Tuesday, November 4, 2008


In the second part of Mantissa, Miles and the muse discuss sexuality and how it has defined and shaped them. It is interesting to look at this from Marxist Criticism. The muse points out the hegemony plays a larger role in society impacting both her and Miles.

“ Miles, I’d like to say one thing, while we are being more open with each other. I feel I was rather unnecessarily emotional and outspoken a few minutes ago. I do have some sympathy with your problems. Especially as I realize I constitute one of them. I know the overwhelming stress the prevailing capitalist hegemony puts on sexuality. How difficult it is to escape.” (103)

Fowles has the Muse use the word “escape,” in terms of breaking beyond roles imposed by society. The way in which this is articulated is interesting because the reader is called attention to more than the hegemonic control being imposed on the lesser in society but also on the ruling sex. Often times there is so much focus on the way hegemony impacts those that it works against, we forget that it also impacts those it works for in a negative way. Miles discusses prior to this quote that as a male he has a role in society to fulfill just as a woman does. The Muse does carry on throughout the second part of the book about how there is a natural female way that has been imposed upon her; a role that she feels is humiliating and one that she will not break free of. Miles does not deny that this is happening to her but points out that there are roles imposed on both of them in society whether they agree with them or not.

1 comment:

Mae Dupname said...

I really enjoyed your post! When I was reading Mantissa I hadn’t really considered it from a Marxist perspective, but I agree with what you said. Throughout the book both Erato and Miles struggle with the roles they are “supposed” to play. It is interesting that they mention hegemony because it is when specific views are seen as just the way things are. Erato and Miles challenge these “natural” ideas, but discussing them and acknowledging that they are not natural.