US Writing Post-1945
Uma das passagens que mais me marcou foi a seguinte:Part three, Chapter 4 (page 118 of pdf version) “She was about fifteen years older than Walter and the sweetest woman in the world. (…) Walter’s wife smiled and smiled as we repeated the insane thing all over again. She never said a word.Out on the dawn street Dean said, «Now you see, man, there’s real woman for you. Never a harsh word, never a complaint, or modified; her old man can come in any hour of the night with anybody and have talks in the kitchen and drink the beer and leave any old time. This is a man, and that’s his castle.»”The ideal wife represented here is one who simply assists the man’s life, someone who is there for the mere value of an agreeing presence. But it is asked that the woman not only lives a lifeless existence, standing still so that the least disturbance is caused in the husband’s life, but most importantly that the woman stands aside smiling no matter what is happening around her. The woman must lie down and approve of everything, must encourage with a gentle physical confirmation all that the man does: she smiles, she approves without talking and making herself notice. She is an object of decoration in a room, standing quietly in the background and when noticed, causing a feeling of contentment in the observer who, although pleased, soon moves on to something else: the object must not be ugly, but “smile” to the world, but it also must be present without imposing it’s presence. A smiling, little nothing that keeps on smiling as the world turns.
The passage that struck me the most was the one below (pdf version, no page number indicated but you can find it on the second page of the 4th chapter of part 2)"Carlo Marx and I once sat down together, knee to knee, in two chairs, facing, and I told him a dream I had about a strange Arabian figure that was pursuing me across the desert; that I tried to avoid; that finally overtook me just before I reached the Protective City. "Who is this?" said Carlo. We pondered it. I proposed it was myself, wearing a shroud. That wasn't it. Something, someone, some spirit was pursuing all of us across the desert of life and was bound to catch us before we reached heaven. Naturally, now that I look back on it, this is only death: death will overtake us before heaven.In that passage, Sal is telling Dean about the dream he had of an Arabian figure going after him in the desert and catches him before he reaches the Protective city. Dean reaches the conclusion that the Arabian figure is death and the dream means that Sal is longing for death. The reason this passage struck me is because it's very shocking that one could long for death.
Part 2, Chapter 4 (page 75 of the pdf version)And Shearing began to rock; a smilebroke over his ecstatic face; he began to rock in the piano seat, back and forth, slowly at first, thenthe beat went up, and he began rocking fast, his left foot jumped up with every beat, his neck beganto rock crookedly, he brought his face down to the keys, he pushed his hair back, his combed hairdissolved, he began to sweat. The music I picked up. The bass-player hunched over and socked itin, faster and faster, it seemed faster and faster, that’s all. Shearing began to play his chords; theyrolled out of the piano in great rich showers, you’d think the man wouldn’t have time to line them up.They rolled and rolled like the sea. Folks yelled for him to «Go!» Dean was sweating; the swearpoured down his collar. «There he is! That’s him! Old God! Old God Shearing! Yes! Yes! Yes!»And Shearing was conscious of the madman behind him, he could hear every one of Dean’s gaspsand imprecations, he could sense it though he couldn’t see. «That’s right!» Dean said. «Yes!»Shearing smiled; he rocked. Shearing rose from the piano, dripping with sweat; these were his great1949 days before he became cool and commercial. When he was gone Dean pointed to the emptypiano seat. «God’s empty chair,» he said. What fascinates me about this passage is how it pretty much sums up this whole adventure. Something filled with energy, changes of rythm, ecstasy, absorption. This description of Shearing's act contains already some sort of prediction for what happens next: an abrupt and cruel ending, with nothing left behind besides an empty chair and confused people. A fleeting voyage, that is all.
Numa festa em que Sal e o seu grupo de amigos estão, Dean conversa com Sal e diz:"That Rollo Greb is the greatest, most wonderful of all. That's what I was trying to tell you - that's what I want to be. I want to be like him. He's never hung-up, he goes every direction, he lets it all out, he knows time, he has nothing to do but rock back and forth. Man, he's the end! You see, if you go like him all the time you'll finally get it.''Get what?''IT! IT! I'll tell you - now no time, we have no time now." (p. 121-122)Essa passagem é marcante para mim pois mostra a falta de direcção presente em Dean e a sua busca incessante por algo que nem sabe o que é. A procura em vão deste sonho de obter "it" é o que guia Dean na vida. "He's the end!" - Dean aspira ser como Rollo Greb, pois ele representa a mudança, a loucura, o fora dos padrões rígidos vigentes da época, o que liga também à própria temática da Geração Beat.