Eye and the Story of O. Are Term Paper

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Eye and the Story of O. are both very early examples of erotic fiction. In many respects, they establish themes that will often be repeated in this modernist genre. Such themes include the almost overwhelming use of sensual imagery and the development of specific sexual identities in the characters in the books that are reflected in the non-erotic aspects of how they conduct themselves.

Bataille, a contemporary of Sartre, wrote The Story of the Eye (Histoire de l'Oille) in the late 20's. His intention was to exaggerate sexual encounters to the level of absurdity so as to illustrate the purely sensual, irrational nature of sex. In order to do this, he provides us with fantastic imagery. One such 'scene' from the book involves Simone developing a fetish for breaking eggs with her ass. Whereas sadism and voyeurism had played a part in eroticism before in France, Bataille exaggerates this to the point of absurdity when the protagonist and Simone strike and kill a cyclist with their car and are immediately aroused.

Fluids and eyes play a decisive role in The Story of the Eye and take on fantastical meanings. Simone not only urinates on her mother, but also on her dress at the party on a dare. When on top of the protagonist while engaged in foreplay, she urges the protagonist to 'piss up to her *****' and the floor of the room in which the party is being held is subsequently covered in blood, urine, and semen by the 15 and 16-year-old revelers. The first fluid mentioned in the book is milk, which Simone claims is 'for the *****' before asking the protagonist to dare her to sit in the saucer. The last is the ejaculate of the priest. There is a semiotic transference at play in the novel between blood, semen, milk, and urine, just as there is one between eyes, testicles, and eggs. It might even be said that Simone's desire to roll an egg and later the priest's eye around in her ass is in fact a form of penis envy, only one related more appropriately to testicles.

Simone transforms the protagonist from a boy into the fantasy figure Marcelle describes as 'The Cardinal,' which we can imagine to be a cardinal of the inquisition. This image is evidenced in the bloody scene at the party to which Marcelle owes her compromised sanity, in which the protagonist approaches Marcelle in the wardrobe covered in blood and surrounded by passed-out bodies. The 'evil cardinal' image is an appropriate symbolic approximation of evil and religious perversion in both southern France and Spain, as the Inquisition took place in Spain and Provence was home to the Albegensian heresy of the Middle Ages. Whereas at the party, the protagonist is only an inquisitor in Marcelle's delusional vision, at the end of the book he acts as an inquisitor, strangling a Spanish priest while Simone has sex with him. The rescue of Marcelle from the insane asylum is also fantastical in nature. The concept of the protagonist and Simone running through this fortress-like asylum, having removed their clothing for some unknown reason, is patently absurd, evoking child-like make-believe imagery.

The Story of O. is much different…

Sources Used in Document:

In the end, O's fantasy is both to remain desirable as an object and to win back her humanity. For this reason, the book is seen not only as a seminal example of erotic literature, but as a prime example of feminist literature as well.

Pauline Reage. The Story of O. 1954. http://frenchwoman.co.uk/

Georges Bataille. The Story of the Eye. Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd. 1979.

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