In her article on the semiotics of guilt in Garro’s work, Ana Bundgard asserts that falling into guilt is transgression and rupture, a necessary evil for anyone who aspires to status as subject. By taking on the role of writer, Lelinca carries a burden of guilt that represents rupture from the paradise of the patriarchal home of her childhood. She appropriates Milton’s title to explain that his paradise, which she had hoped to rediscover, is truly lost; she can only be an object in his paradise, while in her paradise with the celluloid doll, of her own invention, she gains subject status. Although the four may be dead, as implied in Jacinto’s comments, they have achieved the “queendom” of heaven, presided over by the doll/goddess, through their subjectivity, by writing the pages/wings smudged with ink. (38)
–Marketta Laurila, “Decapitation, Castration and Creativity in Elena Garro’s Andamos huyendo Lola [We are Fleeing Lola].” En Literature and the Writer, ed. Michael Meyer. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004. 19-41.
This is interesting in itself. It would also explain exactly why Reeducation did not want me to write. I should write in an unpublished journal, “writing for myself,” but I should not write for publication, especially scholarly work. Scholarly work was “meaningless overachievement” which would only provide further evidence that I was permanently damaged.
The point is that Reeducation desired us to relinquish subject status. I could not believe it because I knew the theory of Reeducation was to aid people in the achievement of the precise opposite. But Reeducation in my experience meant this. Thence the emphasis on self-help books, Al-Anon and the Twelve Steps – which also desire adherents to relinquish subject status and turn their lives and wills over to some other authority – over actual psychology, my interest in which, as we already know, was considered “intellectual snobbery.”
This form of Reeducation is, now that I think of it, reminiscent of the Reeducation which took place at a friend’s office. Workers in her unit had filed a labor complaint and the union was involved. The University sent over a therapist who explained to them that a better way to reduce stress would be to go to the mall and buy themselves nice dresses. One of them famously replied that this was like saying to the world’s most famous hunger striker, “Have a sandwich, Mr. Gandhi.”
3 thoughts on “Ana Bundgard”
Bataille makes the connection that guilt is a good thing because it binds us to community. He says that Christians are not capable of feeling guilt because they believe that their sins of forgiven. He implies that this assumption leads not only to inauthentic living (to broadly paraphrase my own reading of him) but that Christians can behave with impunity. Therefore, one needs to reawaken the capacity of people to feel guilt. One of the ways of doing this is through the potlatch — excessive gift giving beyond the limits (‘limit’ meaning the norms of bourgeois society where ‘gifts’ are given only in order to receive an advantage). A huge gift would undermine the rational basis for exchange (and putting a material value on everything), and would therefore undermine the capitalist economic structure.
Amazing insight on Christianity!
Yes, isn’t it.