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Old 11th Mar 2011, 11:09   #69
ono no komachi
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Join Date: 14 Aug 2003
Location: Gloucestershire
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Default Re: Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

Almost exactly 3 years later...

I think it's interesting to compare and contrast the characters of Judith and Madden. Madden - his compulsion to rape Mary is presented like Judith's need to drink (example: the self-loathing that comes after the event) and I agree with those who say there are hints that it's something he has struggled with in the past. And that he seems to be as much of an alcoholic as she; as a man of course, his drinking is more socially acceptable than hers. Looking at how Catholic guilt affects them respectively: objectively his sin is the greater but he suffers less for it than she does; partly because his is less visible, partly because of social mores, partly because his guilt-feeling seems to evaporate quickly whilst Judith's stays with her and torments her, perhaps because she seems more self-obsessed than he.
The question of whether Passion is meant as in Christ's passion - I think we're meant to remember that in the height of Christ's suffering, he did once question 'why hast thou forsaken me?' which is a parallel of Judith's asking whether God is indeed in the tabernacle. The climactic scene, to be I suppose rather fanciful about it, is almost a role-reversed Pieta, Judith, with blood on her head, in the arms of a Father. It's not that I think Moore is putting her suffering on a par with Christ's - although arguably Christ's suffering only has meaning if you believe that his suffering and death was on behalf of mankind.

I don't know if I can honestly say that I enjoyed the book; unlike some, I didn't really feel any warmth towards Judith, only a measure of pity. My experience of the passages describing Mr Lenehan's and Miss Friel's impression also wasn't as favourable as others' seems to have been and I found they interrupted the flow, rather. As an artistic achievement, I think the book is impressive though.
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