. Now, here it could not be but that Giovanni Guasconti's eyes deceived him. Be that as itmight, he fancied that, while Beatrice was gazing at the insect with childish delight, it grew faintand fell at her feet; its bright wings shivered; it was dead -- from no cause that he could discern,unless it were the atmosphere of her breath. Again Beatrice crossed herself and sighed heavilyas she bent over the dead insect. An impulsive movement of Giovanni drew her eyes to the window. There she beheld thebeautiful head of the young man —— rather a Grecian than an Italian head, with fair, regularfeatures, and a glistening of gold among his ringlets -- gazing down upon her like a being thathovered in mid air. Scarcely knowing what he did, Giovanni threw down the bouquet which hehad hitherto held in his hand. "Signora," said he, "there are pure and healthful flowers. Wear them for the sake of GiovanniGuasconti." "Thanks, signor," replied Beatrice, with her rich voice, that came ...

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4051— forth as it were like a gush of music, and with a mirthful expression half childish and halfwoman—like. "I accept your gift, and would fain recompense it with this precious purple flower;but if I toss it into the air it will not reach you. So Signor Guasconti must even content himselfwith my thanks." She lifted the bouquet from the ground, and then, as if inwardly ashamed at having steppedaside from her maidenly reserve to respond to a stranger's greeting, passed swiftly homewardthrough the garden. But few as the moments were, it seemed to Giovanni, when she was on thepoint of vanishing beneath the sculptured portal, that his beautiful bouquet was alreadybeginning to wither in her grasp. It was an idle thought; there could be no possibility ofdistinguishing a faded flower from a fresh one at so great a distance. For many days after this incident the young man avoided the window that looked into Dr.Rappaccini's garden, as if something ugly and monstrous would have blasted his eyesight hadhe been betrayed into a glance. He felt conscious of having put himself, to a certain extent,within the influence of an unintelligible power by the communication which he had openedwith Beatrice. The wisest course would have been, if his heart were in any real danger, to quithis lodgings and Padua itself at once; the next wiser, to have accustomed himself, as far aspossible, to the familiar and daylight view of Beatrice —— thus bringing her rigidly andsystematically within the limits of ordinary experience. Least of all, while avoiding her sight,ought Giovanni to have remained so near this extraordinary being that the proximity andpossibility even of intercourse should give a kind of substance and reality to the wild vagarieswhich his imagination ran riot continually in producing. Guasconti had not a deep heart -- or, atall events, its depths were not sounded now; but he had a quick fancy, and an ardent southerntemperament, which rose every instant to a higher fever pitch. Whether or no Beatricepossessed those terrible attributes, that fatal breath, the affinity with those so beautiful anddeadly flowers which were indicated by what Giovanni had witnessed, she had at least instilleda fierce and subtle poison into his system. It was not love, although her rich beauty was amadness to him; nor horror, even while he fancied her spirit to be imbued with the samebaneful essence that seemed to pervade her physical frame; but a wild offspring of both loveand horror that had each parent in it, and burned like one and shivered like the other. Giovanniknew not what to dread; still less did he know what to hope; yet hope and dread kept acontinual warfare in his breast, alternately vanquishing one another and starting up afresh torenew the contest. Blessed are all simple emotions, be they dark or bright! It is the luridintermixture of the two that produces the illuminating blaze of the infernal regions. Sometimes he endeavored to assuage the fever of his spirit by a rapid walk through the streetsof Padua or beyond its gates: his footsteps kept time with the throbbings of his brain, so that thewalk was apt to accelerate ...

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-1052- itself to a race. One day he found himself arrested; his arm was seized by a portly personage,who had turned back on recognizing the young man and expended much breath in overtakinghim. "Signor Giovanni! Stay, my young friend!" cried he. "Have you forgotten me? That mightwell be the case if I were as much altered as yourself." It was Baglioni, whom Giovanni had avoided ever since their first meeting, from a doubt thatthe professor's sagacity would look too deeply into his secrets. Endeavoring to recover himself,he stared forth wildly from his inner world into the outer one and spoke like a man in a dream. "Yes; I am Giovanni Guasconti. You are Professor Pietro Baglioni. Now let me pass!" "Not yet, not yet, Signor Giovanni Guasconti," said the professor, smiling, but at the sametime scrutinizing the youth with an earnest glance. "What! did I grow up side by side with yourfather? and shall his son pass me like a stranger in these old streets of Padua? Stand still, SignorGiovanni; for we must have a word or two before we part." "Speedily, then, most worshipful professor, speedily," said Giovanni, with feverishimpatience. "Does not your worship see that I am in haste?" Now, while he was speaking there came a man in black along the street, stooping and movingfeebly like a person in inferior health. His face was all overspread with a most sickly and sallowhue, but yet so pervaded with an expression of piercing and active intellect that an observermight easily have overlooked the merely physical attributes and have seen only this wonderfulenergy. As he passed, this person exchanged a cold and distant salutation with Baglioni, butfixed his eyes upon Giovanni with an intentness that seemed to bring out whatever was withinhim worthy of notice. Nevertheless, there was a peculiar quietness in the look, as if takingmerely a speculative, not a human interest, in the young man. "It is Dr. Rappaccinil" whispered the professor when the stranger had passed. "Has he everseen your face before?" "Not that I know," answered Giovanni, starting at the name. "He has seen you! he must have seen youl'I said Baglioni, hastily. "For some purpose or other,this man of science is making a study of you. I know that look of his! It is the same that coldlyilluminates his face as he bends over a bird, a mouse, or a butterfly, which, in pursuance ofsome experiment, he has killed by the perfume of a flower; a look as deep as Nature itself, but ...

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without Nature's warmth of love. Signor Giovanni, I will stake my life upon it, you are thesubject of one of Rappaccini's experiments!" "Will you make a fool of me?" cried Giovanni, passionately. "That, signor professor, were anuntoward experiment." "Patience! patience!" replied the imperturbable professor. "I tell thee, my poor Giovanni, thatRappaccini has a scientific interest in thee. -1053- Thou hast fallen into fearful hands! And the Signora Beatrice, -- what part does she act in thismystery?" But Guasconti, finding Ba glioni's pertinacity intolerable, here broke away, and was gone before the professor could again seize his arm. He looked after the young man intently andshook his head. "This must not be," said Baglioni to himself. "The youth is the son of my old friend, and shallnot come to any harm from which the arcana of medical science can preserve him. Besides, it istoo insufferable an impertinence in Rappaccini, thus to snatch the lad out of my own hands, as Imay say, and make use of him for his infernal experiments. This daughter of his! It shall belooked to. Perchance, most learned Rappaccini, I may foil you where you little dream of it!" Meanwhile Giovanni had pursued a circuitous route, and at length found himself at the doorof his lodgings. As he crossed the threshold he was met by old Lisabetta, who smirked andsmiled, and was evidently desirous to attract his attention; vainly, however, as the ebullition ofhis feelings had momentarily subsided into a cold and dull vacuity. He turned his eyes fullupon the withered face that was puckering itself into a smile, but seemed to behold it not. Theold dame, therefore, laid her grasp upon his cloak. "Signor! Signor!" whispered she, still with a smile over the whole breadth of her visage, sothat it looked not unlike a grotesque carving in wood, darkened by centuries. "Listen, Signor!There is a private entrance into the garden!" "What do you say?" exclaimed Giovanni, turning quickly about, as if an inanimate thingshould start into feverish life. "A private entrance into Dr. Rappaccini's garden?" "Hush! hush! not so loud!" whispered Lisabetta, putting her hand over his mouth. "Yes; intothe worshipful doctor's garden, where you may see all his fine shrubbery. Many a young manin Padua would give gold to be admitted among those flowers." ...

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Giovanni put a piece of gold into her hand."Show me the way," said he. A surmise, probably excited by his conversation with Baglioni, crossed his mind, that thisinterposition of old Lisabetta might perchance be connected with the intrigue, whatever were itsnature, in which the professor seemed to suppose that Dr. Rappaccini was involving him. Butsuch a suspicion, though it disturbed Giovanni, was inadequate to restrain him. The instant thathe was aware of the possibility of approaching Beatrice, it seemed an absolute necessity of hisexistence to do so. It mattered not whether she were angel or demon; he was irrevocably withinher sphere, and must obey the law that whirled him onward, in ever-lessening circles, towardsa result which he did not attempt to foreshadow; and yet, strange to say, there came across hima sudden doubt whether this intense interest on his part were not delusory; whether it werereally of so deep and positive a nature as to justify him in now thrusting himself —I 054— into an incalculable position; whether it were not merely the fantasy of a young man's brain,only slightly or not at all connected with his heart. He paused, hesitated, turned half about, but again went on. His withered guide led him alongseveral obscure passages, and finally undid a door, through which, as it was Opened, therecame the sight and sound of rustling leaves, with the broken sunshine glimmering among them.Giovanni stepped forth, and, forcing himself through the entanglement of a shrub thatwreathed its tendrils over the hidden entrance, stood beneath his own window in the open areaof Dr. Rappaccini's garden. How often is it the case that, when impossibilities have come to pass and dreams haveCondensed their misty substance into tangible realities, we find ourselves calm, and even coldlyself-possessed, amid circumstances which it would have been a delirium of joy or agony toanticipate! Fate delights to thwart us thus. Passion will choose his own time to rush upon thescene, and lingers sluggishly behind when an appropriate adjustment of events would seem tosummon his appearance. So was it now with Giovanni. Day after day his pulses had throbbedwith feverish blood at the improbable idea of an interview with Beatrice, and of standing withher, face to face, in this very garden, basking in the Oriental sunshine of her beauty, andsnatching from her full gaze the mystery which he deemed the riddle of his own existence. Butnow there was a singular and untimely equanimity within his breast. He threw a glance aroundthe garden to discover if Beatrice or her father were present, and, perceiving that he was alone,began a critical observation of the plants. ...

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The aspect of one and all of them dissatisfied him; their gorgeousness seemed fierce,passionate, and even unnatural. There was hardly an individual shrub which a wanderer,straying by himself through a forest, would not have been startled to find growing wild, as if anunearthly face had glared at him out of the thicket. Several also would have shocked a delicateinstinct by an appearance of artificialness indicating that there had been such commixture, and,as it were, adultery, of various vegetable species, that the production was no longer of God'smaking, but the monstrous offspring of man's depraved fancy, glowing with only an evilmockery of beauty. They were probably the result of experiment, which in one or two cases hadsucceeded in mingling plants individually lovely into a compound possessing the questionableand ominous character that distinguished the whole growth of the garden. In fine, Giovannirecognized but two or three plants in the collection, and those of a kind that he well knew to bepoisonous. While busy with these contemplations he heard the rustling of a silken garment,and, turning, beheld Beatrice emerging from beneath the sculptured portal. Giovanni had not considered with himself what should be his deportment,' whether he shouldapologize for his intrusion into the garden, or assume that he was there with the privity at least,if not by the desire, of Dr. Rappaccini or his daughter; but Beatrice's manner placed him at hisease, though leaving him still in doubt by what agency he had gained admittance. She camelightly along the path and met him near —1055— the broken fountain. There was surprise in her face, but brightened by a simple and kindexpression of pleasure. "You are a connoisseur in flowers, Signor," said Beatrice, with a smile, alluding to the bouquetwhich he had flung her from the window. "It is no marvel, therefore, if the sight of my father'srare collection has tempted you to take a nearer view. If he were here, he could tell you manystrange and interesting facts as to the nature and habits of these shrubs; for he has spent alifetime in such studies, and this garden is his world." "And yourself, lady," observed Giovanni, "if fame says true, -- you likewise are deeplyskilled in the virtues indicated by these rich blossoms and these spicy perfumes. Would youdeign to be my instruct-ress, I should prove an apter scholar than if taught by Signor Rappaccinihimself." "Are there such idle rumors?" asked Beatrice, with the music of a pleasant laugh. "Do peoplesay that I am skilled in my father's science of plants? What a jest is there! No; though I havegrown up among these flowers, I know no more of them than their hues and perfume; andsometimes methinks I would fain rid myself of even that small knowledge. There are many ...

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flowers here, and those not the least brilliant, that shock and offend me when they meet my eye.But pray, signor, do not believe these stories about my science. Believe nothing of me save whatyou see with your own eyes." "And must I believe all that I have seen with my own eyes?" asked Giovanni, pointedly, whilethe recollection of former scenes made him shrink. "No, signora,' you demand too little of me.Bid me believe nothing save what comes from your own lips." It would appear that Beatrice understood him. There came a deep flush to her cheek; but shelooked full into Giovanni's eyes, and responded to his gaze of uneasy suspicion with aqueenlike haughtiness. "I do so bid you, signor,'I she replied. "Forget whatever you may have fancied in regard tome. If true to the outward senses, still it may be false in its essence; but the words of BeatriceRappaccini's lips are true from the depths of the heart outward. Those you may believe." A fervor glowed in her whole aspect and beamed upon Giovanni's consciousness like the lightof truth itself; but while she spoke there was a fragrance in the atmosphere around her, rich anddelightful, though evanescent, yet which the young man, from an indefinable reluctance,scarcely dared to draw into his lungs. It might be the odor of the flowers. Could it be Beatrice'sbreath which thus embalmed her words with a strange richness, as if by steeping them in herheart? A faintness passed like a shadow over Giovanni and flitted away; he seemed to gazethrough the beautiful girl's eyes into her transparent soul, and felt no more doubt or fear. The tinge of passion that had colored Beatrice's manner vanished; she became gay, andappeared to derive a pure delight from her communion with the youth not unlike what themaiden of a lonely island -1056- might have felt conversing with a voyager from the civilized world. Evidently her experience oflife had been confined within the limits of that garden. She talked now about matters as simpleas the daylight or summer clouds, and now asked questions in reference to the city, orGiovanni's distant home, his friends, his mother, and his sisters —— questions indicating suchseclusion, and such lack of familiarity with modes and forms, that Giovanni responded as if toan infant. Her spirit gushed out before him like a fresh rill that was just catching its first glimpseof the sunlight and wondering at the reflections of earth and sky which were flung into itsbosom. There came thoughts, too, from a deep source, and fantasies of a gemlike brilliancy, as ifdiamonds and rubies sparkled upward among the bubbles of the fountain. Ever and anon theregleamed across the young man's mind a sense of wonder that he should be walking side by sidewith the being who had so wrought upon his imagination, whom he had idealized in such hues ...

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of terror, in whom he had positively witnessed such manifestations of dreadful attributes, ——that he should be conversing with Beatrice like a brother, and should find her so human and somaidenlike. But such reflections were only momentary; the effect of her character was too realnot to make itself familiar at once. In this free intercourse they had strayed through the garden, and now, after many turnsamong its avenues, were come to the shattered fountain, beside which grew the magnificentshrub, with its treasury of glowing blossoms. A fragrance was diffused from it which Giovannirecognized as identical with that which he had attributed to Beatrice's breath, but incomparablymore powerful. As her eyes fell upon it, Giovanni beheld her press her hand to her bosom as ifher heart were throbbing suddenly and painfully. "For the first time in my life," murmured she, addressing the shrub, "I had forgotten thee." "I remember, signora," said Giovanni, "that you once promised to reward me with one ofthese living gems for the bouquet which I had the happy boldness to fling to your feet. Permitme now to pluck it as a memorial of this interview." He made a step towards the shrub with extended hand; but Beatrice darted forward, utteringa shriek that went through his heart like a dagger. She caught his hand and drew it back withthe whole force of her slender figure. Giovanni felt her touch thrilling through his fibres. "Touch it not!" exclaimed she, in a voice of agony. "Not for thy life! It is fatal!" Then, hiding her face, she fled from him and vanished beneath the sculptured portal. AsGiovanni followed her with his eyes, he beheld the emaciated figure and pale intelligence of Dr.Rappaccini, who had been watching the scene, he knew not how long, within the shadow of theentrance. No sooner was Guasconti alone in his chamber than the image of Beatrice came back to hispassionate musings, invested with all the witchery that had been gathering around it ever sincehis first glimpse of her, and -1057— now likewise imbued with a tender warmth of girlish womanhood. She was human; her naturewas endowed with all gentle and feminine qualities; she was worthiest to be worshipped; shewas capable, surely, on her part, of the height and heroism of love. Those tokens which he hadhitherto considered as proofs of a frightful peculiarity in her physical and moral system werenow either forgotten, or, by the subtle sophistry of passion transmitted into a golden crown ofenchantment, rendering Beatrice the more admirable by so much as she was the more unique.Whatever had looked ugly was now beautiful; or, if incapable of such a change, it stole away ...

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and hid itself among those shapeless half ideas which throng the dim region beyond thedaylight of our perfect consciousness. Thus did he spend the night, nor fell asleep until thedawn had begun to awake the slumbering flowers in Dr. Rappaccini's garden, whitherGiovanni's dreams doubtless led him. Up rose the sun in his due season, and, flinging his beamsupon the young man's eyelids, awoke him to a sense of pain. When thoroughly aroused, hebecame sensible of a burning and tingling agony in his hand —— in his right hand —— the very handwhich Beatrice had grasped in her own when he was on the point of plucking one of thegemlike flowers. On the back of that hand there was now a purple print like that of four smallfingers, and the likeness of a slender thumb upon his wrist. Oh, how stubbornly does love, -- or even that cunning semblance of love which flourishes inthe imagination, but strikes no depth of root into the heart, —— how stubbornly does it hold itsfaith until the moment comes when it is doomed to vanish into thin mist! Giovanni wrapped ahandkerchief about his hand and wondered what evil thing had stung him, and soon forgot hispain in a reverie of Beatrice After the first interview, a second was in the inevitable course of what we call fate. A third; afourth; and a meeting with Beatrice in the garden was no longer an incident in Giovanni's dailylife, but the whole space in which he might be said to live; for the anticipation and memory ofthat ecstatic hour made up the remainder. Nor was it otherwise with the daughter ofRappaccini. She watched for the youth's appearance, and flew to his side with confidence asunreserved as if they had been playmates from early infancy -- as if they were such playmatesstill. If, by my unwonted chance, he failed to come at the appointed moment, she stood beneaththe window and sent up the rich sweetness of her tones to float around him in his chamber andecho and reverberate throughout his heart: "Giovanni! Giovanni! Why tarriest thou? Comedown!" And down he hastened into that Eden of poisonous flowers. But, with all this intimate familiarity, there was still a reserve in Beatrice's demeanor, sorigidly and invariably sustained that the idea of infringing it scarcely occurred to hisimagination. By all appreciable signs, they loved; they had looked love with eyes that conveyedthe holy secret from the depths of one soul into the depths of the other, as if it were too sacredto be whispered by the way; they had even spoken love in those gushes of passion when theirspirits darted forth in articulated breath -1058- like tongues of long-hidden flame; and yet there had been no seal of lips, no clasp of hands, norany slightest caress such as love claims and hallows. He had never touched one of the gleamingringlets of her hair; her garment -- so marked was the physical barrier between them -- hadnever been waved against him by a breeze. On the few occasions when Giovanni had seemed ...

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tempted to overstep the limit, Beatrice grew so sad, so stern, and withal wore such a look ofdesolate separation, shuddering at itself, that not a spoken word was requisite to repel him. Atsuch times he was startled at the horrible suspicions that rose, monster-like, out of the cavernsof his heart and stared him in the face; his love grew thin and faint as the morning mist, hisdoubts alone had substance. But, when Beatrice's face brightened again after the momentaryshadow, she was transformed at once from the mysterious, questionable being whom he hadwatched with so much awe and horror; she was now the beautiful and unsophisticated girlwhom he felt that his spirit knew with a certainty beyond all other knowledge. A considerable time had now passed since Giovanni's last meeting with Baglioni. Onemorning, however, he was disagreeably surprised by a visit from the professor, whom he hadscarcely thought of for whole weeks, and would willingly have forgotten still longer. Given upas he had long been to a pervading excitement, he could tolerate no companions except uponcondition of their perfect sympathy with his present state of feeling. Such sympathy was not tobe expected from Professor Baglioni. The visitor chatted carelessly for a few moments about the gossip of the city and theuniversity, and then took up another topic. "I have been reading an old classic author lately," said he, "and met with a story thatstrangely interested me. Possibly you may remember it. It is of an Indian prince, who sent abeautiful woman as a present to Alexander the Great. She was as lovely as the dawn andgorgeous as the sunset; but what especially distinguished her was a certain rich perfume in herbreath -- richer than a garden of Persian roses. Alexander, as was natural to a youthfulconqueror, fell in love at first sight with this magnificent stranger; but a certain sage physician,happening to be present, discovered a terrible secret in regard to her." "And what was that?" asked Giovanni, turning his eyes downward to avoid those of theprofessor "That this lovely woman," continued Baglioni, with emphasis, "had been nourished withpoisons from her birth upward, until her whole nature was so imbued with them that sheherself had become the deadliest poison in existenCe. Poison was her element of life. With thatrich perfume of her breath she blasted the very air. Her love would have been poison -- herembrace death. Is not this a marvellous tale?" "A childish fable," answered Giovanni, nervously starting from his chair. "I marvel how yourworship finds time to read such nonsense among your graver studies." "By the by," said the professor, looking uneasily about him, "what singular fragrance is thisin your apartment? Is it the perfume of your -1059- ...

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gloves? It is faint, but delicious; and yet, after all, by no means agreeable. Were I to breathe itlong, methinks it would make me ill. It is like the breath of a flower; but I see no flowers in thechamber." "Nor are there any," replied Giovanni, who had turned pale as the professor spoke; "nor, Ithink, is there any fragrance except in your worship's imagination. Odors, being a sort ofelement combined of the sensual and the spiritual, are apt to deceive us in this manner. Therecollection of a perfume, the bare idea of it, may easily be mistaken for a present reality." "Ay; but my sober imagination does not often play such tricks," said Baglioni; "and, were I tofancy any kind of odor, it would be that of some vile apothecary drug, wherewith my fingersare likely enough to be imbued. Our worshipful friend Rappaccini, as I have heard, tinctures hismedicaments with odors richer than those of Araby. Doubtless, likewise, the fair and learnedSignora Beatrice would minister to her patients with draughts as sweet as a maiden's breath;but woe to him that sips them!" Giovanni's face evinced many contending emotions. The tone in which the professor alludedto the pure and lovely daughter of Rappaccini was a torture to his soul; and yet the intimationof a view of her character opposite to his own, gave instantaneous distinctness to a thousanddim suspicions, which now grinned at him like so many demons. But he strove hard to quellthem and to respond to Baglioni with a true lover's perfect faith. "Signor professor,'I said he, "you were my father's friend; perchance, too, it is your purposeto act a friendly part towards his son. Iwould fain feel nothing towards you save respect anddeference; but I pray you to observe, signor, that there is one subject on which we must notspeak. You know not the Signora Beatrice. You cannot, therefore, estimate the wrong -- theblasphemy, I may even say -- that is offered to her character by a light or injurious word." "Giovanni! my poor Giovanni!" answered the professor, with a calm expression of pity, "Iknow this wretched girl far better than yourself. You shall hear the truth in respect to thepoisoner Rappaccini and his poisonous daughter; yes, poisonous as she is beautiful. Listen; for,even should you do violence to my gray hairs, it shall not silence me. That Old fable 0f theIndian woman has become a truth by the deep and deadly science of Rappaccini and in theperson of the lovely Beatrice." Giovanni groaned and hid his face "Her father," continued Baglioni, "was not restrained by natural affection from offering uphis child in this horrible manner as the victim of his insane zeal for science; for, let us do himjustice, he is as true a man of science as ever distilled his own heart in an alembic. What, then,will be your fate? Beyond a doubt you are selected as the material of some new experiment.Perhaps the result is to be death; perhaps a fate more awful still. Rappaccini, with what he callsthe interest of science before his eyes, will hesitate at nothing." "It is a dream," muttered Giovanni to himself; "surely it is a dream." ...

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-1 060- "But," resumed the professor, "be of good cheer, son of my friend. It is not yet too late for therescue. Possibly we may even succeed in bringing back this miserable child within the limits ofordinary nature, from which her father's madness has estranged her. Behold this little silvervase! It was wrought by the hands of the renowned Benvenuto Cellini, and is well worthy to bea love gift to the fairest dame in Italy. But its contents are invaluable. One little sip of thisantidote would have rendered the most virulent poisons of the Borgias innocuous. Doubt notthat it will be as efficacious against those of Rappaccini. Bestow the vase, and the preciousliquid within it, on your Beatrice, and hopefully await the result." Baglioni laid a small, exquisitely wrought silver vial on the table and withdrew, leaving whathe had said to produce its effect upon the young man's mind. "We will thwart Rappaccini yet," thought he, chuckling to himself, as he descended the stairs;"but, let us confess the truth of him, he is a wonderful man -- a wonderful man indeed; a vileempiric, however, in his practice, and therefore not to be tolerated by those who respect thegood old rules of the medical profession." Throughout Giovanni's whole acquaintance with Beatrice, he had occasionally, as we havesaid, been haunted by dark surmises as to her character; yet so thoroughly had she made herselffelt by him as a simple, natural, most affectionate, and guileless creature, that the image nowheld up by Professor Baglioni looked as strange and incredible as if it were not in accordancewith his own original conception. True, there were ugly recollections connected with his firstglimpses of the beautiful girl; he could not quite forget the bouquet that withered in her grasp,and the insect that perished amid the sunny air, by no ostensible agency save the fragrance ofher breath. These incidents, however, dissolving in the pure light of her character, had nolonger the efficacy of facts, but were acknowledged as mistaken fantasies, by whatevertestimony of the senses they might appear to be substantiated. There is something truer andmore real than what we can see with the eyes and touch with the finger. On such betterevidence had Giovanni founded his confidence in Beatrice, though rather by the necessary forceof her high attributes than by any deep and generous faith on his part. But now his spirit wasincapable of sustaining itself at the height to which the early enthusiasm of passion had exaltedit; he fell down, grovelling among earthly doubts, and defiled therewith the pure whiteness ofBeatrice's image. Not that he gave her up; he did but distrust. He resolved to institute somedecisive test that should satisfy him, once for all, whether there were those dreadfulpeculiarities in her physical nature which could not be supposed to exist without somecorresponding monstrosity of soul. His eyes, gazing down afar, might have deceived him as to ...

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the lizard, the insect, and the flowers; but if he could witness, at the distance of a few paces, thesudden blight of one fresh and healthful flower in Beatrice's hand, there would be room for nofurther question. With this idea he hastened to the florist's —1068— and purchased a bouquet that was still gemmed with the morning dew-drops. It was now the customary hour of his daily interview with Beatrice. Before descending intothe garden, Giovanni failed not to look at his figure in the mirror, —— a vanity to be expected in abeautiful young man, yet, as displaying itself at that troubled and feverish moment, the token ofa certain shallowness of feeling and insincerity of character. He did gaze, however, and said tohimself that his features had never before possessed so rich a grace, nor his eyes such vivacity,nor his cheeks so warm a hue of superabundant life. "At least," thought he, "her poison has not yet insinuated itself into my system. I am noflower to perish in her grasp." With that thought he turned his eyes on the bouquet, which he had never once laid aside fromhis hand. A thrill of indefinable horror shot through his frame on perceiving that those dewyflowers were already beginning to droop; they wore the aspect of things that had been fresh andlovely yesterday. Giovanni grew white as marble, and stood motionless before the mirror,staring at his own reflection there as at the likeness of something frightful. He rememberedBaglioni's remark about the fragrance that seemed to pervade the chamber. It must have beenthe poison in his breath! Then he shuddered -- shuddered at himself. Recovering from hisstupor, he began to watch with curious eye a spider that was busily at work hanging its webfrom the antique cornice of the apartment, crossing and recrossing the artful system ofinterwoven lines —— as vigorous and active a spider as ever dangled from an old ceiling.Giovanni bent towards the insect, and emitted a deep, long breath. The spider suddenly ceasedits toil; the web vibrated with a tremor originating in the body of the small artisan. AgainGiovanni sent forth a breath, deeper, longer, and imbued with a venomous feeling out of hisheart: he knew not whether he were wicked, or only desperate. The spider made a convulsivegripe with his limbs and hung dead across the window. "Accursed! accursed!" muttered Giovanni, addressing himself. "Hast thou grown sopoisonous that this deadly insect perishes by thy breath?" At that moment a rich, sweet voice came floating up from the garden "Giovanni! Giovanni! It is past the hour! Why tarriest thou? Come down!'I ...

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"YesflI muttered Giovanni again. "She is the only being whom my breath may not slay!Would that it might!" He rushed down, and in an instant was standing before the bright and loving eyes of Beatrice.A moment ago his wrath and despair had been so fierce that he could have desired nothing somuch as to wither her by a glance; but with her actual presence there came influences whichhad too real an existence to be at once shaken off: recollections of the delicate and benign powerof her feminine nature, which had so often enveloped him in a religious calm; recollections ofmany a holy and passionate outgush of her heart, when the pure fountain had been unsealedfrom its depths and made visible in its transparency to his mental eye; recollections -1062- which, had Giovanni known how to estimate them, would have assured him that all this uglymystery was but an earthly illusion, and that, whatever mist of evil might seem to havegathered over her, the real Beatrice was a heavenly angel. Incapable as he was of such highfaith, still her presence had not utterly lost its magic. Giovanni's rage was quelled into an aspectof sullen insensibility. Beatrice, with a quick spiritual sense, immediately felt that there was agulf of blackness between them which neither he nor she could pass. They walked on together,sad and silent, and came thus to the marble fountain and to its pool of water on the ground, inthe midst of which grew the shrub that bore gem-like blossoms. Giovanni was affrighted at theeager enjoyment -- the appetite, as it were -- with which he found himself inhaling the fragranceof the flowers. "Beatrice," asked he, abruptly, "whence came this shrub?""My father created it," answered she, with simplicity."Created it! created it!" repeated Giovanni. "What mean you, Beatrice?" "He is a man fearfully acquainted with the secrets of Nature," replied Beatrice; "and, at thehour when I first drew breath, this plant sprang from the soil, the offspring of his science, of hisintellect, while I was but his earthly child. Approach it not!'I continued she, observing withterror that Giovanni was drawing nearer to the shrub. "It has qualities that you little dream of.But I, dearest Giovanni, -- I grew up and blossomed with the plant and was nourished with itsbreath. It was my sister, and I loved it with a human affection; for, alas! -- hast thou notsuspected it? -- there was an awful doom.'I Here Giovanni frowned so darkly upon her that Beatrice paused and trembled. But her faithin his tenderness reassured her, and made her blush that she had doubted for an instant. ...

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"There was an awful doom,'I she Continued, "the effect of my father's fatal love of science,which estranged me from all society of my kind. Until Heaven sent thee, dearest Giovanni, oh,how lonely was thy poor Beatrice!" "Was it a hard doom?" asked Giovanni, fixing his eyes upon her. "Only of late have I known how hard it was," answered she, tenderly. "Oh, yes; but my heartwas torpid, and therefore quiet." Giovanni's rage broke forth from his sullen gloom like a lightning flash out of a dark cloud. "Accursed one!" cried he, with venomous scorn and anger. "And, finding thy solitudewearisome, thou hast severed me likewise from all the warmth of life and enticed me into thyregion of unspeakable horror!" "Giovanni!" exclaimed Beatrice, turning her large bright eyes upon his face. The force of hiswords had not found its way into her mind; she was merely thunderstruck. "Yes, poisonous thing!" repeated Giovanni, beside himself with passion. "Thou hast done it!Thou hast blasted me! Thou hast filled my veins with poison! Thou hast made me as hateful, asugly, as loathsome -1 063- and deadly a creature as thyself —— a world's wonder of hideous monstrosity! Now, if our breathbe happily as fatal to ourselves as to all others, let us join our lips in one kiss of unutterablehatred, and so die!" "What has befallen me?" murmured Beatrice, with a low moan out of her heart. "Holy Virgin,pity me, a poor heart-broken Child!" "Thou, -- dost thou pray?'I cried Giovanni, still with the same fiendish scorn. "Thy veryprayers, as they come from thy lips, taint the atmosphere with death. Yes, yes; let us pray! Letus to church and dip our fingers in the holy water at the portal! They that come after us willperish as by a pestilence! Let us sign crosses in the air! It will be scattering curses abroad in thelikeness of holy symbols!" "Giovanni," said Beatrice, calmly, for her grief was beyond passion, "why dost thou jointhyself with me thus in those terrible words? I, it is true, am the horrible thing thou namest me.But thou, -- what hast thou to do, save with one other shudder at my hideous misery to go forthout of the garden and mingle with thy race, and forget there ever crawled on earth such amonster as poor Beatrice?" ...

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"Dost thou pretend ignorance?" asked Giovanni, scowling upon her. "Behold! this powerhave I gained from the pure daughter of Rappaccini. There was a swarm of summer insects flitting through the air in search of the food promisedby the flower odors of the fatal garden. They circled round Giovanni's head, and were evidentlyattracted towards him by the same influence which had drawn them for an instant within thesphere of several of the shrubs. He sent forth a breath among them, and smiled bitterly atBeatrice as at least a score of the insects fell dead upon the ground. "I see it! I see it!" shrieked Beatrice. "It is my father's fatal science! No, no, Giovanni; it wasnot I! Never! never! I dreamed only to love thee and be with thee a little time, and so to let theepass away, leaving but thine image in mine heart; for, Giovanni, believe it, though my body benourished with poison, my spirit is God's creature, and craves love as its daily food. But myfather, —— he has united us in this fearful sympathy. Yes; spurn me, tread upon me, kill me! Oh,what is death after such words as thine? But it was not I. Not for a world of bliss would I havedone it." Giovanni's passion had exhausted itself in its outburst from his lips. There now came acrosshim a sense, mournful, and not without tenderness, of the intimate and peculiar relationshipbetween Beatrice and himself. They stood, as it were, in an utter solitude, which would be madenone the less solitary by the densest throng of human life. Ought not, then, the desert ofhumanity around them to press this insulated pair closer together? If they should be cruel toone another, who was there to be kind to them? Besides, thought Giovanni, might there not stillbe a hope of his returning within the limits of ordinary nature, and leading Beatrice, theredeemed Beatrice, by the hand? 0, weak, and selfish, and unworthy spirit, that could dream ofan earthly union and earthly happiness —I 054— as possible, after such deep love had been so bitterly wronged as was Beatrice's love byGiovanni's blighting words! No, no; there could be no such hope. She must pass heavily, withthat broken heart, across the borders of Time -- she must bathe her hurts in some fount ofparadise, and forget her grief in the light of immortality, and there be well. But Giovanni did not know it. "Dear Beatrice," said he, approaching her, while she shrank away as always at his approach,but now with a different impulse, "dearest Beatrice our fate is not yet so desperate. Behold!there is a medicine, potent, as a wise physician has assured me, and almost divine in its efficacy.It is composed of ingredients the most opposite to those by which thy awful father has brought ...

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this calamity upon thee and me. It is distilled of blessed herbs. Shall we not quaff it together,and thus be purified from evil?" "Give it me!" said Beatrice, extending her hand to receive the little silver vial which Giovannitook from his bosom. She added, with a peculiar emphasis, "I will drink; but do thou await theresult." She put Baglioni's antidote to her lips; and, at the same moment, the figure of Rappacciniemerged from the portal and came slowly towards the marble fountain. As he drew near, thepale man of science seemed to gaze with a triumphant expression at the beautiful youth andmaiden, as might an artist who should spend his life in achieving a picture or a group ofstatuary and finally be satisfied with his success. He paused; his bent form grew erect withconscious power; he spread out his hands over them in the attitude of a father imploring ablessing upon his children; but those were the same hands that had thrown poison into thestream of their lives. Giovanni trembled. Beatrice shuddered nervously, and pressed her handupon her heart. "My daughter," said Rappaccini, "thou art no longer lonely in the world. Pluck one of thoseprecious gems from thy sister shrub and bid thy bridegroom wear it in his bosom. It will notharm him now. My science and the sympathy between thee and him have so wrought withinhis system that he now stands apart from common men, as thou dost, daughter of my pride and triumph, from ordinary women. Pass on, then, through the world, most dear to one another anddreadful to all besides!" "My father,'I said Beatrice, feebly, -- and still as she spoke she kept her hand upon her heart, --"wherefore didst thou inflict this miserable doom upon thy child?" "Miserable!" exclaimed Rappaccini. "What mean you, foolish girl? Dost thou deem it miseryto be endowed with marvellous gifts against which no power nor strength could avail an enemy-- misery, to be able to quell the mightiest with a breath -- misery, to be as terrible as thou artbeautiful? Wouldst thou, then, have preferred the condition of a weak woman, exposed to allevil and capable of none?" "I would fain have been loved, not feared," murmured Beatrice, sinking down upon theground. "But now it matters not. I am going, father, where the evil which thou hast striven tomingle with my being will pass -1065- away like a dream—like the fragrance of these poisonous flowers, which will no longer taint mybreath among the flowers of Eden. Farewell, Giovanni! Thy words of hatred are like lead within ...

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my heart; but they, too, will fall away as I ascend. Oh, was there not, from the first, more poisonin thy nature than in mine?" To Beatrice, —— so radically had her earthly part been wrought upon by Rappaccini's skill, —— aspoison had been life, so the powerful antidote was death; and thus the poor Victim of man'singenuity and of thwarted nature, and of the fatality that attends all such efforts of pervertedwisdom, perished there, at the feet of her father and Giovanni. Just at that moment ProfessorPietro Baglioni looked forth from the window, and called loudly, in a tone of triumph mixedwith horror, to the thunderstricken man of science, -- "Rappaccini! Rappaccini! and is this the upshot of your experiment!" ...

3) Geek Love

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23.NINETEENStructure, trans. Yvonneosocial Desire (New York:An American Tail: Freaks, Gender, and theacon Press, 1969), 115;Incorporation of History in Katherineexual exchange betweenDunn's Geek Lovest 1978, 26.RACHEL ADAMSOne is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.-SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR, The Second Sex, 1952Organisms are not born, but they are made.DONNA HARAWAY, "The Promises of Monsters," 1992 2A true freak cannot be made. A true freak must be born.-KATHERINE DUNN, Geek Love, 19893These epigraphs reflect an ongoing preoccupation within feminist theory with how best toexplain women's difference. Simone de Beauvoir's once-revolutionary statement acknowledgesthat gender is not inherently connected to biology, but rather is assumed through therepetition of a complex and arbitrary system of practices. Expanding Beauvoir's claim, DonnaHaraway asserts not only that gender is a discourse mapped onto the body, but that ourexperience of the body itself materializes only through the various social interactions thatdefine its boundaries. In each critic's constructivist understanding, femininity emerges as anoppressive discourse that must be understood and rescripted.In contrast, Olympia Binewski, the narrator and protagonist of Katherine Dunn's 1989novel Geek Love, emphasizes essential bodily difference as a determining factor in her socialdentity: one does not become a freak, but rather is born one. Within the context of the novel,which chronicles the downfall of a family of carnival freaks deliberately created by Lillian andAl Binewski through exposure to radiation and the massive ingestion of drugs, Olympia'sessentialism is "false"; the "masterpiece" of her differently shaped body is not natural but theproduct of her parents' careful and intentional experimentation. However, within the contextof the scene, in which the unfortunate dwarf is lifted onstage at a strip club as the men in theaudience laugh and jeer, her insistence on the value of authentic bodily difference is alegitimate defense against humiliation. Although Olympia's assertion seems to counteract theconstructivist ideology of the novel, this inconsistency ultimately indicates that claims about277...

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ea,91 RACHEL ADAMS K- identity are always context—specific. As Diana Fuss has argued, the charge of essentialism sofrequently leveled against theories of identity needs to be tempered by an understanding ofthe context and consequences of that essentialism: "The question we should be asking isnot'is this text essentialist (and therefore "bad")?' but rather, 'if this text is essentialist, whatmotivates its deployment? "4 Countering poststmcturalism's blanket critique of identity p011-tics, Fuss advocates a consideration of "the political investments of the subject's complexpositioning in a particular social field." At various moments Geek Lowe invokes both essential.ist and constructivist models of identity, creating a tension that, on the one hand, demon—strates that prejudices against bodily difference are culturally produced, and on the other,recognizes the materiality of the body as it experiences pain or becomes the subject of violenceor ridicule. I read the novel's vacillation between essentialist and constructivist understandingsof the body not as a logistical inconsistency, but as paradigmatic of how Americans attemptto manage the problem of bodily difference that has persistently troubled the nation's socialand legal structure. This problem is generated by the inability of constitutional law—which guarantees theabstract equality of all citizens-"to protect the rights of those who look difierent. Political andsocial theorists have repeatedly demonstrated the failure of the American legal system torecognize difference in cases involving affirmative action, fetal rights, and sexual harassmentwhere the blindness of the law to race and gender obstructs the rights of the injured party/.6In such cases concepts crucial to American national identity, such as individual merit, blindjustice, and abstract standards, ignore the historical conditions that have shaped the identitiesof marginalized people or, as Patricia Williams puts it in her discussion of affirmative action, ,"a refusal to talk about the past disguises a refusal to talk about the present." Williamsposits historical understanding as a remedy to institutional blindness by addressing the pastexperiences of inequality that have shaped the current interests, abilities, and beliefs ofmarginalized groups. Gee/E Love is a text that explores the necessity of situating the problemof difference and equality within history. Focusing relentlessly on the physical body as a siteof oppression, the novel illustrates what Michel Foucault has called the "microphysics ofpower," which situate domination deep in the ritualized practices of everyday life,8 but it alsoposits the body firmly anchored within history as a site for the reclamation of agency. The relationship between history and the body becomes increasingly fraught as technologydevelops unprecedented capabilities for altering the physical form that call into question thelimits of knowledge and the boundaries of the human body. Gee/e Love critiques institutionsthat endorse bodily transformation as a means of escaping from history and suggests insteadthat this new plasticity of the body must be informed by a knowledge of one's personal pastand its position within local and national history. In Gee/i Low, however, history, like bodies,is malleable, and its significance shifts depending on the context of its retelling. Faced withpotentially limitless possibilities, the novel manifests an anxiety—shared by many critics of _postmodernism—about boundaries and limitations. Without recourse to the natural, who isto say when science should stop trying to change the body's shape and genetic makeup? And .without master narratives that signal the Truth, how can we maintain a sense of the signifi-cance of past events? In Gee/z Love, the freak show becomes the locus for this anxiety about the malleability ofbodies and history. The freak's partial identity, her inability to fit into fixed categories ofdefinition, is what designates her as a human oddity worthy of display for profit. In the past, \ 278 ...

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f essentialism so.nderstanding ofbe asking is notssentialist, 1054;Of identity poli-lbject's complex5 both essential-: hand, demon—d on the other,Jject of violenceunderstandingsericans attempta nation's social guarantees the*22'. Political andlegal system to1131 harassmentinjured party,6lal merit, blindd the identitiesrmative action,nt."7 Williamsessing the pastand beliefs of1g the problem. body as a sitemicrophysies ofife,8 but it alsogency.: as technology0 question theres institutionsiggests instead; personal pastry, like bodies,Lg. Faced withmany critics ofratural, who ismakeup? Andof the signifi- nalleability of categories oft. In the past, 91 AN AMERICAN TAIL K individuals born with bodily differences, such as Siamese twins, dwarfs and midgets, or thehuman torso, would premise their sideshow exhibits on displays of their normality, whichdemonstrated their ability to accomplish everyday tasks with ease, to think intelligently, andto engage in respectable relationships with others.9 Exhibits focused on the performer'shealthy relationship with a spouse, ability to bear children, and acceptance into polite societyas part of her freakishness. For example, the human torso Prince Randian was celebrated forhis ability to roll a cigarette and light it with his mouth, and the marriage of the Siamesetwins Chang and Eng to two normal sisters was widely publicized as proof of their remarkablecondition. In contrast, those performers who were not born true freaks, such as the snakecharmer, the savage, the strongman, or the tattooed person, emphasized their dyj'éreme fromthe average person. In either case, the exhibit was premised on the deviance of the freaksbody; its titillating transgression of boundarieSWsavage/human, child/adult, man/woman,self/otherwcalled into question the audience's preconceived notions of the possibilities andlimitations of the human body. _ In unsettling the stable boundaries of the human body, the freak show also throws intocriSis fixed ideas about genealogy and history. The "true life" pamphlets that frequentlyaccompanied exhibits provided a biographical description of the subject, his or her physicaloddities, "official" endorsements of authenticity by doctors and scientists, and, in more exoticcases, descriptions of the geography and native people of the freaks country of origin, whichwere often grossly exaggerated or patently untrue. According to Robert Bogdan, "Somepamphlets were forty and more pages long, going on in elaborate, fraudulent detail about thetrek through the jungle that resulted in finding the lost tribe of which the exhibit was amember—when in fact the person was born and raised in New Jersey" 10 The very identityof the freak is thus premised on the invention of a history that will draw maximum crowdsand profit. If some biographies embellished the freak's identity by inventing exotic, farawayorigins, others displayed an anxiety about genealogy, insisting on the normality of the freak'sparents and offspring. Such pamphlets emphasized the freak's ability to produce normal,healthy offspring, as if to insure the audience of the isolated deviance of the freak's bodyagainst an anxiety about the generation of a race of similarly freakish progeny. Both thosebiographies that claimed afliliation with exotic tribes and those that described their subjectsas isolated anomalies reflect an anxiety about the freak's place in history and work to situateher outside of, or as a bizarre and impotent anomaly in, mainstream American life. Although the freak show has all but vanished from American culture, the questions it raisesabout the significance and definition of the human body have multiplied as science developsunprecedented capabilities for understanding, penetrating, and restructuring the inner ahdouter spaces of the body. As Geek Lone so brilliantly demonstrates, both the freak showand new surgical technologies converge in their obsession with sexuality, production, andreproduction. The novel critiques those institutions that focus on the body with the ostensiblegoal of bettering human life, but ultimately offer only fetishized models of beauty andperfection that endorse bodily transformation as a means of escaping from history. Medicaltechnology, which promises improved health and longevity, becomes instead a means ofnormalizing the body, of producing replicants of a single, idealized model. The ability toreplicate bodies and body parts—now possible through cosmetic surgery, with more sophisti—cated processes such as cloning projected in the near future— combined with new reproduc—tive technologies that allow sex without reproduction, in vitro fertilization, fertility treatments, 279 ...

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a RACHEL ADAMS E and surrogate pregnancy focus the crisis of definition most prominently on the female body.11 In 032/: Law the tension between production and reproduction, procreation and replication,is most tellingly illustrated in the conflict over whether Olympia's estranged daughter Mirandawill choose to keep her tail or have it surgically removed. The conflict over Miranda's tail isthe central structuring device of the narrative (the tale), the occasion for repeated movementbetween accounts of the present and memories of or documented information about the past.A vestigial remnant that recalls the human body's articulation with the natural and animalworlds, as well as Miranda's connection to her own bizarre familial past, the tail thematizesthe necessity of thinking about bodily difference within the context of personal and collectivehistory. AN AMERICAN TAIL Early in the novel, Miranda must choose whether to keep her tail, which she displays forprofit by dancing naked at the Glass House, or to take the large sum of money the wealthyheiress Mary Lick offers her to have it removed. By leaving Miranda the story of her past,Olympia provides a third choice: to keep her tail but to understand it as the product of afamily history rather than simply as a fetishized object of male desire. This choice isparadigmatic of the novel's insistence on the historical nature of embodied identity. Knowingyour own history becomes a means of negotiating between institutions that attempt to imposean official version of identity and those that seek to erase the past altogether. For Michel deCerteau, the retelling of officially sanctioned histories in "ordinary language" allows for theinsertion of "the insignificant detail" that "makes the commonplace produce other efiects." 12The retelling of stories, which enables the ordinary person to make meaning out of officialnarratives, may become an empowering tactic for asserting agency and staking a claim in theworkings of large and often impersonal cultural institutions. In the face of institutions thatseek to classify them as disabled, monstrous, or perverse, the freaks in Gee/E Lorue recount theirpast as a means of affirming their unique form of embodiment and situating their familyhistory within the context of American national identity. The novel's intervention in American historiography focuses on the freak show, a form ofentertainment distinctly associated with the low, the spectacular, and the mass culture audi—ence, as it traces the freaks' experiences and subjectivities as they move through the smalltowns, highways, shopping malls, and supermarkets that make up the American landscape.Significantly, the Binewski children's origins are connected to a date of national victory; theyderive ceaseless delight from the story of how their parents met on a Fourth ofjuly'weekendwhen Lillian Hinchcliff, "a water—cool aristocrat from the fastidious side of Boston's BeaconHill," gets the handsome Aloysius Binewski out of a pinch by agreeing to geek for him, anoutrageous and profane juxtaposition of blue—blooded Americana with the low and spectacularthat is characteristic of the novel. Aloysius, the Binewski patriarch, "was a standard-issueYankee, set on self—deterrrunation and independence." A self-made man who brings thecarnival success through the Franklinesque virtues of thrift and ingenuity, Aloysius conceivesof the ingenuous plan of breeding his own freak show because, as Lillian often remarks,"What greater gift could you offer your children than an inherent ability to earn a living justby being themselves?" (7). Recognizing the significant relationship between the body and the 280 ___._- __._ _.,___,_...._ .._,._-e_.—_ ___.. W __ ,__._. ...

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e female body/.11and replication,lighter MirandaMiranda's tail is:ated movement1 about the past.ural and animal: tail thematizesal and collective she displays forney the wealthy:ory of her paSt,he product of aThis choice isentity. Knowingtempt to impose. For Michel de" allows for theother effects." 12g Out of officialg a claim in theinstitutions thatwe recount their .ng their family show, a form of.58 culture audi-rough the smallrican landscape.ial victory; theyofjuly weekendBoston's Beaconeek for him, anand spectacularI standard—issuewho brings theaysius conceivesoften remarks,am a living just1c body and the 91 AN AMERICAN TAIL 's ability to generate income, the Binewskis are excellent interpreters of the capitalist systemthat constructs the body as a commodity. The Binewskis solidify their children's sense of identity through the retelling of familyhistory, which cements their connection to one another through a shared extraordinary pastreflected in their extraordinary bodies. But in spite of their affirmation of familial bonds andindisputable American pah'iotisrn, the Binewskis are unable to maintain their sense of placewithin a larger national context that would provide them with a historical understanding ofthe freakish body. Significantly, even the youthful Lil is unable to connect her own localexperience to historical events; she clearly remembers July 3rd as the date when she saved Al,yet she muses, "it was during a war, darlings .. . I forget which one precisely" (4). Thisforgetting of national events presages Lil's eventual drugeinduced oblivion, which causes herto believe she is completely alone in the house where she lives with both her daughter andgranddaughter. Unable to accept her "failures," the freakish offspring who died in utero orsoon after birth, Lil keeps them stored in jars of formaldehyde that she visits each day.Refusing to mourn their deaths, she engages in the melancholic practice of obsessivelypolishing their jars. The end of Geek Lane, which reveals the novel as an extended act of mourning through the retelling of history, will provide an alternative to Lil's willed ignorance of the past.13 Similarly, Arty, the eldest Binewski son, has a strong sense of interpersonal relationshipsbut little understanding of context. As Norval Sanderson, a journalist who keeps records ofthe carnival's proceedings, writes: "National and international politics are outside [Arty's]experience and reading. Municipal power relationships, however, are familiar tools to him. Hehas no real grasp of history—seems to have picked up drifts from his readingvbut he is agifted analyst of personality and motivation" (190). Devoid of any conception of the largeroperations of power or history, Arty is a skilled manipulator of the local and specific, a qualitythat brings him temporary success but eventually causes his downfall, a question to which Ireturn in my discussion of the Arturan cult. Of course, this disregard for national politics and history may have to do with the minimalrole that marginalized people have been accorded in the making of such structures. Asfeminists and scholars of color have long pointed out, the creation of history has always beenthe prerogative of the privileged white male, while women and other marginalized groups arepersistently associated with the low, the bodily, and the everyday. In its recuperation of theother in American culture, the novel focuses incessantly on bodily difference in explicit andmagnificent detail to demonstrate that an alternative American history would necessarilyexamine the way that official narratives work to occlude the subjection of deviant bodies. GeekLow delineates the way that freaks are able to manipulate their excess embodiment for thepurposes of profit and personal empowerment. While outside the carnival gates bodily difference is confronted with stares of pity and disgust, the freaks create a space where theyvoluntarily display their bodies as spectacles for the viewing pleasure of "norms," who theycondescendingly describe as "assembly—line items" (282), "engulfed by a terror of their ownordinariness" (223). This pride comes from the kind of essentialism expressed in Olympia'sstatement: "A true freak cannot be made. A true freak must be born." However, with Arty'srise to power the freaks become unable to situate their claims to authenticity within historyand instead focus on turning their unique bodies into commodities. This kind of bodily 28! ...

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a RACHEL ADAMS E authenticity, which involves replication rather than reproduction, increasingly serves the endsof men while proving harmful and disempowering to the female freak. "IT'S THE ERA 0F FREAKINESSI"; THE CULT or THE Bony While a history of marginalized people would need to focus on the body in pain and as thesubject of violence, disembodiment has typically been a privilege accorded to those who arewealthy and powerful enough literally to "forget" their fleshly origins. Lauren Berlant arguesthat within a liberal democracy, disembodiment is the prerogative of certain privilegedcitizens: "The white, male body is the relay to legitimation, but even more than that, thepower to suppress that body, to cover its tracks and traces, is the sign of real authority,according to Constitutional fashion." Those who do not embody this normative ideal becauseof race or gender experience a "surplus corporeality" where the "body is not abstract, buthyper-embodied, an obstacle and not a vehicle to public pleasure and power." 14 This ideal ofdisembodiment materializes in the cult that evolves around Arty, born with flippers instead ofarms and legs, who capitalizes on the success of his sideshow act by inducing his followers togive up all of their money and work for the privilege of gradually having their arms and legsamputated in his image. Historically, religious cults in America have encouraged extremebodily deprivation in order to break down the will and reach spiritual insight. The Arturancult, however, like the contemporary "cult of the body," has new technologies at hand that gobeyond simple deprivation in their ability to penetrate and reconfigure both the interior and meant through literal means—the amputation of limbs—it actually apprommates numerouscontemporary cultural institutions that fetisbize the body, such as cosmetic surgery, bodybuild-ing, and the diet industry. The partnership of the skilled surgeon Doc Phyllis and the psychicFortunate—who can enter the patient's brain to eliminate pain and trauma—which enablesthe bodily mutilations of the Arturans, taps into an anxiety about the ability of advancedmedical technologies to alter the contours of the body in unprecedented ways. These invasivetechnologies combine with the language of self—help, which provides instruction on how to"become happy with your inner self," to create a contradictory discourse about the body thatasserts, on the one hand, the capacity for change and perfection, and on the other, itsinsignificance to personal satisfaction. Not surprisingly, Arty's first acolyte is Alma Witherspoon, an obese, working-class womanwhom he addresses directly during one of his shows: "Can you be happy with the movies andthe ads and the clothes in the stores and the doctors and the eyes as you walk down the streetall telling you there is something wrong with you?" His question recognizes that idealizedimages of femininity make women feel constant dissatisfaction with their appearance as it isperceived by others. Using the rhetoric of pop psychology, Arty consoles Alma by assertingthat these are culturally produced ideals that wrongly confiate virtue and intelligence withphysical beauty. He assures her that what she really wants "to know is that you're all rig/1f!That's what can give you peace!" (178). But in this case, the signifier for being "all right" isremaking oneself in Arty's image: promising a refuge from a world filled with "terroristattacks, mass murders, disease, divorce, crooked politicians, pollution, war and rumors of war"(231), the cult offers its members a personal means of escape rather than considering thesource of their disillusionment in collective or historical structures, hence its motto, "Peace, 282 ' ..., gamwmamwmwnwmamn." ...

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/ serves the ends )Y pain and as the0 those who aren Berlant argues:rtain privileged8 than that, thef real authority,ive ideal becausenot abstract, but'14 This ideal ofippers instead ofhis followers toit arms and legs>uraged extremeIt. The Arturanat hand that gothe interior andgo of dzlreméaa'i—nates numerousgery, bodybuild—and the psychic-which enablesity of advanced. These invasive:tion on how toIt the body that1 the other, its ng~class womanthe movies anddown the street5 that idealizedmanner: as it is.na by assertingitchigence withyou're all right!rig "all right" iswith "terroristrumors of war":onsidering themotto, "Peace, lilllil!lIl1l d AN AMERICAN TAIL E Isolation, Purity" (227). While Arty seduces Alma Witherspoon by promising her freedomfrom a culture where judgments of personal value are made on the basis of physical appear—ance, he introduces her into a strikingly similar world, where virtue is determined by howclosely the initiate approximates yet another bodily ideal. Adopting the rhetoric of advertising,Arty boasts that his cult is a desirable "choice" available to those who can afford the admissionfee, but the pretense of free will conceals a constrained situation that offers only the choice ofescape, not a means of coping with or changing the world itself. This form of escapism, which focuses on the body at the expense of more collective,historically informed strategies for change, approximates contemporary "healt " industriessuch as bodybuilding for competition, which offer individual satisfaction through bodilychange and endorse an ideology that combines self-help and physical enhancement. Bodybu-ilding for competition is distinguished from most other forms of strength-enhancing fitnessin that, while it gives the individual an appearance of well—being and massive strength, it is infact dangerously unhealthy and can be fatal. Like the Arturan cult, bodybuilders rejectdominant beauty ideals, deliberately making the body a spectacle by taking the culturallyvalued attributes of strength, fadessness, tan, and muscle to grotesque excess. Significantly,competitive bodybuilding self—consciously appropriates the discourse of the sideshow: as arecent letter to Muscular Development enthused, "It's the era of freakinessl (. . . and there'snothing wrong with freakiness .. . it's the name of the game!)"15 Likewise, Sam Fussellwrites: "It's the Greatest Show on Earth. The bodybuilder comes complete with everything but a velvet restraining rope and castors. To this day, 'freaky' is the highest compliment one bodybuilder can pay another."16Geek Love draws a striking parallel between the fictional cult with its genesis in the sideshow and contemporary institutions such as bodybuilding that are obsessed with defyingbiology and history to alter the human form beyond the possibilities provided by "nature."Both the bodybuilder and the Arturan believe in the infinite malleability of the humanphysique. Emphasizing excess, the language of bodybuilding boasts of the ability to create abody larger and more muscular than could occur in the natural world. Bodybuilders andArturans share a nonessentialist view of the boundaries of the body in which drugs andsurgery are necessary products in its recreation.17 Unlike feminist understandings of aninesscntial body, which envision an increased acceptance of difference, these cults of the bodywork toward an idealized final referent. If they signal a radical redefinition of bodily appear—ance, it is not toward a new acceptance of physical difference and variety, but rather towardreplicating a single fetishizcd ideal. The freakishness of bodybuilders challenges dominantbeauty ideals but does not undermine the existence of an idealized shape and size. Likewise,the Arturans can have their limbs removed in an approximation of their leader, but Artyremains the true freak, authentic because he was born with bodily difference rather thanhaving to work for it. Because he "has no real grasp of history," Arty seeks to remove bodiesfrom their sociopolitical contexts and fashion new identities for them. However, this solutionworks only temporarily for a woman like Alma Witherspoon, whose immobile torso is soon"retired" to be replaced by a series of identical acolytes. Like the movies, ads, and medicalpractitioners he criticizes, Arty's authentic freakishness calls for replication of an idealized model rather than new ways to think about difl'erence. 283 ...

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ElRACIIEL ADAMS E:- PRODUCTION, REPRODUCTION, AND THE FEMALE FREAK Arty's ability to turn his peculiarly formed body into an ideal demonstrates his talent as amanipulator of the local and specific. But if the cult works through the creation of replicantsin the image of one, idealized form, then the female body, with its ability to create originalsthrough reproduction, poses a threat to Arty's absolute power.18 Although the "truth" of thefreak may be determined through biological birth, the novel imagines radical forms of sex,conception, and pregnancy that shift received notions of what it means to be a woman andthe boundaries of the human body itself. Lil and Al's breeding experiments, the twins' desirefor an abortion, and Olympia's artificial insemination all suggest an inessential understandingof the female body and its capacity and desire for reproduction. Because the ability to reproducefreaks, creating difference rather than similarity, calls Arty's regime into crisis, he must maintaincomplete dominion over the sexual and reproductive activities of each of his sisters. The Siamese twins, Electra and Iphegenia, threaten Arty because they are able to drawsuch large audiences, and as they mature, they begin to capitalize on their appeal both onstageand off. Realizing the erotic suggestion of their joined bodies, which play directly into malefantasies of multiple orifices and partners, Elly states mattereof-factly: "You know what thenorms really want to ask . . . How do we fuck? That and who, or maybe what. Most guyswonder what it would be like to fuck us. So, I figure, why not capitalize on that curiosity. "(207).19 While initially lphy has doubts about relinquishing her virginity—the twins' dis—agreement suggesting thc mixed messages that women receive about sex—after their firstexperience they willingly offer themselves to those who are able to pay their exorbitant prices,making a profit off of their already objectified condition Their story suggests that if womenboth inside and outside the carnival gates are treated as sexualized objects, subjected daily todesiring male gazes they cannot avoid, then there is little difference between the twins'performing onstage and off, and their prostitution offers them a means of controlling the usesto which their bodies will be put. As Anne McClintock has argued, depending on thecircumstances, prostitution can be an empowering choice for women who otherwise wouldhave little control over their bodies, sexuality, or working conditions.20 Precisely because the twins' prostitution guarantees them a degree of autonomy, the enragedArty unceremoniously "gives" them to the Bag Man "just to fuck" (245). By "giving" hissisters away, Arty reaffirms their status as objects of exchange. After forcefully preventingthem from aborting the resulting pregnancy, he has Elly, the more dominant and aggressivetwin, lobotomized, leaving Iphy to care for both the fetus and the limp torso of her sister.Norval Sanderson describes "the pale Iphy in her painful progress down the row toward theChute with her swollen belly pulling her forward while she struggles to balance the flabbymonster that sprouts from her waist" (272-73). Her pathetic attempts to support the senselesstorso of her sister call attention to the parasitic nature of unwanted pregnancy: like the passiveand drooling Elly, the fetus is another alien "monster" dependent upon the body of themother. In contrast with the "choice" offered by the Arturan cult, in this sequence the novelmakes its most explicit endorsement for the protection of women's right to make decisionsabout sex, pregnancy, and reproduction. Rather than simply affirming the necessity of"choicc"—which disturbingly participates in the logic of the Arturans— Gee/c Low shifts thegrounds of the abortion debate to reveal the larger questions obscured by the rhetoric of pro—life/pro—choice. Elly's lobotomy and unwanted pregnancy vividly illustrate the ways in which 284 ...

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—'..'. , mMH—J his talent as a)n of replicantscreate originals: "truth" of the1 forms of sex,I a woman and1e twins' desireunderstanding ty to reproduce- must maintain:rs. : able to draw11 both onstage:ctly into malemow what therat. Most guysthat curiosity?":he twins' dis—Lfter their first)rbitant prices,that if womenjected daily to:en the twins'olling the uses:nding on theierwise would y, the enragedy "giving" his11y preventing1nd aggressive- of her sister.>w toward theice the flabbyt the senselesskc the passive body of the:nce the novelrake decisions necessity ofLove shifts theetoric of pro-vays in which ".WHF..____—_,___ __ a ._.__,._____»_.__._v._.,.._ _ a AN AMERICAN TAIL % legal intervention in questions of reproduction, motherhood, and fetal rights can deny thesubjectivity and bodily integrity of pregnant women.21 The final conflict between the twinsrepresents the only possible outcome for the persistent denial of bodily integrity: the bodythat turns on itself as the two subjectivities violently enact their divided loyalties. Because of their beauty and exotic body the twins experience in extreme form many of thesame obstacles as "norm" women. Olympia's extreme ugliness, however, excludes her from thepatriarchal system of exchange at work within the novel. As Luce Irigaray has described it in"Women on the Market," women living under patriarchal capitalism become like commodi—ties, objects of exchange by and for men. As Such, women have no inherent value; their worthis determined solely through their appeal to men: "in order for a product—~21 woman?—tohave value, two men, at least, have to invest (in) her."22 If this is the case with the twins, whoso accurately mirror male fantasies and spend their lives moving from one site of dominationto another, then what becomes of the woman who is so ugly that she is desired by no one? Olympia's extreme ugliness renders her, in effect, a worthless commodity. She is the only woman in the novel who remains unattached to any partner, a position that grants her anagency unavailable to other women, but also causes her profound isolation and loneliness. AsAlma Witherspoon would attest, a culture obsessed with images of beauty leaves little roomfor the empowerment of ugly women. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick makes a similar argumentabout the fat woman in a clothing store who has the economic means to make a purchase butreceives a message that "your money is not negotiable in this place." Although she has moneyto spend, she experiences the "precipitation of [her] very body as a kind of cul—de—sac,blockage or clot in the circulation of economic value."23 Similar to the fat woman, the dwarfis an obstacle in the exchange of commodities and bodies, and Olympia, like Alma, seeksrefirge in disembodiment. Yet unlike the Arturans, who seek disembodiment through theamputation of limbs, Olympia assumes a prosthetic identity as a radio personality fittinglycalled "the Story Lady," which allows her a form of escape from a body that on the street, ismet either by pitying stares or averted glances that seek to render her invisible. Her one positive bodily experience is pregnancy, which she achieves without physicalpenetration or other intimate human contact. Asking Chick to use his telekinetic powers tomove Arty's sperm, "the little Wiggly things," into her body, Olympia undergoes a fantasticform of artificial insemination that parallels recent scientific advances that allow for impregna-tion without intercourse. Like a sperm bank donor, Arty never knows he is the father of thechild, and his crass economic pragmatism forces Olympia to give Miranda up when theydiscover that her only asset is a curly, pink tail, an unmarketable spectacle. In the case of both the twins and Olympia, pregnancy and reproduction—which signal theability to generate life, to produce more freaks-— threaten Arty's coercive system of replication.If the cult establishes his absolute autonomy through the subjection of others, female freakshold the possibility of making other freaks that might challenge his authority. As I haveargued, the making of freaks is, of course, also the making of history. While Arty attempts toobstruct Olympia's attempts to start a new family, after the carnival comes to a fiery end sheworks to reestablish a connection to her daughter and to leave her with the story of her ownpast, a knowledge that can inform the decisions that Miranda makes about her body.Olympia's plea that she keep her tail is less a resort to authentic bodily integrity than arecognition that familiarity with her past might complicate or change what otherwise appear to be endless and inconsequential options. 285 ...

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a RACHEL ADAMS E POSTMODERN PLASTICITY AND THE TECHNO-FREAK The freaks in Geek Love, who simultaneously proclaim their own authenticity and use varioustechnologies to manipulate the body, provide an interesting limit case for questions that arisein an age when science and theory are engaged in a radical redefinition ofwhat it means to behuman?" Cybernetics, the information superhighway, artificial organs, gene splicing, andother newly developing technologies raise the stakes for ontological and epistemologicaldebates that were once purely speculative. Feminists have focused on the effects these devel—oping technologies, at once promising and extremely dangerous, might have on the femalebody: fantasies of the infinite malleability of the human form, reproduction without sex, andconsumption without labor are potentially liberating or dangerous, depending on their contextand consequences. Geek Lowe imagines one nightmare scenario in which the combination oftechnology and feminism becomes profoundly destructive. Inspired by the practices of the Arturan cult, Mary Lick takes what Susan Bordo has called"postmodern plasticitf' to horrifying extremes by offering disembodiment as a solution to alife where beauty and sexuality are distractions from more important callings. For Bordo, theproblem with "postmodern plasticity"—the sense of limitless freedom to alter and correct thecontours of the body—is that it embraces normalizing standards of beauty premised on a.willful ignorance of the historical inequalities that have been connected to various forms ofbodily difference. She writes: "Gradually and surely, a technology that was first aimed at thereplacement of malfiinctioning parts has generated an industry and an ideology fueled byfantasies of rearranging, transforming, and correcting, an ideology of limitless improvementand change, defying the historicity, the mortality, and indeed, the very materiality of thebody?" Although "the ideology of limitless improvement" is primarily geared toward thereplication of a slender, white, beauty ideal, Mary Lick uses medical science to subvert thesenormalizing impulses. If patriarchal culture objectifies women by judging their value on thebasis of physical appearance, Mary's brand of feminism sees the eradication of the "female—ness" of the female body— by removing breasts and hair, sewing shut the vagina, clitorectomy,and other types of mutilation—as the only solution to gender inequalities. Olympia's discov~ery that Mary has offered her daughter a large sum of money to have her tail removed, thusbeginning a gradual process of disfigurement, necessitates her violent intervention to preserveboth tale and tail. 7 Mary's scopic addiction to "changing people" involves sponsoring surgical mutilations ofthe female body so that she can watch them taking place and capture them on film for later.A horrifying antidote to the beauty myth, "Mary Lick's purpose is to liberate women who areliable to be exploited by male hungers. These exploitable women are, in Miss Lick's View, thepretty ones. She feels great pity for them" (162). Using her vast wealth, Mary pays promising young women to have their bodies altered so that they are no longer beautiful, thus "liberat— _ ing" them to pursue advanced professional careers. Imposing her own asexuality onto otherwomen, she dreams of manufacturing a race of professional superwomen who would livealone, caring only for themselves and the furthering of their high-powered careers. In herversion of feminism, the body is always a dangerous detraction from more important concerns.By using technology to mar its beauty, she fantasizcs that she is liberating women from thedistractions of physicality in order to achieve more important goals. 286 WWW"- w... .—_-_,.._._.,._....._._. —__. ,__..__,.___. w.._—~_....—i .___......_,.,,.7 ...

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ty and use variousuestions that arisehat it means to beone splicing, andd epistemological:Tects these devel—we on the femalervvithout sex, andg on their context1e combination of r Bordo has calledas a solution to ags. For Bordo, theer and correct thety premised on a various forms offirst aimed at theleology fueled byless improvement.nateriality of the;eared toward thee to subvert theseheir value on then of the "female-;ina, clitorectomy,Olympia's discov-:ail removed, thus:ntion to preserve :al mutilations ofon film for later.e women who are;s Lick's view, thery pays promising ful, thus "liberat~ ' arality onto otherr who would live:d careers. In herportant concerns.women from the 91 AN AMERICAN TAIL K~ Yet her interventions are not limited to eradicating beauty and the attributes of femininity.Significantly, her first operation is on Carina, "Half black. Half Italian. Poor as shit. Adropout but she tested high in aptitudes" (159). After using acid to mar her beauty, Maryfunds Carina's college education and helps her to get a job as a translator. Carina's operationliterally burns the skin from her face, erasing the physical markings of her racial identity,while her "educatiorf' removes her from her "shit poor" class affiliation. Although it may beproblematic to associate race with physical characteristics, the destruction of those featuresseems a particularly violent and perverse solution to racial inequality, for if Carina's ethnichybridity and extreme poverty are inscribed upon her body, their erasure signals the inten~tional obliteration of her history in the service of what one wealthy, white woman perceives asa more rewarding existence. The danger of Mary Lick is not her rejection of an essential,unchanging bodily identity, but rather her need to remake the bodies of underprivilegedwomen in the image of her own desires. The fatal confrontation between Olynnpia and Mary Lick occurs in the locker room of ahealth club, the site of Arnericans' compensatory search for the perfect body in the face ofdisillusionment with other, more collective forms of embodiment, such as religious, political,and national identity. Caught in the deadly cloud of sterilizing chemicals Olympia hasprepared for her, Mary Lick dies and takes the dwarf along with her. At the end of the novel,a newspaper clipping describing the two women's deaths and a letter from Olympia revealthat the narrative is her way of posthumously bequeathing the Binewski family history to itsfinal descendant. Unlike Lil's melancholic attachment to her dead babies, Olympia's letteraccomplishes the work of mourning by working through the trauma of her family's violentdeath and the loss of her only love, her brother Arty. Miranda, who has always had an aesthetic attraction to individuals with various bodilydeformities as the objects of her medical illustrations, now possesses the history of her owndifference. If the men who leer at her and "want to pump her full of baby juice" (18) whenshe dances nude onstage invest her tail with one set of meanings, her family history providesan alternative. By leaving Miranda's future unresolved, the novel does not attempt to reconcileor evaluate these meanings. This refusal to make evaluative judgments or offer a way out ofits relentless horrors may be one reason some reviewers felt dissatisfied with Geek Lave,dismissing it as pure spectacle overcome by its own perversions. Mary Lick remarks soonbefore her death, "It's amazing that you andI are so much alike, isn't it?" and Olympia agrees:"She's right. We each appear totally alone in our lives. . . . We choose to seem barren, lovelessorphans. We each have a secret family. Miss Lick has her darlings andl have mine. All'we'vereally lacked is someone to tell" (340). The act of telling is a way for Olympia to memorialize her own death and to commemoratethe lives of a family that would not be recognized by mainstream history. In her letter, shebestows a sense of collective identity that Miranda did not previously have: "I can't be surewhat the trunk will mean to you, or the news that you aren't alone, that you are one of us"(348). This sentence echoes the climactic "wedding feast" of Tod Browning's 1932 filmFreak, in which the tall, beautiful Cleopatra is threatened by a throng of angry freaks whochant that she is "one of us." And indeed, by the end of the film the opportunistic Cleopatrais punished for marrying Hans the midget for his money: inexplicabl , through the freaks' violent collective intervention, she becomes "one of us," a squawking, half—woman encased 287 '— ...

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* RACHEL ADAMSKbehind bars at the freak show. Like Geek Love, the spectacle of her grotesque body, which issuggested at the film's opening but not revealed until the end, becomes the occasion forstorytelling that will invest her difference with meaning. As an audience stares open-mouthedat Cleopatra's cage, the barker launches into the film's narrative, which reveals the origins ofher misshapen form as a just punishment for her avarice and cruelty. As Mary Russo hasargued, the image of Cleopatra's body "remarginalizes the sideshow freaks as commercialoddities who, perhaps, should not be blamed for their inhuman behavior."2Do the film and the novel leave the freak's body-and, significantly, in both cases it is afemale freak-invested with purely negative meanings? In Freaks, becoming "one of us" is apunishment, while Geek Love, although more ambiguous, nonetheless connects Miranda to ahistory of violence and pain. Both texts move to normalize the freak's shocking body, as thefilm's epilogue finds Hans and Frieda enjoying a placid bourgeois retirement, and Olympiamakes herself invisible by adopting a prosthetic identity. However, her death implies thatAmerican culture has not yet made room for an acceptance of physical difference, and thenovel's power lies precisely in its refusal to suggest a utopian community that would relieve itsreaders of an overwhelming sensation of oppression and constraint: if "norms" view freaks asthe stuff of nightmares, Geek Love seems intent on producing precisely that effect. Bothnovel and film insist upon the necessity of the past in defining who we are and how we willlive in the present. And although Olympia resists an outright condemnation of Mary Lick'sbehavior, the novel does problematize the use of economic and emotional coercion to induceindividuals to undergo physical alteration as a solution to social inequalities. As we developthe technology to effect increasingly radical transformations of the body and more sophisti-cated forms of prosthetic identity that promise its transcendence, Geek Love suggests thathistory will become more-and not less-important. If we no longer have recourse to natureor essence to make ethical claims about the body, the continual retelling of tales and tailsbecomes our only means of working through the past to invest our bodies with the weight ofhistory and memory.NOTESI am grateful to Maurizia Boscagli for her careful reading and comments on an earlier version of thischapter; to Rosemarie Thomson for her encouragement of many drafts of the present chapter; and toParker Douglas, Jon Hegglund, Amy Rabbino, Chris Schedler, Kim Stone, and especially to JonConnolly for their generous and insightful suggestions.1. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, trans. and ed. H. M. Parshley (New York: Alfred A. Knopf,1952), 301.2. Donna Haraway, "The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others,'in Cultural Studies, ed. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler (New York: Routledge,1992), 295-337.3. Katherine Dunn, Geek Love (New York: Warner, 1989), 20. All subsequent references are citedparenthetically in the text.4. Diana Fuss, Essentially Speaking (New York: Routledge, 1989), ix.5. Ibid., 20.6. See Patricia J. Williams, Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 1991); Lauren Berlant, "America, 'Fat,' the Fetus," Boundary 2 21, no. 3 (Fall1994): 144-95; Susan Bordo, "Are Mothers Persons? Reproductive Rights and the Politics of Subjectiv-ity," in Unbearable Weight: Women, Western Culture, and the Body (Berkeley: University of California288...

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MAN AMERICAN TAILKque body, which isPress, 1993), 71-98; Linda Singer, "Reproductive Regulations in the Age of Sexual Epidemic," ins the occasion forErotic Welfare: Sexual Theory and Politics in an Age of Epidemic (New York: Routledge, 1993), 88-99;Iris Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).ares open-mouthed7. Williams, Alchemy of Race and Rights, 104.veals the origins of8. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage, 1977), 26.s Mary Russo has9. Most historical information on sideshows cited here is indebted to Robert Bogdan's Freak Show:aks as commercialPresenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).2610. Ibid., 20.1 both cases it is a11. Feminist critics attuned to the dangers of new reproductive technologies have argued thatopportunities for increased reproductive capacity are typically marketed toward wealthy, white families,ng "one of us" is awhile poor and minority women are encouraged to use birth control or permanent sterilization. See,nects Miranda to ae.g., Bordo, "Are Mothers Persons?"; Linda Singer, "Bodies-Pleasures-Powers," Erotic Welfare: Sexualicking body, as theTheory and Politics in an Age of Epidemic (New York: Routledge, 1993), 113-30.lent, and Olympia12. Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley: University ofdeath implies thatCalifornia Press, 1984), 89.lifference, and the13. See Sigmund Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia" (1917), Standard Edition, ed. James Strachey(London: Hogarth, 1957), 14:237-58. This concept has more recently been taken up by criticsat would relieve itsinterested in the relationship between mourning and history, individual and collective trauma, such asms" view freaks asCarl Gutierrez-Jones, Rethinking the Borderlands between Chicano Culture and Legal Discourse (Berkeley:that effect.27 BothUniversity of California Press, 1995); Dominic LaCapra, Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory,e and how we willTrauma (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994); Constance Penley, "Spaced Out: Rememberingon of Mary Lick'sChrista Mcauliffeamera Obscura 29 (May 1992): 179-214.14. Lauren Berlant, "National Brands/National Bodies," in Comparative American Identities, ed.coercion to induceHortense Spillers (New York: Routledge, 1991), 113-14.es. As we develop15. Don Ross, "Chizevski Bashing Unwarranted," Muscular Development, February 1994, 189. Thisind more sophisti-article participates in the ongoing debate over whether the ideal for female bodybuilders should be largeLove suggests thatsize or a more stereotypically feminine shape. As bodybuilding is a sport designed to enhance particu-recourse to naturelarly masculine traits, the standards for female competitors continue to be hotly contested.of tales and tails16. Sam Fussell, "Bodybuilder Americanus," Michigan Quarterly 32, no. 4 (Fall 1993): 578.17. Describing the process the bodybuilder undergoes to become "a self-willed grotesque," Fussellwith the weight ofoffers yet another trope on Beauvoir's famous quote: "Bodybuilders are made, not born, and they areyears in the making" (ibid., 583).18. N. Katherine Hayles has read the novel's recurrent focus on reproduction as thematizingpostmodern anxiety about the potential of advanced genetic science to alter human DNA codes.Although her analysis highlights the novel's concern with the uneasy relationship between technologyarlier version of thisand the human body, it surprisingly neglects to connect the anxiety about reproduction with dominationsent chapter; and toof and violence against the female body. "Postmodern Parataxis: Embodied Texts, Weightless Informa-id especially to Jontion," American Literary History 2, no. 3 (Fall 1990): 394-421.19. Leslie Fiedler's salacious account of the universal appeal of Siamese twins affirms this malefantasy: "In all ages, joined twins have evoked erotic fantasies in their audience, since they suggestk: Alfred A. Knopf,inevitably the possibility of multiple-fornication-or at least the impossibility of sexual privacy." Freaks:Myths and Images of the Secret Self (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), 206.propriate/d Others,"20. Anne Mcclintock, "Screwing the System: Sexwork, Race, and the Law," Boundary 2 19, no. 2:w York: Routledge,(Summer 1992): 94.21. For more on the problematic focus on "choice" within debates over reproductive politics, seereferences are citedBordo, "Are Mothers Persons?" 93.22. Luce Irigaray, "Women on the Market," in This Sex Which Is Not One, trans. Catherine Porter(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), 181.23. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Michael Moon, "Divinity: A Dossier, a Performance Piece, a Littleofessor (Cambridge:Understood Emotion," in Tendencies (Durham: Duke University Press, 1993), 217.`ary 2 21, no. 3 (Fall24. See, e.g., Rosi Braidotti, "Organs without Bodies," Differences 1 (Winter 1989): 147-61; DonnaPolitics of Subjectiv-Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991);ersity of CaliforniaHayles, "Postmodern Parataxis."289...

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* RACHEL ADAMS25. Susan Bordo, " Material Girl': The Effacements of Postmodern Culture," in Unbearable Weight:Women, Western Culture, and the Body (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 245.26. Mary Russo, The Female Grotesque: Risk, Excess, and Modernity (New York: Routledge, 1995), 93.27. Contrast this with the 1995 Academy Award-winning film, Forrest Gump, and the way that itsfreaks-Lieutenant Dan, Bubba, Jenny, and Forrest himself-are ultimately normalized, written backinto a bland story about America that takes the most charged moments in recent history and rewritesthem to erase their political content.290...


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<ul><li>sectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consect</li><li>sectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce d</li><li>sectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrice</li><li>sectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pell</li><li>sectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor</li><li>sectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec facilisis. Pellentesque dapibus efficitur laoreet. Nam risus ante, dapibus a molestie consequat, ultrices ac magna. Fusce dui lectus, congue vel laoreet ac, dictum vitae odio. Donec aliquet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam lacinia pulvinar tortor nec</li></ul>


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