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Blog Post #2 : The Wife of Bath’s Prologue

The Wife of Bath’s Prologue in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, is an iconic work of feminism. Alison, is a woman of resilience, strength, sass, and virtue. She embodies feminism in every way possible. She stands up for herself, she is vocal and honest, and she takes pride in her body and her soul. The wife of Bath believes that women should whole-heartedly engage in sexual intercourse without shame because it is an action ordained by God who says women are to be fruitful and multiply. After all, she begins to mention important men of the Bible who have once had many wives and weren’t condemned for it. The Bible also emphasizes the importance of virginity, a virtue which she says is for the innocent. However, they had to have also been created, a fact which involves sexual intercourse. So far, Alison maintains that women should be perceived the same way men are, in a sense where they could enjoy sex in any way that they can without being frowned upon.

Of her five husbands, three were good and two were bad. The two that were good were submissive and were easily manipulated by the power of her sex. She would lie to her husbands to make them feel guilty about anything they may or may not have done, just to get what she wants. Alison was ruthless and unapologetic about it. She is, what most people would argue men are like today.

Her fifth husband Jankyn, who was among the two that treated her terribly, was the one she loved the most. He was was the most challenging. Because he demanded more from her as a wife, she found pleasure in doing the opposite. However, his ideology of women was entirely skewed. He had a book of wicked wives. In it, there were stories that told of the most deceitful women in history, such as Eve taking a bite of the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, Delilah’s betrayal of Samson, and Clytemnestra’s murder of Agamemnon. To torment her, Jankyn, would read these stories at night reminding her of women’s capabilities.

This is where it gets good. One day, Jankyn caught Alison ripping pages out of this book and hit her across the head, thereby deafening her in one ear. As she lay on the floor crying, he felt sorry and promised to never hit her again. He walked over to her fallen body, and was later greeted with a blow to his face. When they finally made up, he gave her his estate and she was loving again. Alison used her feminine power and her “weakness” to effectively win over her husband and get exactly what she wanted.

This prologue is used to show not how terrible women can be, but how they can also use their sex and power to get what they want. They shouldn’t be apologetic about it, but revel in their abilities. According to the Wife of Bath, women should enjoy their lives in any way that they can. It is the only way to survive.

Blog Post #1: What is the “disaster”?

The Writing of the Disaster¬†by Maurice Blanchot is a confusing piece. Reading through it, I wasn’t quite sure what to call “disaster”. It still remains nameless. ¬†However, I can’t help but wonder, is”disaster” is a passionate word for love?

The very first paragraph can be dissected in many ways. “The disaster ruins everything, all the while leaving everything intact. It does not touch anyone in particular.” There is such ambiguity in this language. Here, the “disaster” does not scream “love” to the reader, but it does have an aura of volatility, a silent whisper that can shake the very canal of your ear. It can do damage without actually touching you. Now that I think about it, the opening to this novel may regard love as something that may not have been directly experience, but through others, it can be palpable enough to leave its mark. “It ruins everything, all the while leaving everything intact.”

Blanchot then says, “”I” and not threatened by it, but spared, left aside. It is in this way that I am threatened, it is in this way that the disaster threatens in me which is exterior to me – an other than I who passively become other”…what? I’m not if anyone else was as confused by this as I was. But there is a sense of contradiction. It’s almost like saying, “Love will grab you by the love handles and show you a whole new world, but in that world, there is also pain.” I don’t get it. It’s a good thing, but it is also an entity that will shake your entire being apart. However, at the same time, Blanchot might be discussing that although this “disaster” does not touch anyone in particular, it is random and one can be a victim at any time, and that is what’s frightening. “There is no reaching the disaster.” Yeah, until it grabs you by the loins.

“Out of reach is he whom it threatens, whether from afar or close up, it is impossible to say; the infiniteness of the threat has in some way broken every limit.” I think this sentence draws back to my earlier thought where the aura of volatility that irradiates “love”, which I presume to be the “disaster” is silently assaulting your soul. As a result of the rays that stretch from “love”, it breaks barriers and becomes more infinite than believe, and that is what I believe to be the most threatening part of it all. I think this may be the threat that Blanchot is so cautious of in this first paragraph.

“We are on the edge of disaster without being able to situate it in the future…” One doesn’t know when love will come about, and that is what puts everyone at the edge. At any moment, one could fall off. There is no way in telling when one of those rays will tap on right on the chest and push you over. Nearly everything about this first paragraph pinpoints “disaster” in the direction of “love”. Or perhaps, I’ve got it all wrong.


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