What to make of Perversity?
After finishing Andre Breton’s Manifestoes in Surrealism this could be considered light reading. I tried to find information about Francis Carco, but Wikipedia failed me. He was a poet that belonged to the fantaiste school of thought. (I’m sure some of you were more resourceful, and even persistent, in your searches.)
A couple of things strike me as odd.
I have noticed that Emile’s sister is referred to by different names. Sometimes she is Irma; most often she is called this by Emile. And sometimes she is called the Red One; most often by Bebert. And then sometimes she is referred to as La Rouque, the Red One, prior to translation; most often in narration of events. (Unless of course I have fallen asleep while reading.) Irma has three different identities to various people and situations whereas everyone else only has one identity. Irma seems to be able to shift in and out of her roles when everyone else is stuck, especially Emile.
Emile is stuck in his routine of going to the office and then coming home. He is a dull character that does not know how to take pleasure in the company of others nor does he know how to just let down. He is wound too tightly. His nervousness is irritating to me. Emile seems to be conscious of his actions towards others and the consequences that they will have on the events that have yet to come. He is a selfish, self-loathing character that wreaks havoc wherever he goes. Is Emile’s inability to love a direct consequence of his own self-loathing or is it the women that he chooses? Or are some people just incapable of intimacy? Does Emile provoke Bebert in such a way as to further the events of the novel or would Bebert prey on anyone in order to get what he wants?
Bebert. I am not sure how I feel about Bebert. Perhaps feel is the wrong word to use. I am not sure how to interpret him. “Bebert took money away from these feeble creatures, wasted it, hunted for a new victim” (29). He is so savage. Bebert is a predator preying on the women. The passage eludes me, but when Emile looks in on Bebert sleeping, Bebert loses his savageness and becomes human again. The scar is a pale rose color, very delicate. Bebert is asleep so the violent emotions that are present during waking hours are diminished. He is a tiger when awake and a kitten while asleep.
It seems to me that the downward slide of Emile, Irma, and Bebert is a conscious turn of events. Each character is aware of the role that they play and no one is willing to give up their own identity in order to compromise. Irma is stuck in between family and her means for survival and Bebert and Emile only look after themselves. The men are selfish; the women are property of the men. All are tied together.