Эссе: Maitland, Sara. Polly's Choice


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Английский язык
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Эссе
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2

... As a good feminist she starts wanting to write the story of a delicate genius exploited and destroyed by the men in her life. As she proceeds to meet the men (and the women) who had known Jones she is forced to recognise (surprise, surprise) that this is not the whole truth; more, she is forced to deal with her own subjective identification with Lorin and find that she does not much like it. The trouble is that the message is a bit simplistic-Polly Alter is so naive about herself and her subject that it is nearly impossible to believe that she could ever have got the job she is supposed to have at her museum, let alone land a commission to write a biography. Perhaps New York intellectual feminists are a different breed from British ones. (Perhaps also I have a subjective identification with New York intellectual feminists and I do not want us presented in this light-this is possible.) But I do not recognise these women: the lesbian scenes are frankly appalling and unfair to the narrative. If my best friends were women like this I, too, would seize the first opportunity to run off with a beach bum who had lied to me and who was the ex-toyboy of the subject of my biographical endeavours. Offered a crude choice of becoming "an angry, depressed lesbian feminist or a selfish successful career woman" (yes, it is posed as bluntly as that), Polly takes a surprisingly long time (five pages) to decide instead that she will consent to insecurity, sexual passion and complexity. "To your own self be true"-the moral message of this saga-is fairly trite when the alternatives are so deadly. And yet, on the way to so weak an ending, there are infinite delights. Lurie gives us, for example, "verbatim" the research interviews that Polly conducts: the subtle determination of every character to talk not about Lorin Jones, but about themselves is beautifully done; so is the forgiveness that Polly and her estranged father find for each other-a moment of real sweetness that makes all the wittier the failures and incomprehensions of their relationship. ...