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Story 5: THE ARTIST AT WORK 
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Likes the book better than the movie


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DWill wrote:
All you clever people need speak up about this very strange (to me) story. I don't have a clue.


Somehow I feel already condemned by saying anything at all. Nevertheless . . . .

An artist is supposed to be a vehicle of inspiration, like an ancient prophet.

Jonah is a prophet whose prophecy did not come true. He lacked inspiration.
Jonas is an uninspired minor talent, a creature of fashion. Lacking a real star, he collapses when he falls out of fashion.

Society is probably the whale that vomits Jonas out.

Tom



Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:18 pm
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Post What? No hidden meanings? Oh, save us!
OMG! You mean it's just a story? No hidden meanings? No metaphors?

Now that's just terrible - the man shouldn't have been allowed to publish it!

I never in all my life!

(Heh! Heh!)

C'mon now, folks . . . surely there's something . . . anybody flush a toilet?

How about when he 'elevated' himself - built his little loft - put himself above all others . . . which, in my opinion, is what this artist did.

Without all these visitors, he wouldn't have anybody to put himself above . . . his adoring fans.

True, he did have some feeling for his wife . . . felt sorry for her a coupla' times. But that was her 'need' . . . to be a martyr - oh, my long suffering life!

If she didn't struggle to make the home so comfortable - especially for himself - then he might have focused more on the reality of their lives.

I wonder, had his wife written poetry, played an instrument, sang - how he might have felt if she neglected everything - the children, the housework, the constant entertaining of friends.

No hidden meaning in all that, but Camus gets the message across - he's depicting the two personalities in this marriage - the artist and his need to work, the wife of the artist who needs to be 'needed'.

Or can't we abide by 'just a story' with a message?



Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 am
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WildCityWoman wrote:
Or can't we abide by 'just a story' with a message?


With another author I might agree with you. Many stories are overanalyzed. When you're writing, you often don't consciously pick themes or theories or techniques--the story just unfolds the way it wants to.

But Camus seems like an abstract, philosophical guy. To me, he doesn't seem as interested in telling plain stories as he is in exploring the "hidden meanings" of his characters' lives. After all, in The Adulterous Woman absolutely nothing happens except a bunch of philosophical stuff inside Janine. I'm not saying exciting events don't take place inside a person's heart, but without an external plot, it's hard to grab a reader's attention that way (or mine, at least) unless you get them thinking about bigger issues. Personally, I'm not a fan of overtly philosophical literature and therefore am finding it hard to get excited about Camus--but I have to respect him because I think he puts a bit more thought into the significance of his works than maybe some other writers do.

Maybe I just think this because I know he's famous for writing philosophy. But his works are very contemplative and seem loaded with issues that ask for more than a surface reading...



Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:06 am
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[quote="WildCityWoman"]And here's 'adultery' again . . . Camus must have thought about this a lot



Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:21 am
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That also might provide some insight into the opening biblical quotation:
Quote:
Cast me into the sea...
For I know that for my sake
This great tempest is upon you."
JONAH 1:12


For my sake, you are imposed upon. That idea seems to apply to both Jonah and Jonas, both imposing upon others and being imposed upon. Are they being selfish for their own sakes, or were they just doing what they thought they needed to do?



Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:28 am
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Hi, I've just now read this story and thread. I like it. Jonah is my favourite character in the Old Testament, so I was reading the story comparing Jonas the artist's star with Jonah's mission from God to pronounce the doom of Nineveh. Here is a summary I recently wrote of Jonah:
Quote:
In the Bible story of Jonah, God tells the prophet to go to Ninevah, a city on the Tigris River in present-day Iraq, to foretell its doom. Jonah is terrified by this divine command and tries to escape by ship. God is determined to fulfill the original plan and sends a storm of such ferocity that Jonah asks his fellow sailors to save themselves by tossing him into the sea, as he knows his prophetic knowledge is the source of the problem. A whale swallows him and coughs him up on shore after three days. Jonah then does God's bidding and goes to Ninevah. Upon his arrival in the evil city, he tells the Ninevans of the impending divine wrath. To Jonah's surprise, the residents accept his advice and repent of their sins. Even more amazingly, God then forgives Ninevah, telling Jonah their repentance has saved the city from the punishment predicted earlier. Jonah was an ordinary person burdened with an extraordinary message. He felt deeply angry towards God, firstly for presenting him with such a dangerous prophecy, and then for making him endure a terrible storm, three days in the belly of a whale and the social confrontation in Ninevah. When God failed to carry out the original destructive promise in which he had invested so much expectation, Jonah wanted to die.
( http://www.wscfglobal.org/StudPDF/StudentWorld2507.pdf )
As a creative artist, Jonas is inspired by his star, just as Jonah is inspired by God. Through the story, Jonas becomes attenuated and translucent, with great vision but lacking the solidity of solitary solidarity. If Jonas were true to his star, he would easily have shown the door to the hangers on. I found this quite sad, the bohemian artist revelling in hedonic company, but lacking the fortitude to follow his muse. He gradually ascends, first through absinthe and then physically into the loft, lost in solo ruminations until the fall. I found it rather tragic to read of the artists whose interest in Jonas remained totally egocentric, people of small talent who hoped to validate their lives in the slender word of praise. The whole environment of romantic creativity is also a rather brittle delusion for most, but this story reminded me of Van Gogh in his garret and somehow of Picasso in his social popularity. The whole story is surreal, but the martyrdom of his wife provided a rather sombre background reality check.



Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:28 am
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