Written on the Body Post

Passage location: pg 89 “Written on the body is a secret code only…..She has translated me into her own book”

This passage is significant because it touches on a central theme that the body is like a text. In this passage, there are many refences that compare the body to a piece of text. Words such as written, code, palimpsest, and letters all cluster together to communicate this idea. When the narrator compares themselves to a palimpsest, it is their way of communicating to us that their story is not linear. Their story has been “so heavily worked” that it is hard to read. Moreover, there is a lot of repetition when it comes to words that have to do with writing. The word choice shows that there is a theme of comparing the body to a text. Thus, this passage also delves into identity and how there is more than meets the eye. The following is another interesting cluster of words from the passage: never, secret, away, only, rolled, and certain. These words feed into the idea that they like to keep their body “rolled”. Just as a book is folded, so too is the narrator’s body. According to the narrator, Louise is the only one that can read their body. The narrator is describing their body exactly how it is being read by Louise. We are readers, share a special bond with Louise and in turn with the narrator as we too are actively reading the book that the narrator’s body has made. In sum, the passage is about how the narrator tries to stay rolled up so that no one can truly know who they are. However, the word choices show that they are doing the opposite Louise. The narrator is contradicting themselves when they are with Louise. What I am really trying to say here is that I think these lines are an essential aspect to the novel and touch upon the idea that the body is like a text.

One thought on “Written on the Body Post”

  1. I wrote about this section, too! I thought it was a critical moment in the novel, emphasizing the key point of words being representative of the body and identity. Expanding on your observation that the narrator is contradicting themselves, I felt that they were describing an unfamiliar sensation that they only have experienced with Louise. In their past relationships, the narrator was unable to be who they truly are. In some way, they were always changing (Inge and the urinals, shaving off all their body hair, “settling down” for Jacqueline, etc) themselves for the sake of “love.” Louise does not demand anything from the narrator, or rewrite them. She is “reading” their body simply because she loves them.

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