The Strange Story of The Body

My favorite piece of reading from the week was My Body–A Wunderkammer by Shelley Jackson. I liked it because, initially, every description seemed more or less normal before it dropped off into the absurd. For instance, there was a description of a tail. Now maybe I’m behind on the times and gene splicing today, but last I checked, humans don’t have tails. A lot of the subjects covered seem to devolve into off-topic tangents, too. The artwork also lends a great deal to the descriptions; the black & white drawings are sparse and subtly eerie. The back grounds of each entry look like rough paper with stray ink and dirt stains, as if this is a journal. Other times, the page is black with white font, somewhat rough on the eyes. Even the font changes: sometimes it’s the size or the spacing, other times it’s the color. The piece also has something of a feminist tone to it. When she is talking about armpit hair, she finishes by saying that she no longer shaves and finds it sexy. She also states that she didn’t shave her legs throughout high school.

For all of it’s weirdness, though, it has some very realistic tendencies. The piece also seemed very heavy on self-critique and self-deprecation–the author doesn’t seem to have much confidence in herself. Or, at least, to me–a male. I feel like parts of this chronicle are completely lost or irrelevant to me because of my gender, which the author even commented on: she said how she was sad that she would never know what it’s like to have a penis. Despite this gender gap, I really enjoyed the way everything was presented, which is why it was my favorite piece.

And Galatea is perhaps the most frustrating thing I’ve ever encountered on the Internet.


– Joe DeMarini


~ by theamnesiac1 on January 17, 2011.

One Response to “The Strange Story of The Body”

  1. First off, I have to agree with your point you made last. Galatea IS certainly the most frustrating thing I have come across on this internet in a long while.

    Onto the more relevant stuff–I certainly agree that my body had an interaction of “weirdness” and “realism” but I chalked it up to the author’s style. I felt it was very intimate, which goes along with your idea of self-critique and self-deprecation. While I disagree that the author didn’t seem to have much confidence in herself, perhaps, like another point you made, it is because of my female perspective.

    You state that the visuals added to the piece. I agree–the artwork is almost a perfect representation of the way the words are represented. It is eerie, but so is the content, in a way.

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