NABOKV-L post 0006968, Fri, 25 Oct 2002 16:06:36 -0700

Subject
Fw: : Poor Hazel - Kunin reply to Mr Friedman
Date
Body
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carolyn Kunin" <chaiselongue@earthlink.net>
To: "Vladimir Nabokov Forum" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 3:04 PM
Subject: Re: : Poor Hazel - reply to Mr Bolt



> > From: "Jerry Friedman" <jerry_friedman@yahoo.com>
> > To: "Vladimir Nabokov Forum" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> > Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 12:30 PM
> > Subject: Re: Fw: Poor Hazel - reply to Mr Bolt
> >
> >
> >> ----------------- Message requiring your approval (69
> > lines) ------------------
> >>
> >> --- "D. Barton Johnson" <chtodel@cox.net> wrote:
> >>> Poor Hazel - reply to Mr Bolt
> >>> ----- Original Message -----
> >>> From: Carolyn Kunin
> >>> To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
> >>> Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 9:06 PM
> >>> Subject: Poor Hazel - reply to Mr Bolt
> >> ...
> >>
> >>> That "Korean boy" gets invited to that rather exclusive party to
> >>> celebrate Shade's last birthday along with a celebrated American
author
> >>> and a senator. He must have something going for him.
> >>
> >> A friend of the family, maybe. The only "exclusivity" I see at that
> >> party is that Kinbote isn't invited, presumably because Sybil can't
> >> stand him.
> >>
> >>> And there's nothing
> >>> about a person who becomes a nun that in itself is necessarily
pathetic.
> >>> And you don't have to be a virgin to become a nun, either.
> >>
> >> But whether or not virginity is the right choice for some people,
> >> Shade describes Sybil as believing (and himself as not objecting)
> >> that Hazel has no choice, that she's too repulsive to have sex (at
> >> least on terms that Sybil will contemplate).
> >>
> >>> My own opinion, clever reading if you will, is that her father would
> >>> like us to think that her friends are pathetic outcasts, but there
> >>> really is no evidence that this is the case.
> >>>
> >>> There are a number of ugly women who have been successful - in love
> >>> among other things. Mrs Roosevelt comes to mind; the fictional
giantess,
> >>> Liesl, in Robertson Davies' "Fifth Business" comes to mind, and the
> >>> non-fictional Pancho Barnes (read her biography "The Happy Bottom
Riding
> >>> Club" for a very good time). There are many others, I assure you.
> >>
> >> Including a friend of mine, whose sex life (at least until her recent
> >> commitment to monogamy) tempted me to write an unauthorized biography.
> >>
> >>> An intelligent young woman with "great force of personality," who is
> >>> greatly loved by her doting mother and father, does not commit suicide
> >>> because she is ugly. No amount of empathy makes this believable.
> >>
> >> But I think her parents' attitudes toward her have a great deal to
> >> do with her suicide. Both John and Sybil seem to see Hazel's looks
> >> as disastrous. If we're going to have imaginative empathy for her,
> >> as Tom Bolt suggests, I think we need to imagine the effect of the
> >> relentless disappointment in her that Shade describes (and he may
> >> mislead us about Hazel's friends--I hadn't thought of that--but
> >> about his own part in her misery?).
> >>
> >> If Hazel had been a real person, we might wonder about her serotonin
> >> levels and all sorts of other information that, for a fictional
> >> character, is inaccessible even in principle. But I think we'd
> >> still suspect that her parents' inability to accept her physical
> >> ugliness contributed to her depression.
> >>
> >> My friend who I mentioned above has spoken about wanting to play
> >> Little Buttercup. If she had done so in grade school, I don't think
> >> her parents would have cried in the bathroom.
> >> ...
> >>
> >> Jerry Friedman
> >>
> >> __________________________________________________
> >> Do you Yahoo!?
> >> Y! Web Hosting - Let the expert host your web site
> >> http://webhosting.yahoo.com/
> >>
> Dear Mr Friedman,
>
> Well, I have never been to a party like that with say Truman Capote and a
US
> senator so it struck me as exclusive. Of course my interpretation does see
> Shade's Korean student as a friend of the family, but the implications are
> less than wholesome. My point was only that there is nothing inherently
> pathetic in being Korean, a virgin or a nun or ugly, and I wonder why
Shade
> wants to give his readers that impression.
>
> I think you are inventing Hazel's awareness of her parents'
disappointment,
> it may be, but if there's no evidence in the text (and I haven't found
any,
> have you?) it's not a strong argument. I think if there is an answer it
will
> be found in the text. My interpretation may be wrong, but at least I'm
> looking in the text not in my empathetic imagination (which I'm pretty
sure
> everyone is convinced I totally lack anyway).
>
> Carolyn Kunin
>
> Carolyn Kunin
>
>