Added: Sandra Fifer - Date: 30.04.2022 20:39 - Views: 27531 - Clicks: 2446
For a country routinely described as boring, Canada displays a surprising penchant for such flashes of sublime weirdness witness the film auteur David Cronenberg. A UK edition was published by Pandora Press in but it got little attention. Then one summer she is sent off to catalogue a library bequeathed to the Institute by the descendant of a colonial family. The family home housing the library is on a remote island in the northern bush.
Lou will be there on her own, with back-up only from Homer, a mainland storekeeper who boats in supplies now and then. The prospect of this wilderness existence intoxicates her — and then she discovers the bear. The bear is a pet of the deceased estate-owner. Lou will feed him during her stay while his future is decided. He lives at the end of a chain behind the house, and at first Lou is dismayed by his large smelly presence. They become buddies, swimming together and hanging out in the study where Lou does her cataloguing.
The physical companionship is welcome; Lou enjoys rubbing his pelt, tickling him. Then one evening, stretched out in front of the fireplace, she begins to masturbate. The bear decides to in and starts to lick her:. The tongue that was muscular but also capable of lengthening itself like an eel found all her secret places. And like no human being she had known it persevered in her pleasure. When she came, she whimpered, and the bear licked away her tears. The bear does not desire her, he is merely grooming her.
On one occasion she tries to mount the bear, to entice him to penetrate her, and afterwards feels guilty and wretched. There was something aggressive in her that always went too far. Then one evening, as they are snuggling, the bear becomes aroused. Lou, profoundly excited, crouches down before him — and the bear reaches out a paw and rips her back.
The moment of violence is extraordinarily shocking. But the violence is not inside the bear — who feels no rage, no malice, is only doing what excited bears sometimes do — but in Lou, who has yearned for this physical explosion of destructive energy. But with this wounding she is purged of the depressive misery that has haunted her.
She feels clean, peaceful, ready for anything.
She returns to the city, while the bear goes to live with a local indigenous woman. Bear has been read in many ways: as a manifesto for female sexual empowerment; as a parody of Canadian wilderness literature; as pornographic pastoral. Lou has a passion for solitude. In the city, this craving has merely left her lonely; but now, stuck on the island with her ursine beau, she has found the perfect solitary scenario. The bear licks and probes her, but he does not intrude upon her.
With him, she has that accompanied aloneness that animals, especially dogs, have so long provided to human solitaries. The female solitary is a controversial figure. Throughout western history solitude has been regarded as morally hazardous for both sexes, but the dangers have always been judged far greater for women than men. The Devil — an omnipresent peril for solitaries until well into the eighteenth century — was especially on the lookout for lone women whose weaker natures presented opportunities. Withdrawal from male observation posed the greatest risk.
Nowhere in Genesis is Eve depicted as alone when she picks the forbidden fruit, yet nearly all commentators on the Fall portrayed her as having wandered off from Adam. In Paradise Lost John Milton depicts Eve cajoling Adam into gardening apart for a time, with its inevitable disastrous consequence.
This too has a long history. Solitude is a notorious breeder of autoerotic fantasies. In the eighteenth-century these became the focus of a widespread moral panic, and a rich source of pornographic imagery. The solitary female novel-reader was a particular object of moral opprobrium and sexual fascination. A woman alone in her boudoir with one hand clutching a romantic novel while the other stroked her genitals was a favourite of porn artists. Small dogs often featured, sometimes performing cunnilingus while the woman read. Bear is a richly comic commentary on this pornographic tradition, as well as a contribution to it.
But it has another link to the solitude tradition. Working her way through the old library, she discovers that its owner was a collector of ursine legends. Bear was originally titled The Dog of God. Marriages between women and bears had been a recurrent myth a Haida version of this gave Engel the conclusion to her novel. The sacred lore fills Lou with reverent joy. Eroticised religiosity and the sacralisation of nature are linked phenomena that have featured among solitaries for centuries.
No stars will fall in your grasp. Lou ignores the warning. But when, a few days later, the bear finally accepts her invitation to mount her and wound her back, she awakens to his animality. If the bear smells her blood he will attack her. She chases him away. The encounter between them the next day is friendly but the sacred communion has dissolved.
The bear is only an old bear. Yet something vital has passed from him to her.
The sweet wild sex of solitude has worked its magic on her. She packs up and drives back to the city at night, feeling strong and pure, with the Great Bear shining down on her. The bear decides to in and starts to lick her: The tongue that was muscular but also capable of lengthening itself like an eel found all her secret places.
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