Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: "Church Not Made With Hands"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 14
Hi all,

I read "Church Not Made With Hands" from Brief Interviews With Hideous Men the other day during my morning coffee and nearly wept. When I finished, I had no fucking idea what it meant but there was something about it, something so visceral that it nearly knocked me off my chair and left me shaking.

I've been interpreting the book as less about gender roles and sexuality and more about the relationship between our "internal self" and "external self," and how the incompatibility of the two are constantly at odds with each other in one's search for his or her "true" self.

In the book, gender roles are a crafty metaphor for this: men are indeed different from women, yet those characteristics that differ only exist in opposition to each other (men are aggressive, women are caring; men are strong, women are weak) and much of these characteristics are social constructions (for example, both instances previously stated), and grey areas between the two and the places where they come together (relationships/sex) are murky and confusing. Similarly, our internal and external selves are socially constructed and different only in opposition to each other. They grey areas where these two "selves" overlap is, well, murky and confusing.

Re-reading it last night, I began putting some pieces together- Vermeer's painting as a study on perspective, perhaps the perspective of God, the eye in the sky in the last part, the glass giant, black and white vs. multi colored, musing on the idea of art, therapy- all pointing, I think, to some sort of reflection, or an epiphany of seeing the True with a capitol "T" true self perhaps?

Anyway, that's the basic mold I've been putting all these stories into and I'm wondering where you all think about Brief Interviews and, specifically, this story.

// Jason

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