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not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them

af Jenny Boully

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1921,160,942 (4.08)Ingen
Boully reads between the lines of a text in this case J. M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy and emerges with the darker underside, with those sinister or subversieve places merely echoed or hinted at.
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This prose retelling of the Peter Pan tale has both an upper and a lower body, just as in the Peter Pan story, there is the underground home of the Lost Boys & the little house above ground that the boys build for Wendy. Two tellings proceed in horizontally linear fashion across the pages. The upper world and the underworld. Although both partake in a scatological re-purposing of the familiar childhood story. Boully's "story" is the psycho-sexual and concerned-with-life-and-death, real-and-make-believe, childhood-vs-aging one that lives within or alongside or underneath the Mary Martin musical version ("Don't you think, Wendy, that it is a strange and demonic thing: in the theatre, grown women play at being me? That's disgusting, says Wendy"). In addition to the two-story house of the page, Boully employs a formal strategy of italicizing certain words. In "Acknowledgments," she explains that italics indicate excerpts from other texts. However, they are also performative. I found myself emphasizing such italicized words while reading, which created a punctuated rhythm in my head. If I were to read the text aloud, I would not be able to escape a sing-song emphasis, which might be an incantatory lullaby of sorts (a tale to put children to sleep or to entrance them into make-believe) or a mnemonic device. The Home Underground sections often dispute or talk back to the fantasy-world of make-believe ("Perhaps, perhaps the food could be less non-existent. I think that Slightly's teeth are falling out quickly simply due to malnutrition, mal-eating"). There are even hints of feminist rebellion ("Dearest Tink, should you and I together unionize against the Peter? Equal pay for equal work, we'll say . . . . We would all like some benefits, we'll say"). Throughout, Boully questions the nature of narrative, its purloining of characters for narrative purposes rather than for the character's well-being ("And it was his story [whose? Peter's? de Barrie's?] that made it so that the girl Wendy wished to go away. You see, it is story that takes them"). Wendy, in the home above ground, participates in the make-believe while embodying & remembering the real world of mothers, fathers, reading, meals,etc. ("I complain of Wendy, says Tootles; I complain of Wendy, who is always wanting to give us endings"). Is Wendy's role the fairytale version of prototypical woman's work, whereby a wife & mother's role is to remember, whether it be the dental appointments or the whole kit and kaboodle of culture? And why might she acquiesce in this game? Perhaps because, "For example, he can put a little something inside of you, and you will carry that for the rest of your life; thimble all empty underneath in the inside." For the sake of that thimble "the Wendy girl is called to mend, to mend. What is a pocket but a hole? A home. For the housewife who has grown, has grown, the home is nothing but a hole."
( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
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Boully reads between the lines of a text in this case J. M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy and emerges with the darker underside, with those sinister or subversieve places merely echoed or hinted at.

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