Saturday, June 23, 2012

Loves Lost

Chapter VI of All the King's Men which begins on page 376 and ends on 434 is a doozy. Jack Burden tells the reader about his summer love affair with Anne Stanton when she was 17 and he was maybe 21 or 22. They had been childhood friends for a long time before that summer when they both realized they were in love with each other.

It ends badly. It seems that most things do for our Jack.

Also in this chapter is the tale of Jack's marriage to Lois. He writes:

As long as I regarded Lois as a beautiful juicy, soft, vibrant, sweet-smelling, sweet-breathed machine for provoking and satisfying the appetite (and that was the Lois I had married), all was well. But as soon as I began to regard her as a person, trouble began. All would have been well perhaps, had Lois been struck dumb at puberty. Then no man could have withstood her. But she could talk, and when something talks you sooner or later begin to listen to the sound it makes, and begin, even in the face of all other evidence, to regard it as a person. You begin to apply human standards to it, and the human element infects your innocent Eden pleasure in the juicy sweet-breathed machine. I had loved Lois the machine, the way you love the filet mignon or the Georgia peach, but I definitely was not in love with Lois the person.

No surprise. The marriage ended badly as well.

Poor Jack.

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