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Rachel Townsend's picture

Thinking about class discussion

I've been thinking a lot about Paul's groups' Thursday discussion of Hustvedt.  Over the course of the class I completely changed my mind about the nature of the novel and I thought that it was great that thinking and discussing in a group like that could fo this for me.  Initially I proposed that the novel might be Hustvedt's process of examining and dealing with her own father's death, that through writing the novel she could process her own life and heal from the death.  But as the class continued to discuss we came to a place of thinking more about the novel as Hustvedt's attempt to warn against such looking back in order to deal with significant and tragic happenings in our lives.  We thought that in writing the novel and using her father's diary as the raw material for a good chunk of the book was her way of showing the reader that what is productive is not looking back but taking the elements of that past and moving forward to do something new with what has happened to you. While Hustvedt did this literally with physical evidence of her memory and experience, I do think that she is more generally encouraging us to take our traumatic experiences and move forward from them and with them. 


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