Monday, February 11, 2008

It took me a while to get into this book. The overly abstract-flowery language seems substantially less once Gérard gets Paul to his uncle’s house. I did attempt those first five or so pages a few times and finally managed not to find myself napping during my final attempt. The boys of the snowball fight, on page 4, are referred to as “—the terrors of the Fifth”… “A year from now, having become the Fourth.” I can not figure out what this means; however, the capitalization and the fact that it is here in the novel at all, make me think it might be important. If anyone can explain to me what they are referring to, that would be fantastic.

Sexual identity is something that Gérard, Paul, and Elisabeth seem to be trying to figure out for themselves. In the beginning, Gérard is quite infatuated with Paul, but by page 85, he seems to be more so with Elisabeth. I wonder if this has to do with their dominance levels. Before that, he flirts with an entirely different possible fetish. “There had been something of a perversion, almost of necrophily, in the delicious pleasures of that journey with the unconscious youth; not that he envisaged it in such crude psychopathic terms” (32). Paul in the beginning likes Dargelos but then takes to picking up girls on the streets. Elisabeth, I think, is going through teenage girlhood as expected, insecure and seeking constant approval. The incest stuff is something that I won’t even attempt to assess. On page 75, Elisabeth is said to be “using Gérard as a stooge.” Is this sexual?

The rich, parentless, incestuous siblings reminded me of that movie, Cruel Intentions. I looked into it and found that I am wrong. That movie is based off a much older French novel. It helped me though to gain perspective for these characters since I personally, have a hard time relating to them. Here is how I am tracking them as I read:

(Elisabeth & Paul)
A few other things that struck me as dominant throughout this first half of the novel are the death of parents, dominance among peers, charity (both giving and receiving), and inhibitions of various settings: (alone vs. being with people you are quite comfortable with vs. people less familiar to you).


Amanda said...

one of the reasons that The Holy Terrors reminded you of cruel intentions is become Cruel intentions is based on a french novel,Les Liaisons dangereuses.
it has the same sort of dreaming sexuality..

Erin said...

Never in a million years would I have associated Les Enfants Terribles with Cruel Intentions. It all makes sense now. I was wondering if you would mind explaining why you associated certain characters from the book to the film. Elisabeth and Paul are obvious, but Gerard and Dargelos?

DJ Kessler said...

Gerard is like that Selma Blaire girl because he is so neutral and allows himself to be led around by the siblings. They both sort of do what they want with him. Reese Witherspoon's character is like Dargalos mostly because she is put on a pedestal by Paul. I realize I'm probably really stretching it, but when I was trying to get into this book, it helped me to attribute concrete characteristics to each of the characters so I could sort everyone out.