Esther’s Space- journey through my life

October 31, 2007

Galatea 2.2….4

Filed under: p()5t^^()d3,~]\[ — estherspace @ 6:49 pm

Galatea is one of those books where I read the last few pages, then close the book and search in vain the front and back covers, looking for clues that would make everything make sense. As usual, this tactic didn’t really work.

As for whether or not Helen was ‘conscious’, I’m afraid to go there. Though I hadn’t completely picked up on it when first reading, but the idea that Powers uses women (‘sucks them dry’) in order to fulfill himself, define himself, and write novels about his existential angst is very compelling. This seems especially true when Powers says things like:

“For years– forever– my reason had been C.’s She seemed set, pleased with what we had. I’d always thought the choice was mutual. Now I saw it had all been me. C. had drawn the whole curve of her adult life out of deference and fear.” (277)

boe_shame.jpg

With this revelation we are led to wonder if Powers has, indeed, experienced some epiphany that leads him to understand the terrible person he has been and strive to better himself. But, that is not to be the case, since he is obviously most concerned with himself and his experience of life. He admits that he was attracted to A. predominantly because she reminded him of all of the other women his life had been made up of, and she would be just another object by which he defined himself. To some degree, she would be his muse, except he would not love her for it, he would only need her.

As soon as Powers discovers Helen, his need for A. becomes different, mostly physical. With Helen in his life, he slowly realizes that he already has a source to glean from in order to create another novel, thereby validating him as a producer of something finite (which he truly loves, if we build upon his veneration of Taylor). As Powers says, “Each metaphor already modeled the modeler that pasted it together” (329). This book is the child of Richard Powers experience of ‘getting over’ C. He writes her as a used-up source, and in the process writes into the next chapter of his life, or, as (I think) he would put it, reflects upon a past life in writing his new life.

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1 Comment »

  1. Esther-

    This idea that Powers uses the women in his life is very interesting. He acknowledges the strain on his relationship with C. and how she was growing more and more needy, yet he continued to feed into it. And once Powers had enough material for a book, he leaves C. to head back to U. C. U. later, if you will (I know that was bad)

    Comment by ryancallander — November 2, 2007 @ 8:18 pm


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