frustration is. that with men writers people —l recognise more easily that they hay'e done something new. and that maybe some of the obligation is on the reader to come to terms with i the book. whereas as a woman writer. I hay'e all the responsibility in making the book accessible to you. and if I don‘t please you the first time. you‘re finished with me. It‘s a Very strange amputationofpossibility. I‘m completely puzzled
be less than I can do. What I hay'e learned from male writers is a kind of ambition about what writing can do. and it‘s not the easy stuff. it's the hard stuff.‘
It's a bleak book. “This is a book about rape. There’s no reason there should be a lot of joy in it. To expect that is like the old question. “Does she hay'e a sense of humour?” \Vell excuse me. but does Dostoeysky hay'e one‘." l lowcy er. there are messages of hope within it. The woman the book centres on is called Andrea. Dworkin says this was initially because it gay'e her a way into the character. an intimacy that allowed her to use her own experiences. and those ofother women she is close to. as the basis for the experiences of Andrea in the book. The name also means ‘courage‘ if traced back to its root: a fact that is repeated like a punctuation mark at points through the novel. each time with a different resonance. Dworkin had intended changing the name in the final draft. but ey'entually' left it. feeling that it was the only name possible for the woman because of this meaning. l)workin has always recognised the pow er of naming. Another aspect of hope. upon reflection. is the slowly dey‘eloping political awareness of the woman. beginning to articulate the damage done to her and ey‘cntually to declare war on those who are inflicting that damage. The way in which it happens is not shown as a triumph. but as the result of the consistent abuse the woman has suffered. Becatise of the nature of that abuse. her response. although in all moral terms pery'erted. is finally the only healthy way forward for her. "lihere are many women who are lost women. the streets are filled with them. who are absolutely crazed by what has happened to them in their liy'cs . . . lf w e hay‘en‘t politicised what happens to us in our experience of being hurt it is unlikely that we are defiant . . . \Ve ney er conceiye ofthe people who are hurting us as our enemies. They are our loy'ers. our friends. our fathers. Most of these rapes you could ney'er take into a court of law. .‘ylen hurt us. and they hurt us often. without ey'er becoming our enemies from our point of y'iew.‘
'lihere is no doubt that thisis a bray'e piece of i writing. lts power is such that it is hard to attempt a summation of it so soon after reading it. without the time for a full digestion of it‘s implication. That process could take months. It's an important book. in the way that Pornography was important. in that it charts out one of the least articulated aspects ofgender relations. and proy'ides a new benchmark in our understanding of rape. "lhere‘s a lot that‘s y'er_y new in this book that really hasn‘t existed in liteiature before. whether we‘re talking about rape from the point of yiew ofa woman who is raped. or exposing the interior reality of what rape does to you. As opposed to the prey'ious historical model of “a woman is raped. we talk to her a little bit. she recoy'ers". which unfortunately is not only apolitical. it‘s alsonot true.‘
by people who want me to do what I consider to
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