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A Phantom of the Opera Reading Community
Discussion Post 7
13th-Jul-2007 03:27 pm
Summary for Chapter Twelve:
I'm sorry to say I accidentally deleted this post.
13th-Jul-2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
However, what keeps her coming back to him?
It's hard for me, personally, to believe anything else. After all, she *has* been forcibly kidnapped, threatened, roughed up, probably scared out of her wits.
I see a lot of parallels with Patty Hearst, the CA heiress kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in the 1970s, raped and abused by her captors. She was only rescued because she was ID'd on a bank security camera robbing banks with them. (Then she was convicted, and later pardoned by then-President Jimmy Carter. IIRC, the prosecutors wangled it so that Stockholm syndrome evidence wasn't admissible in her trial, or the jury didn't buy it - something like that.)
I weave back and forth between that idea, and the idea that Christine simply is an "unreliable narrator." Virtually nothing of her time with Erik is shown; instead, it's packaged up neatly for Raoul, who still manages to get a few inconvenient questions in (The best: "If Erik were handsome, would you love him?" :crickets:) So IMO it's possible that Christine had a quite different set of experiences during her fortnight, and that long period after the Masked Ball.
The other thing I find interesting about this period is that Christine not only comes and goes freely; she stays overnight with Erik at least once (perhaps more.) So fanfic writers who believe that Christine really had some deep erotic attraction, even involvement with Erik, can use this ambiguity to their advantage.
She also experiences another great rush of creative energy like she did during the earlier "gala," when she sings Rachel in
That's also an interesting choice of opera, as
is about a Jewish man who would rather see his daughter killed than marry a Christian. It seemed to me a direct parallel with Erik, who would rather see Christine, himself, and hundreds of people dead, rather than marry Raoul. So perhaps the selection of this opera is a foreshadowing of the crisis to come.
I'm not familiar with
's argument; maybe she'll drop in and tell us. I'm not sure why Erik wouldn't be nationalistically French, if he were indeed born in Rouen. However, Rouen is in Normandy, the stronghold of Viking settlement in France, so perhaps he has some Viking/ Teutonic blood in him? But while historically all things German were considered evil in France of that era, what in particular leads to the conclusion that Erik wasn't "truly French?"
Personally, I don't believe that Christine is naive and impressionable, necessarily. Her story is told from the POV of men who all have reason to turn her into a "projection" of one sort or another. We hear what she says to Raoul, but we don't ever see the story directly through her own eyes. Even her letters and papers (referred to by the narrator) are hidden from us. In some ways she's as much of a mystery as Erik.
It's almost as if *both* Christine and Erik are fantasy creatures, in the sense that they inhabit the mundane world (an architect/contractor; a singer) *and* the ethereal world at the same time. Erik mysteriously dies / disappears / fades away eventually, and so does Christine - and Raoul in a sense gets taken along for the ride, disappearing too. To me, this "secret engagement" / wandering through the Opera stage of their relationship foreshadows that. Raoul is in some ways the hapless person who's wandered into the middle of the "fairy circle," and has found that it's not so easy to get out...
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