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Figuring torture: the representation of torture in a selection of novels Pashka, Linda 1994

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FIGURING TORTURE:THE REPRESENTATION OF TORTURE IN A SELECTION OF NOVELSbyLINDA PASHKAB.A. (First Class Hons.), The University of Calgary, 1985M.A., The University of Calgary, 1987We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardAugust 1994© Linda Pashka, 1994A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(En g I ish)THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shalt make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)________________________________Department of I isThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate Oc*b IS /DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThis dissertation examines the presentation of torture in a group oftwentieth century novels--George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949),Manlio Argueta’s One Day of Life (1983), Wessel Ebersohn’s Store Upthe Anger (1981), J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians (1981) andLawrence Thornton’s Imagining Argentina (1987). The novels sharescenes of physical torture performed by an agent of the state and aimedostensibly at information-gathering, intimidation and/or ideologicalconversion. The structures of the representation of torture in thesenovels--tropes, narrative structure, narrative voice and focalisation--setout to arouse sympathy or empathy in the reader, thus writing againstthe notion of a polity that allows torture. Yet the same methods thenovels employ to construct this sympathy often serve to reinforce thehierarchical binary model, patriarchal domination, which is seen in thenovels to drive torture. Rather than subverting torture, then, the novelsrisk reinscribing it. They also share something of a project of resistanceto the notion that torture constructs truth, although the structures theyconstruct participate in the binary relations they critique. Vegetarianecofeminists have evolved theories which are useful in the analysis of thestructures at work in the novels to demonstrate the binary nature oftorture in the novels. Torturers are presented as tropologically malefigures dominating and metaphorically consuming their victims who aretroped as female and animal, dominated and consumed. The reader ofthese texts is constructed in either of two positions which furtherreinforce the binary model; the text might build a reader who adopts asymbolically male voyeuristic gaze at the suffering victim or whoidentifies with the symbolically female tortured character. At the sametime that it allows a critique of the hierarchised structure of torture as itis presented in the novels, vegetarian feminist theory also offers thepossibility of methods of representing torture that break the cycle oftorture.TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract.iiAcknowledgements ivIntroduction: The Problem of Representing Torture in a Group ofTwentieth-Century Novels 1Chapter One: A Model for the Analysis of the Presentation ofTorture in Fiction: T1n the Penal Colony” 41Chapter Two: Tropes and Analogies: Points of Reference 68Chapter Three: Structures and Strategies: “Constituted byAnother’s Desire” 109Chapter Four: Narrative Voice and Focalisation 1 36Conclusion: Another Story: Imagining Argentina 1 62Works Cited and Consulted 1 93HIACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThe subject of torture has not been easy to read and write about.The project was made both challenging and survivable with the help ofcolleagues, professors, scholars, friends and family, some of whom I amhappy to acknowledge here. I wish to thank my supervisor, Dr. LorraineWeir, who was rigorous in her expectations and tireless in herprofessional role while at the same time remembering that a person stoodbehind the bundles of paper I delivered to her regularly in the summer of1 994. I am grateful also to Professors Margery Fee and PeterQuartermain who put me to the test as humanely as possible. I owethanks to colleagues and friends too many to mention here at theUniversity of British Columbia, the University of Calgary and in the PowysSociety of North America, for their encouragement and suggestions oftitles to read. I am thankful for the incisive suggestions of DeborahBlenkhorn, Philip Holden, Jeff Miller, Eileen Pearkes, Nancy Roberts,Steve Roe and Dawn Thompson in particular. Thanks also go to otherfriends who sustained me with intelligence, humour and support--Eileen,Bev and Deborah in particular--all understanding the triple roles I haveheld as parent, student and teacher while composing this dissertation.To Graeme, who enabled me to keep perspective; to my students, forchallenging and revitalising my feminism. I am also grateful to Jackie andAlbert, to Lola and to Stuart for their care of my children when the libraryor the computer took me away. To my children, always--Ellis, conceived’as the seed of the idea for this dissertation took root, and Hudson, bornas the dissertation approached its final form. And thanks once again tomy father who died eight months before he could see the daughter healways called a professor receive her Ph.D. Finally, first, last and always,to Stuart, for gifts and sustenances impossible to list or even name,thank you.ivIntroductionThe Problem of Representing Torture inA Group of Twentieth-Century Novels--We can’t get involved in someone else’s pain.--No sharing the pain.--Share life . . . that’s what we ought to do.--So these things won’t happen anymore.--Manlio Argueta, One Day of Life, 108.The central question of this dissertation is how a group of novelsabout torture are produced and consumed, how they are constructed.The novels which are discussed are George Orwell’s Nineteen Eicihty-Four1(1949), Manlio Argueta’s One Day of Life (1983), Wessel Ebersohn’sStore Up the Anger (1981) , J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians(1981) and Lawrence Thornton’s Imagining Argentina (1987)1. I alsodiscuss Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird (1965), Margaret Atwood’s flHandmaid’s Tale (1985) and Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon (1941),but in less detail either because torture is not central in them or becauseit is not the state-induced physical torture I am concerned with here.Each of the eight novels2 presents at least one scene of torture. I follow1 Nineteen Eighty-Four, an English dystopia set in 1 984 during a totalitarian reign,is probably the best known of the five novels. One Day of Life is set in El Salvadorin a period of military rule. Both Store Up the Anger and Waiting for the Barbariansare South African novels; Coetzee’s is set in an indeterminate time and place--anoutpost during the rule by “Empire” over a land peopled by native fisherfolk,“barbarians” and settlers. Ebersohn’s is set mainly in the late 1 970s in South Africaduring a crackdown on anti-apartheid activism. Imagining Argentina is also set in thelate 1 970s but in Argentina during a time of military rule and mass disappearances ofsuspected communists or subversives.2 One work which I include in my discussion of novels of torture, JacoboTimmerman’s Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number, is usually classed asnonfiction, as a prison memoir. However, Timmerman writes his book in two distinctstyles, each for a distinct time period. One set of sections of the book is afictionalising of moments during Timmerman’s incarceration in Argentina in the late1 970s. These are presented as vignettes written in the present tense; theirmovement is slow, their language poetic. Alternating with them are passages ofcritical commentary on the events in the outside world before, during and afterTimmerman’s incarceration or passages of more general political commentary aboutArgentina. In discussing Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number, I havetried to select for examination only the former passages.2a definition of “torture” based on that of the United Nations GeneralAssembly. My working definition sees torture as severe physical pain orsuffering perpetrated by an agent of the state on an individual, anaggravated and deliberate form of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatmentor punishment.The structures of the representation of torture in these novels-tropes, narrative structure, narrative voice and focalisation--set out toarouse sympathy or empathy in the reader, thus writing against thenotion of a polity that allows torture. Yet the same methods the novelsemploy to construct this sympathy often serve to reinforce thehierarchical binary model, patriarchal domination, which is seen in thenovels to drive torture. Rather than subverting torture, then, the novelsrisk reinscribing it. Through a close analysis of these structures ofrepresentation, what follows is an attempt to examine where thesenovels subvert and where they reinscribe torture.Page du Bois (Torture and Truth) points out that in the Westernphilosophical tradition, torture constructs truth--that is, statements of avictim have been regarded as truthful only when exacted through torture(54). Michel Foucault, of course, discusses this view of torture at lengthin Discijline and Punish, treating the public spectacle of torture (surrlice)3at more length than he treats judicial torture (Ia ciuestion). In Waiting forthe Barbarians, Colonel J011 follows this philosophy: “First I get lies, yousee . . . first lies, then pressure, then more lies, then more pressure, thenthe break, then more pressure, then the truth. That is how you get thetruth” (5). The novels I discuss work to build a voice in opposition tothis idea, attempting to construct a “testimony of the body” versus a“testimony of the word” (Gallagher, Story of South Africa, 119) byopposing the construction of the victim character’s felt experience andthe torturing character’s justifications for, or cover-ups of, the torture.I use ecofeminist theory--especially vegetarian ecofeminist theory--in my analysis of the structures at work in the novels to demonstrate thebinary nature of torture in the novels. Torturers are presented astropologically male figures dominating and metaphorically consuming theirvictims who are troped as female and animal, dominated and consumed.The reader of these texts is constructed in either of two positions whichfurther reinforce the binary model; the text might build a reader whoadopts a symbolically male voyeuristic gaze at the suffering victim orwho identifies with the symbolically female tortured character. Parts ofthis theory owe something to film theory and visual arts theory, viewswhich note the female looked at (passive) by a male viewer looking at her4(active). At the same time that it allows a critique of the hierarchisedstructure of torture as it is presented in the novels, vegetarian feministtheory also offers the possibility of methods of representing torture thatbreak the cycle of torture.The novels in this group also share some structural, thematic andrhetorical affinities. In their presentation of torture, they are all amnesic,coy. Few of them present the moment(s) of torture they are otherwiseoccupied with in dialogue and in characters’ reflections. In these novels,much is anticipation and recollection, little is the presentation of torture.This absence is thematic in Waiting for the Barbarians. The nativewoman’s experience is the elusive signified, never revealed, dis-covered,represented. We watch her being watched. Only in Nineteen Eighty-Fourand Store Up the Anger is actual physical torture presented. In ImaginingArgentina, acts of torture become fictions within the fiction, narratised asthe material for Carlos’ stories.These novels of torture share features with the larger order of thediscourse of torture. The broader discourse of torture includesautobiographical and biographical historically-based narratives, reportage,witnesses’ and testimonial accounts. The discourse has been presentedin film (in “The Official Story” from Argentina, for example, “The5Interrogation” from Poland or “Closet Land” from India). Public televisionhas done documentaries. Georges BataiHe’s Tears of Eros presents aphotograph essay of erotic images including photographs of sufferingtorture victims; Wendy Lesser’s Pictures at an Execution examines inphotographs and prose the popular fascination with capital punishment.Recently, Page du Bois has examined the relationship of torture and truthin ancient Greece, Elizabeth Hanson has analysed the same relationship inRenaissance England, and Ian Watson discusses what he considers to bea reappearance of torture in fiction in the later twentieth century3. KateMillet’s The Politics of Cruelty is the first feminist book-length study ofwhat the book’s subtitle calls “the literature of political imprisonment,”although by “literature” it becomes clear that Millet focuses ontémoignage, the literature of witness. The novels which I examine andthe wider discourse of torture are interdependent. The novels are asubset, in effect, of the discourse of torture; the site of their productiondiffers from that of other elements in the discourse of torture. They areThis study is not concerned, as Watson’s is, with the wealth of science fiction,fantasy and horror fiction about or presenting torture.6fiction, although some are based on historical fact4. I have furtherlimited my study to a set of novels written in the same period, thesecond half of the twentieth century. All five main novels are set in thelate 1 970s/early 1 980s, a time of increasing information about tortureand organised global opposition to its practice. An exception is ChapterOne’s analysis of Franz Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” (1914) which isused to produce a model reading of the representation of torture infiction. The period has been called the technological age, the post-modern period, and the Cold War-post-Cold War era, among other things.The period brought torture into public awareness and saw a resurgence inthe representation of torture in fiction.Because of the still-growing interest in the subject of torture in thelate twentieth century, it is important to address the issues of readers’responses to presenting torture before moving to adopt a theoreticalparadigmatic reader constructed by the texts. The subject of tortureitself presses on readers before they even begin reading. Page du BoisMost obviously, Store Up the Anger’s Bhengu is clearly a fictional version ofStephen Biko, leader of the Black People’s Convention in South Africa, who died in1977 of brain damage while in the custody of the Security Police. As Susan VanZanten Gallagher points out, Waiting for the Barbarians also echoes the Biko incident(Story of South Africa, 119).7goes so far as to argue that such a “terrible and formidable thing” shouldnot be “trivialised” by a discussion of its literary topos (5). Readers ofnovels presenting torture might be uncomfortable about feelingcomplicitous with the torturing character or power in a novel, afraid offeeling empathy with a suffering victim character, guilty over theirawareness of their own fortunate existence as untortured and unlikely tobe tortured or about their contribution to a country which maintainseconomic and diplomatic ties with torturing powers. Such concernsmight lead to an avoidance of the topic altogether. Readers might alsobe resistant to works which focus on unsavoury self-other oppositionswhich some argue are natural to humans5. Each of these sources ofresistance recognises a reader’s personal connection to--in Teresa deLauretis’ terms an identification with--the literary text and assumes thatliterary creations are not, to borrow Bili Melman’s words, “a sterileOther factors which lead to torture and which Irvin Staub examines, in additionto the proclivity for dichotomisation, might also contribute to a resistance to the novelof torture. Some of these are: “just world thinking,” the belief in a just world, thatvictims of torture must be deserving of it; an ideology which sees torture as usefulfor the general good; the belief that torture is a valid form of defense of the physicalor psychological self; the need for personal control and power; obedience toauthority; political control and the defense of self-interest and power; rewards; andthe enjoyment of others’ suffering and submission (qtd. in Suedfeld 55-61). Any ofthese explanations for torture could also explain why a reader might hesitate to reada novel which clearly sets out to valorise the torture victim and condemn the torturer.8isolated perception of an intelligentsia” (561), but that they can reflectand recreate characteristics of the contemporary world. The novels oftorture I discuss, with their themes of admonition and their raising ofawareness, tend to encourage this personal connection, aiming to drawin rather than repel their readers.In addition, fears of vicarious pain and/or vicarious pleasure mightcause potential readers to hesitate to read novels of torture. Criticssharing T. W. Adorno’s view, that there should be no poetry afterAuschwitz, would applaud that hesitation because it decreases thelikelihood that the victim’s pain can be perverted into the reader’spleasure. Adorno fears that “the so-called artistic representation ofnaked bodily pain . .. contains, however remote, the potentiality ofwringing pleasure from it” (qtd. in Langer 71).The general critical neglect of the novel of torture until recentlymight result from the ethical and artistic problems inherent in depictingsuch an extremely painful and emotionally charged act as torture. One ofthe challenges of the novel of torture is to overcome what Coetzee’snarrator calls “this moment of shrinking from the details of what went onin [the torture chamber]” (‘NB 80). Yet few of the novels of torture Ihave read overcome that moment of shrinking. As Coetzee writes, “[t}he9approaches to the torture chamber are thus riddled with pitfalls, andmore than one writer has fallen into them” (“Into the Dark Chamber”364). Among the pitfalls novelists risk are aestheticisation, eroticisation,oversimplification, didacticism and dichotomisation. While most novelsskirt the pitfalls of aestheticising and eroticising, Jerzy Kosinski’s ]jPainted Bird is both oversimple and didactic, and all of the novelsdichotomise while at the same time they set out to write against patternsof oppositional thinking.The Painted Bird, a Sadean picaresque catalogue of starkly-presented horrors side by side, with the central character who enduresthem almost devoid of psychological depth, is one novel of torture thatoversimplifies. The perception of events in the novel is from the point ofview of the boy, but so many events are so briefly told of that the novelbecomes a list. The characters in The Painted Bird fall clearly into twobinary categories: the powerful and the helpless. Accordingly, thecentral motif of The Painted Bird is of the world as “a battle between thebird-catchers and the birds” (xxv). The novel does not reflect on thevarious torturers’ motivations; the torturer’s experience is presented asintoxicated pleasure in power. The cruelties are without pattern orexplanation, cruel for cruelty’s sake. The boy witnesses eyes gouged10out, brutal rape-murders, a murder by rats, and all manner of physicaltortures. He himself is beaten, whipped, buried in the ground with hishead exposed to pecking ravens, chained outdoors during a storm, hungon hooks from a ceiling above a vicious dog and thrown into a manurepit. Eventually, the boy becomes brutal and self-destructive himself,deriving pleasure from his own and others’ pain, transformed from victimto torturer. The Painted Bird presents no alternative to victimisationexcept repeating the cycle by becoming a torturer. The novel, then,participates in the structures it sets out to condemn.Barbara Foley, a critic who examines Holocaust narratives closely,suggests that the writers of Holocaust fiction have the opposite aim--todismantle the structures of torture. She concludes from her survey ofHolocaust prose narratives that most Holocaust writers “have no interestin epistemological relativism; they ask to be approached in a genuinelyhistorical manner, without the Weltanschauunq fashionable in a latertime” (332). It appears from his own prefatory remarks to The Painted.iLci that Kosinski does have an interest in the meaning of his narrator’sexperience, but that concern is rarely evident in the novel itself.Novels about torture might also aestheticise (by which I mean“make attractive”) or eroticise (“make sexually appealing”) the torture11experience they construct, thereby either constructing the torturedcharacter as the object of the gaze of the reader or positioning the readerin identification with the suffering character’s experience ofobjectification. The space of confinement then becomes the victimcharacter’s world, her or his range of possibilities (the reader, too, isconfined); memory, imagination and the space itself hold all that thevictim is able to experience of pleasure. Pleasure, whatever its extent, ispart of the tortured character’s experience. The dilemma the novelistfaces lies not in depicting this pleasure, but in making pleasurable for thereader that which is clearly painful for the victim character. Some criticsof Holocaust fiction fear that making the representation of an eventpleasurable can render such an event acceptable.6Yet others remind us of the concept of aesthetic detachment. InThe Delights of Terror, Terry Heller considers Edward Bullough’s conceptof aesthetic distance, pointing out that disinterestedness “makes thatwhich is ugly or frightening in life . . . beautiful in aesthetic experience”(7). Adding to this Wolfgang Iser’s idea of the implied reader, Helter6 Arnold Wesker wonders whether art can be created from experience as cruel asthe Holocaust. He writes that “the horror is intransmutable [sic] into art, the angeruntransmittable” (48).12constructs his own phenomenology of reading:Beginning with the first word, I construct [the sort of readera particular work needs], bit by bit, using whateverinstructions I find in the text. The implied reader, then, is acentral structure in the establishment of aesthetic distance.By taking on a role provided by the text, I create a separateor bracketed self that, in effect, stands between my “actual”self and the work. (8)Heller seems to isolate and even advise the momentarypsychological/emotional separation of frightening text and reader7. YetHeller’s notion of the implied reader is individual; each reader willWhile Heller’s defense of aestheticisation is philosophical, others defendaestheticisation on psychosocial grounds. In an article on The White Hotel’saestheticisation of the Holocaust, Mary Robertson cites one psychiatrist’s call forprecisely such aestheticisation. She points to Robert Lifton’s argument in The Life ofthe Self that the awareness of twentieth-century atrocities has brought about apsychic numbness in our culture, a numbness which results in “desymbolisation”--aninability to cope with our world’s brutality. Lifton argues that it is necessary to do thevital symbolic work” enabling us to face threats to humanity (Robertson 458).Lifton, then, stresses the psychological usefulness of making art of historical realitydespite that reality’s atrocity. Ian Watson would disagree with Lifton; Watson’sthesis in “The Author as Torturer” is that the reemergence of the subject of torturein fiction and the escalating graphic detail with which it is presented reflect and createa desensitised society. Others address the question according to historical context.Richard Rorty (in “Cruelty in Orwell”) argues that at the time that Orwell was writinghe was “sensitizing an audience to cases of cruelty and humiliation which they hadnot noticed” (173).13construct an implied reader that bridges the gap between that person andthe text. Instead, I will follow Umberto Eco’s theory of the Model Readerin my discussion of novels of torture to consider how the textsthemselves use cues and clues to construct a reader who is not a livereader or a role the live reader chooses to adopt but “a set of felicityconditions” (Role of the Reader, 7) established by the texts.For the most part, the novels I discuss avoid aestheticising thetorture they present. Nineteen Eighty-Four presents scenes of torture--specifically, Winston’s pain under torture8--for the most part literally,making it neither ugly nor beautiful. The writing is detached anddispassionate as, in the following passage, Winston’s intellectualreflections change into coping mechanisms while he is beaten:One question at any rate was answered. Never, for anyreason on earth, could you wish for an increase of pain. Ofpain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop.Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the8 Rorty argues that “the last third of 1 984 is about O’Brien, not about Winston-about torturing, not about being tortured.” Yet if this is true, why is the sectionfocalised through Winston, a point of perception which notices far more aboutWinston’s experience than O’Brien’s, using the latter only as both the creator and atouchstone of Winston’s suffering?14face of pain there are no heroes, no heroes, he thought overand over, as he writhed on the floor, clutching uselessly hisdisabled left arm. (206)Here Orwell simply and literally uses the scope of the world (“for anyreason on earth,” Nothing in the world”), plain negative modifiers(“never,” “bad”), repetition (“no heroes, no heroes,” “over and over”) andanaphora (“pain. . . .pain. . . .pain. . . .pain”) to express Winston’s pain.The eradication of heroism in Winston’s pain also, of course, figuresWinston as female.Similarly, although all of the novels present the intimacy of thetorturer-tortured relationship and the tortured character’s attractiontowards the torturer--a combination of awe, envy, a craving for physicalcloseness and hero-worship--none eroticise the relationship. Kosinski’snarrator responds with fascination and “a twinge of envy” to one Germanofficer: “the instant I saw him I could not tear my gaze from him” (114,113). Winston feels this awed attraction to O’Brien’s intellect and powerwhile O’Brien returns the fascinated respect: “In some sense that wentdeeper than friendship,” thinks Winston, “they were intimates” (217). InDarkness at Noon, the intellectual political arguments Rubashov and hisinterrogator Ivanov share bring them to moments of understanding and15brushes with physical tenderness: “[lvanov] stood next to Rubashov atthe window, with his arm round Rubashov’s shoulders; his voice wasnearly tender” (132). Store U the Anger, as well, develops the bond ofunderstanding between torturer and tortured:[Colonel Lategan’s] eyes had found Bhengu’s again and thetwo men looked straight at each other, each readingsomething of the other’s consciousness in that remotecontact . . . . Bhengu’s and Lategan’s understanding of eachother was absolute. (186)In each of these torture “relationships,” the attraction is intellectual ratherthan physically erotic. For his cynicism, stoicism, and tenacity inwithstanding torture, the victim is “rewarded” by the esteem of a torturerwho will nevertheless have him killed (or, in Winston’s case, “broken”).A work of fiction might also make the torture victim a sexualobject as a result of her/his torture. Waiting for the Barbarians addressesthe complexities of the sexualisation of torture victim characters, creatingthe Magistrate as a complicit representative of a torturing colonial power.The Magistrate considers himself to be unwillingly complicit, but he isweak. This human frailty, along with his introspection and his position asan observer of others’ suffering in the first half of the novel, allows the16reader a psychological connection with the Magistrate, allowing thereader to adopt a role of complicity in the torturing regime’s practices.Part of the Magistrate’s complicity is his attraction to a torturedwoman because of the bodily damage she has sustained and theforbidden experience it represents--an attraction expressed not as pity butas lust. He asks the frank questions anybody might want to ask of atorture victim: “Let me see,” “Does it hurt?” “Did they do it to you?”and “What did they do?” (28-29). When the woman is unresponsive, hebecomes frustrated and finds himself simultaneously envying the torturerwho could make her respond emotionally and denying the envy:‘Does no one move you?’; and with a shift of horror Ibehold the answer that has been waiting all the time to offeritself to me in the image of a face masked by two blackglassy insect eyes from which there comes no reciprocalgaze but only my doubled image cast back at me . . .There is nothing to link me with torturers, people who sitwaiting like beetles in dark cellars. (44)The Magistrate’s analysis of his motivations and responses might mirror afascinated attraction-repulsion of a reader outside the torture experience.“Is it the case . . . that it is the marks on her which drew me to her but17which, to my disappointment, I find, do not go deep enough? . . . Is itshe I want or the traces of a history her body bears?” (64). The womanis clearly articulated as a semiotic puzzle, an “irreducible figure” overwhich the Magistrate casts “one net of meaning over another” (81). Thechallenge to reach the experience the woman has suffered through thewoman, or the woman through the experience she has suffered, isexpressed sexually. In Waiting for the Barbarians the “signified,” the actof the torture itself, is elusive and therefore attractive. The fact that thewoman’s reticence about the torture she has undergone becomestitillating to the Magistrate opens the possibility for reading the tortureitself as erotic.Dichotomising involves presenting one “side” of the torturer-tortured “story” and excluding the other side. By presenting the narrativefrom the Magistrate’s point of view, the novel seems not to dichotomise.Susan Van Zanten Gallagher suggests thatCoetzee’s affirmation of the tentative qualities of language,his recognition of multiple interpretations, multiple voices,multiple languages, is an embrace of Others and a rejectionof rigid authoritarianism. (SSA, 1 24)Yet a feminist reading of Waiting for the Barbarians will show that the18novel has not, perhaps could never, “embrace Others.”Czeslaw Milosz suggests that “in the abundant literature of atrocityof the twentieth century one rarely finds an account written from thepoint of view of an accessory to the crime” (someone other than thevictim) because “authors are usually ashamed of this role” (118-19).Novels of torture present victim-centred experience. A number of thenovels I discuss provide the torturer with dialogue; Waiting for theBarbarians makes its torturer character compelling (in the literal sense ofdrawing one toward him in persuasion or interest), but only one (One Dayof Life) very briefly narrates from a torturer’s point of view. Gallagherpoints out that in Waiting for the Barbarians, the Magistrate’s failure tounderstand how a torturer can commit the barbarous acts he does“represents the author’s own failure, for by centering his novel in thenarration of the magistrate, Coetzee avoids having to depict the zone ofthe torturer” (Story of South Africa, 127). The novel’s point, the samepoint made in Coetzee’s essay “Into the Dark Chamber,” might be thatthere can be no satisfying, adequate, conclusive portrayal of torture ortorturers.The us-them world view which can exist in the character-tocharacter relation can also exist in the reader-to-character relation and19might be strengthened there by the difficulty language has presentingextreme physical pain, pain which is constructed as going literally beyondwords (to screams, to silence>, as inexpressible. The assumption thatwriter, reader and character can share an understanding of pain isproblematic and stands as still another risk in presenting the tortureexperience in fiction. As Elaine Scarry writes in The Body in Pain,“whatever pain achieves, it achieves in part through its resistance tolanguage” (4). Jacobo Timmerman, in his account of his own torture,writes that “one might logically assume that I thought I knew . . . thethings a tortured man felt. But I knew nothing. And it’s impossible toconvey what I know now” (32). This last difficulty for novels, that theirtropological presentation of a torture victim’s pain relies on a sharedunderstanding of pain, is discussed in Chapter Two.A model for understanding the representation of torture in narrativefiction is necessary. That model should avoid the poles of interpretationbased on what Umberto Eco terms intentio auctoris and intentio lectoris,the intention of the author and the intention (desire) of the reader (1025). Avoiding those extremes means two things: not relying too heavilyon reader-oriented theory and notT”beat[ingl the text into a shape whichwill serve for [my] purpose” (Richard Rorty qtd. in 25). In the novels20I study, there is a pointing side to the “world,” an ameliorative oradmonitory aspect, in Peircean terms, an indexical semiosis (“indexical”meaning “prior to”) in the novels’ construction of sympathy in the reader.My analysis sees political meanings in the texts. According toJohn Barrell (Poetry, Language, and Politics), “all our utterances are .political utterances,” subject/object structures, as he defines “political,”in the widest sense of being attempts to claim for ourselvesparticular positions in language, which represent us as thesubjects of knowledge, and represent the world as we, andas those whose interests we assume we share, claim to seeit. And thus they represent other people and other groupsas the objects of our knowledge, and as occupying positionsthat we define for them.” (9)Barrell’s term “subject” and “object” (and also “we,” “us,” “ourselves”)lack the gender associations I have applied to them yet I use the terms“subject” and “object” in the political sense he describes. Barrel!attempts to understand works of literature as discourse, as “theembodiment of a partial view of the world in competition with otherpartial views; as political, and not as universal” (12). The aim of hisreadings, he writes, is to discover “political meanings.” He might pose21the question of whose interests are being served by the text--or, asTeresa de Lauretis would have it--whose story is being told.My study looks at the ways in which political meanings are createdin a selection of torture novels. In addition, it sees the novels I examineas presenting a hierarchically dualistic structure. I present a feministreading, based on the theories of Donna Haraway, Teresa de Lauretis andthe vegetarian subgroup of ecofeminists9,such as Carol Adams. InSimians, Cyborqs, and Women, Donna Haraway questions whether“feminist standards of knowledge” would truly end “the dilemma of thecleavage between subject and object” and whether “feminist authorityand the power to name [would] give the world a new identity, a newstoryT’ (71). Instead, she sees feminists “contesting for a voice” (72).For Haraway, feminist critiques of hierarchical dualisms had and have aplace in progressive feminist discourse, but feminism also has other roles,other cards, to play. Locating animals in nature allows feminists,The subgroup is more specific than “ecofeminist” which links feminism broadlywith the environment, but less specific than Carol Adams’ designation “feministvegetarian” which assumes and advocates a connection between feminism andvegetarianism or Kathryn Paxton George’s label, ethical vegetarian feminism.“Vegetarian ecofeminist” refers to the group of feminists which includes Carol Adamsand Marti Kheel, who see animals and women as sharing an object position intraditional subject-object discourses and practices.22particularly ecofeminists, to position animals as objects (ofexperimentation, of consumption) in the traditional antithetical relationbetween “man” and “nature.” Haraway points out that languagelogocentrism, is one of man’s tools in that objectification, a tool which“cuts us off from the garden of mute and dumb animals and leads us toname things, to force meanings, to create oppositions” (81).The model Haraway offers is the union of the natural and thetechnological which she presents in the figure of the cyborg. She callsfor a reconception of “machine and organism as coded texts throughwhich we engage in the play of writing and reading the world” (152).The political struggle for feminists, as she sees it, is “to see from bothperspectives at once because each reveals both dominations andpossibilities unimaginable from the other vantage point” (154).In novels of torture, hierarchical dualism is clearly a thematic andstructural element. In Haraway’s terms, we can see the torturercharacter associated with the technological and the victim character withthe natural. The torturer is a kind of pre-programmed tool for obtaininginformation, while the tortured character is all body and bodily fluids:blood, urine, sweat, excrement, tears. In Darkness at Noon, for example,the physicality of the tortured character is emphasised:23Gletkin never ate in his [Rubashov’s] presence, and Rubashov forsome inexplicable reason found it humiliating to ask for food.Anything which touched on physical functions was humiliating toRubashov in the presence of Gletkin, who never showed signs offatigue, never smoked, seemed neither to eat nor to drink, andalways sat behind his desk in the same correct position, in thesame stiff uniform with creaking cuffs. The worst degradation forRubashov was when he had to ask permission to relieve himself(171).According to Haraway, the common strategy of technology is thetranslation of the world into a problem of coding, a search for a commonlanguage in which all resistance to instrumental control disappears and allheterogeneity can be submitted to disassembly, reassembly, investmentand exchange (164).Haraway’s post-Foucauldian theory that the structure of the worldis now as much technological as natural sees in every intellectual field atranslation from “organism” to “coded entity.” Now possible, she writes,are “copies without originals” (164). The idea of reproduction withoutproduction applies easily to the world of George Orwell’s NineteenEighty-Four, for example, where the torturer O’Brien tells his victim24Winston that there is no Big Brother, that the ideology Winston isostensibly being converted does not exist. Tortured characters areconstructed as texts.Haraway’s theory can be transported into Adams’ notion of the“absent referent.” Adams points out that the “renaming” of butcheredanimals as “meat” is a metaphor which negates their presence asanimals, absents them from discourse and their consumers’consciousnesses (42). Combining Haraway’s and Adams’ theories offersthe reading of novels of torture as coded systems presenting a process oftranslation of the human self, its painful remaking, or, for Elaine Scarry inThe Body in Pain, its unmaking.In The Sexual Politics of Meat, Adams emphasises Kate Millet’sanalysis of D. H. Lawrence’s “The Woman Who Rode Away,” in whichMillet reads the planned sacrifice of a woman by a group of men as“sexual cannibalism;” “substitute the knife for the penis andpenetration, the cave for a womb, and for a bed, a place of execution-and you provide a murder whereby one acquires one’s victim’s power”(Millet qtd. in Sexual Politics of Meat 59). This reading of rape sees it asan attempt to both reach and destroy the womb, one of the sources ofwomen’s creative power, and to consume the victim ritually as a means25of acquiring her power. Torture, so frequently of the genitals, has asimilar function in the novelistic presentations of it I examine. At thesame time that it is a physical metaphor for the destruction of the mostprivate intellectual self, torture of men’s genitals is also both an actualand a symbolic attempt to “emasculate” them, thereby making theminferior. In The Politics of Cruelty, Millet asks, “If torture makes a maninto a woman, as men who have been tortured often say, what does itmake of a woman?” (165). She does not answer the question, but oneanswer is that it makes of her an animal, the next step “down” in theorder of things in a patriarchal system. (This is an alternative de Lauretismisses; she sees the two positions of sexual difference conceived inoedipal narratives as “male - hero - human, on the side of the subject;and female- obstacle - boundary - space, on the other.”) Torture ofwomen’s genitals might also function as Millet suggests rape does: it isa symbolic attempt to both destroy and acquire the woman’s creativepower--to transfer it from her to the torturer.Novels use a number of methods to steer readers towardssympathy with the victimised characters and condemnation of thetorturers, and this construction of reader sympathy is a kind of moralsuasion, a literary readjusting of the power imbalances in the world. It26follows the course novels traditionally have taken where good and evilwear name-tags from the beginning. But is this binary paradigm workingto eradicate or perpetuate the evil it seems to condemn? And what is itsposition in relation to evaluations of narrative structures as patriarchal?In Darkness at Noon, Rubashov is troubled by a similar paradox: howcan one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody? Howelse can one change it? (25). In the novels I examine, torture isconstructed as a patriarchal relationship--sometimes a game, sometimes abattle, sometimes a lover-like relationship. Two positions for a reader toadopt are held in tension: empathy with suffering victim characterstropes the reader as female and thus as a victim of the novel’s torture;less often, gazing voyeuristically at the tortured character tropes thereader as male and thus complicit with the novel’s torture. Thedichotomisation inherent in the representation of torture challenges thetexts in their projects of subverting the patriarchal structures that appearto motivate torture.Breaking the cycle lies, then, not with readers but with texts; theConclusion considers Lawrence Thornton’s Imagining Argentina, a novelwhich begins to approach the “cyborgian” presentation Haraway callsfor, a presentation which fuses traditionally pure and disparate27categories. In Imagining Argentina, the central character Carlos says thatthe General, Guzman, considers “purity” a “necessity.” Carlos considersGuzman to be devoted to “that dream which he feels more than everwas defiled by the faint of heart, the woman in man’s spirit” (90). Thenarrator, too, points out “the generals’ need to squeeze all opposition outof the country, to purify” (19). In Nineteen Eighty-Four, O’Brien tellsWinston repeatedly that the Party’s aim is to purify its enemies: to“cure” them (218), “change” them (218), wipe out the “stain” (219),“convert . . . reshape” them (219), “wash [them] clean” (220). InWaiting for the Barbarians, one torture is to write the word “enemy” onthe prisoners’ backs, then to whip them until the blood and sweat washtheir backs clean.Novels of torture present the competitive, adversarial nature of thepatriarchal thinking behind torture by employing metaphors of game andbattle to describe torture. We can see victim characters viewing theirsituations in the terms of the--as I will argue--masculinised oppressors.Carlos considers his struggle against General Guzman “a game thatwould last until either he or Guzman gave out, or was killed” (106).Cecilia’s (the tortured victim focus of Imagining Argentina) guards call herrape “the game” (177). Bhengu, by the logic of patriarchy, considers his28own death to be a final victory over his torturers:Bhengu . . . felt . . . a sense that matters were now in hiscontrol, not in the control of his adversary. Bhengu knewthat there was nothing Lategan could do now. . . . His menhad played all his cards and they had played them too fast.Whereas he still had his last card and he was busy playingit. His death would give him the game. (148)Rubashov thinks to himself that he and lvanov are equally-matchedopponents:He himself and lvanov were twins in their development. .They had the same moral standard, the same philosophy,they thought in the same terms. Their positions might justas well have been the other way around. . . . The rules ofthe game were fixed. (90-1)The competitive nature of patriarchy is also shown, in one novel,by the diet of torturers in training. Like hunters, would-be torturers areon a diet of meat in Argueta’s One Day of Life. Unusual for a novel oftorture, this novel contains a section narrated by a member of theNational Guard. He tells of their diet of meat, potatoes and dairyproducts, scoffing at the villagers’ diet of corn and beans.29As Adams argues, “[aiccording to the mythology of patriarchalculture, meat promotes strength; the attributes of masculinity areachieved through eating these masculine foods” (33). “Dietary habits,”she writes, “proclaim class distinctions, but they proclaim patriarchaldistinctions as well. . .. [A] mythology permeates all classes that meat isa masculine food and meat eating a male activity” (26). For Adams,“meat eating measures individual and societal virility” (26). Because ofthe connection animals and women have in the “texts” of patriarchalsociety, Adams argues that feminism and vegetarianism ought to beinformed by one another.When I use the term ‘the rape of animals,’ the experience ofwomen becomes a vehicle for explicating another being’soppression. . . . Through the function of the absent referent,Western culture constantly renders the material reality ofviolence into controlled and controllable metaphors. (43)Adams holds that sexual violence and meat eating, “which appear to bediscrete forms of violence, find a point of intersection in the absentreferent” (43).Other vegetarian ecofeminists support Adams’ theory.Ecofeminism itself is seen broadly by Karen Warren as the position that30“there are important connections--historical, experiential, symbolic,theoretical--between the domination of women and the domination ofnature” (126). Marti Kheel, for instance, in “The Liberation of Nature: ACircular Affair,” argues against the notion that hierarchical dualism is anecessity in human re’ations with nature (137).Still, the questions of whether feminism and animal rights theory orfeminism and vegetarianism should necessarily be linked have been raisedby other feminists. In “Toward an Ecological Ethic of Care,” DeaneCurtin questions Adams’ claim in The Sexual Politics of Meat thatecofeminism is “conceptually linked” with animal rights theory (62). Shelists six reasons why a conceptual link cannot be made, pointing out thatfeminist ethics should be pluralistic, contextual, non-adversarial, relationaland experiential and should not contribute to marginalising ideas ofwomen as bodies. Yet later in the article she points out that “[t]o be aperson, as distinct from an ‘animal,’ is to be disembodied” (69), and alsoagrees that “[mioral vegetarianism is a fruitful issue for ecofeminists toexplore in developing an ecological ethics” (69), concluding that, fordifferent reasons from Adams’, ecofeminism and vegetarianism are31compatible, if not necessarily conceptually linked (70).b0 Most recently,Kathryn Paxton George (“Should Feminists Be Vegetarians?”) argues that“ethical vegetarianism is at odds with feminism” (407). She discussesmedical and nutritional writing (ignoring the fact that the mainstreammedical model has been produced by and dominated by men) andobjections to ethical vegetarianism, but does not explicitly address theconceptual link between vegetarianism and feminism. Nevertheless, allof these feminist theorists see important symbolic connections betweenwomen and animals.In The Sexual Politics of Meat, Adams mentions only cultural imagesof sexual violence as relying on our knowledge of how animals arebutchered and consumed. Yet her point can be made about other formsof violence as well. The violence of torture also attempts to “read” and“write” the sufferer as bestial and/or as feminine.Timmerman refers to the “almost magical inevitability of hatred”(66), the need for the power-monger always to have an enemy;according to Timmerman, the oppressor believes the object of oppression10 In a post-Sexual Politics of Meat article, Adams addresses six reasonsecofeminists could give for not including animals explicitly in ecofeminist analyses,anticipating and answering Curtin on several points (see, for example, Adams, “EEA,”139).32to be the struggle itself. The notion of the need for the torturer alwaysto have a victim, of the subject always to have an object, describes, ofcourse, simple dualistic thinking. O’Brien suggests to Winston that inthe absence of an enemy, the Party creates one:‘The more the Party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant:the weaker the opposition, the tighter the despotism.Goldstein and his heresies will live for ever. Every day, atevery moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed,spat upon--and yet they will always survive.’ (231)For O’Brien, power is by definition power-over: “power is power overhuman beings. Over the body--but, above all, over the mind” (228).Carlos in Imagining Argentina conjectures ironically that when thegenerals look back on the period of their power, they will feel “swollen,pregnant with death” (202). As Haraway notes, men have beenassociated with the technological, with machinery and the manipulationof objects, and women with the physical, with body and emotions.These associations are shown in all of the novels. In ImaginingArgentina, the generals send cars to follow suspected subversives whilethe mothers of the Plaza de Mayo walk in protest. Each of the novelsalso focuses on the victim character’s bodily state. Darkness at Noon’s33Rubashov is embarrassed by his own bodily needs during interrogations.In Store Ur the Anger, Bhengu is forced to drink his own urine in agrotesque reminder of his own status as only a body and bodilyfunctions. In Waiting for the Barbarians, the Magistrate realises that historturers were interested in “demonstrating to [him] what it meant to livein a body, as a body, a body which . .. coughs and retches and flails andvoids itself” when pipefuls of salt water are forced down his throat(115). Torture is seen in these examples as a product or method ofpatriarchy as most feminists broadly define patriarchy--the impulse topower, control, domination, with the torturer as manipulator of objectsand the tortured a manipulated body.Under such an encompassing world view privileging disablingrather than enabling power, power-over rather than power-to, is anexplicit, implicit or complicitous acceptance of the philosophy of sacrificeof the individual “for” the collective, a philosophy the torturers in thenovels accept. Of the novels I am discussing, only Nineteen Eighty-Fouroffers an explicit critique of this assumption. As René Girard points outin Violence and the Sacred, “when a phenomenon is used to explainother phenomena, it can generally be assumed that no explanation of theexplanatory phenomenon will be forthcoming” (89). Yet in his34examination of the myth and ritual of sacrifice, he accepts violator-violence-victim as a given structure:[T]he objective of ritual is the proper reenactment of thesurrogate-victim mechanism; its function is to perpetuate orrenew the effects of this mechanism; that is, to keepviolence outside the community (92).There are no individuals in this theory; in fact, there is a consistentundermining of individuality11. Some novels of torture set out tocritique such a theory of the necessity of sacrifice, usually by presentingtorturer characters who hold such a view. In Imagining Argentina, Carlossuggests that “the dream of power, the narrowness of their [thegenerals’] souls, leaves no room for the person, the individual” (92).O’Brien tells Winston that “power is collective. The individual only haspower in so far as he ceases to be an individual” (227). The view of thetorturing characters is constructed as representative while focalisation inthe novels constructs the tortured characters as individuals for the readerto identify with.Those who study the structure and content of myth seldom fail toYet I would agree with Girard’s point that “there is no reason to differentiatebetween human and animal sacrifice” (10).35find a place for the “scapegoat”, the other whose devaluation issanctioned by a group transferring its own “dark” aspects onto that otherby consensus. In Nineteen Eighty-Four this is “Emanuel Goldstein, theEnemy of the People, . . . the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of theParty’s purity” (Orwell, N, 15). When, towards the end of Darkness atNoon, Rubashov capitulates under interrogation, he believes that in hiscapitulation is the honour of the scapegoat:Some were silenced by physical fear; . . . some hoped tosave their heads; . . . others at least to save their wives orsons from the clutches of the Gletkins. The best of themkept silent in order to do a last service to the Party, byletting themselves be sacrificed as scapegoats (201).But according to Gletkin, Rubashov’s capitulation was a result of cruelinterrogation practices: the lamp, “plus lack of sleep and physicalexhaustion” (192).In Waiting for the Barbarians, as a crowd watches the Magistrate’smock-death by hanging, the narrator ponders, “of what use is it to blamethe crowd? A scapegoat is named, a festival is declared, the laws aresuspended: who would not flock to see the entertainment?” (120). Thispractice of deriving pleasure or experiencing “diversion” at the expense of36another has, of course, a long history. Its entrenchment in our culture(see Girard) could explain why a reader might tend to shun novels whichrequire that they examine the experience of that “other” whose pain iscustomarily so foreign.12This art which attempts to expose and therefore eliminate tortureexists within patriarchy and is bound up in patriarchal conventions.According to Foucauldian theory, structures of intellectual fields are alsoand always structures of power; domination, as seen in humandiscourse, is assumed to be an omnipresent feature of human relations.Perhaps the ultimate aim of torture in the novels, like the ultimateaim of patriarchy, in its love of power, is to control truth, to attempt tocreate a forced notion of reality, despite O’Brien’s claim to Winston that“the object of torture is torture. The object of power is power” (227).The latter prospect is more frightening for Winston than individualsuffering:If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of12 I do not necessarily suggest that the torture victim character in a novel holdsthe same place as a bear being “baited” or a maiden being “sacrificed,” althoughAdams would.37this or that event, it never hapoened--that, surely, was moreterrifying then mere torture and death? . . . And if all othersaccepted the lie which the Party imposed--if all records toldthe same tale--then the lie passed into history and becametruth. (34)The Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four wants to be viewed as Julia views itwhen Winston meets her, as inevitable:She had never heard of the Brotherhood, and refused tobelieve in its existence. Any kind of organized revolt againstthe Party, which was bound to be a failure, struck her asstupid. The clever thing was to break the rules and stayalive all the same. He [Winston] wondered vaguely howmany others like her there might be in the youngergeneration--people who had grown up . . . accepting theParty as something unalterable, like the sky, not rebellingagainst its authority but simply evading it, as a rabbitdodgesadog. (117)The desire for or appearance of the status of ultimate creator ofknowledge seems to be common among torturers in fiction. In RobertHarlow’s Felice, the central character, Felice, refuses to provide the38required answers to one of her torturer’s questions. He yells in response,“I will know” (276). One of Bhengu’s torturers (Store Ur the Anger)tells Bhengu:‘You can’t cover up from us, Sam. Sooner or later we learneverything about you. There’s nothing we don’t knowabout you. We know about every part of your body andevery part of your life. And what we don’t know we aregoing to find out.’ (42)The texts of torture I examine are both reflective of and alignedwith the same “argument” as the patriarchal political, moral, legal, social,cultural systems (outside of the novels) which sanction torture; they canbe seen as patriarchal constructs themselves. They do not exceed thepower/knowledge regimes which shape them, do not reach Haraway’sideal of cyborgian presentation.Of what, then, does their construction consist? How are theelements of the communicative process--the sender-message-receiverparadigm (according to reader-response theory)--constructed in novels orscenes of torture? Readers’ responses of empathic pain or voyeuristicpleasure result from textual strategies: not only the narrative and tropesbut the narrator, focaliser, focalised character and reader are constructed.39Chapter One will develop a model to examine those structures ofrepresentation and will test the model on a reading of Franz Kafka’s “Inthe Penal Colony.”40Chapter OneA Model for the Analysisof the Presentation of Torture in Fiction:“In the Penal Colony”And it may be that the function of torture today, rather thanthe production of truth, is still one of spectacle, of theproduction of broken bodies and psyches, both for local andinternational consumption.--Page du Bois, Torture and Truth, 7.First, or “in the beginning,” is the story told. Central to myconsideration of the narrative structures of novels of torture are the41theories of Donna Haraway, Teresa de Lauretis and Carol Adams. Allagree on the “maleT’ structures of most narratives. At the same time, allargue--indeed, de Lauretis insists upon--the degendering of such conceptsas patriarchy, spectator, reader, hero, subject/object. Haraway, inSimians, Cyborqs and Women, associates totalisation and domination,especially domination based on differences “seen as natural, giveninescapable, and therefore moral” (7-8) with patriarchal thinking, arguingagainst totalising feminisms in favour of “the permanent partiality offeminist points of view,” writing in the hope that feminists can “learnfrom [their] fusions with animals and machines how not to be Man, theembodiment of Western logos” (173). She presents this permanentpartiality in the figure of the cyborg--part natural, part technological--looking toward a kind of writing beyond the old categories:Cyborg writing must not be about the Fall, the imaginationof a once-upon-a-time wholeness before language, beforewriting, before Man. Cyborg writing is about the power tosurvive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on thebasis of seizing the tools to mark the world that markedthem as other. (175)The novels of torture I examine are decidedly pre-cyborgian, structuring42and structured out of hierarchical dualisms. Haraway lists such binarypairs as mind/body, animal/human, organism/machine, public/private,men/women, primitive/civilised (1 63).Using Laura Mulvey’s idea that “sadism demands a story” as apoint of departure, De Lauretis in Alice Doesn’t argues that the hero ofnarrative, regardless of his/her gender, is constructed as male while theobstacles he encounters, the symbolic other he creates himself out of--isfemale (de Lauretis 119, 1 21). In the more recent Technologies ofGender, she reemphasises her idea that to continue to pose the questionof gender in terms of sexual difference “keeps feminist thinking bound tothe terms of Western patriarchy itself” (1), emphasising that feminismmust retain “the ambiguity of gender” (11).In The Sexual Politics of Meat, Adams sees the structure ofnarrative--the Aristotelian narrative model1 reduced to beginning-middleend--as a (patriarchal) structure of the consumption of meaning. Shesees it in “the story of meat”--the creation, butchering and consumptionof animals. According to Adams, meaning is achieved in the ingestion ofthe final product: “Narrative . . . moves forward toward resolution,” to1 Introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution.43“meaning” which can (often) be apprehended only through closure (92).She connects women and animals as the objects of narrativeconsumption.It might be argued that the feminist theories I assemble arethemselves at risk of reinscribing a dualistic cycle. Such an argumentwould suggest that de Lauretis’ notion of gendered reader roles (set outin Alice Doesn’t and Technologies of Gender) reinscribes essentialistgender difference, that Adams’ call for texts which “bear the vegetarianword” (104) excludes texts which do not, that the hierarchical structuresHaraway cites so plentifully in “A Cyborg Manifesto” are structures sheencourages in her own call for an overthrowing of oedipal narratives. Yetthese binaries--they are binaries--seek to describe the texts, the stories,we have, in the hopes not of silencing old voices but of awakening newones. All three seek new representations which will open up newpossibilities.The existing model, according to de Lauretis, Adams and Haraway,among others, is a male oedipal narrative model, its structure is of ahero’s journey to heroism. The role of the female in that story has beento test the hero, qualify him as a hero. “Having fulfilled her narrativefunction,” de Lauretis writes, “her question is now subsumed in his; her44power, his; her fateful gift of knowledge, his” (AD 112). For Adams,that story is a closed story. Women become both the swallowers andthe swallowed (187) in stories where the agency of appetite (formeaning, for resolution, for closure) drives the narrative.Haraway attempts to get past the dominant Oedipal myth andrelated “origin stories” which she defines as myths of unity - Fall -division into genders- domination of woman/nature by man (151). Sheis manifestly uninterested in reproducing dualisms. The cyborg story shecalls for has no original unity; the cyborg “is not made of mud andcannot dream of returning to dust” (151). She does not go so far as toclaim that by embracing the technological we will be beyond division, butcalls for that embrace as part of an acceptance of others. The cyborg,she writes, “is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, andperversity” (150):No longer structured by the polarity of public and private,the cyborg defines a technological polis based partly on arevolution of social relations in the oikos, the household.Nature and culture are reworked; the one can no longer bethe resource for appropriation or incorporation by the other(151).45Her strategy is both ironic and deeply serious; its goal is not a world ofcontinuing dualisms with a different element on top the next time. It is acall for rethinking, for “imagining a world without gender, which isperhaps a world without genesis, but maybe also a world without end”(150).The model which I am constructing out of these three theories is amodel for the analysis of narrative. It uses vegetarian ecofeminist theoryto critique the structures of empathy constructed by the novels of tortureI discuss. The model is particularly applicable to narratives of torturewith an oedipal structure. I accept the Barthesian connections amonglanguage, narrative and the Oedipal story as appropriated by de Lauretis;I extend them via Adams and give them particularity via Haraway. DeLauretis points out thatBarthes’s discourse on the pleasure of the text, at onceerotic and epistemological, also develops from his priorhunch that a connection exists between language, narrative,and the Oedipus. Pleasure and meaning move along thetriple track he first outlined, and the tracking is from thepoint of view of Oedipus . . . its movement is that ofmasculine desire. (Alice Doesn’t, 107)46According to de Lauretis, “desire works along with narrativity, within themovement of its discourse” (105). For me, Adams adds to this notionthe possibility of theorising the agency of narrative as the agency ofappetite along with that of desire. That appetite is, again, “male”appetite “for” the animal, symbolically gendered female. In narratives oftorture, I read the torturer/tortured pair as a symbolically male/female,consumer/consumed subject/object relation; we as readers aresymbolically gendered as male and our “gaze” (the term originates withLaura Mulvey’s film theory) is directed towards the focus of thenarratives, the female victim. As female readers (this is de Lauretis’thesis in the “Desire in Narrative” chapter of Alice Doesn’t), we have twopositions with which to identify: that of the female victim or that of themale spectator viewing the female victim. That which the hero(constructed as male) conquers, transcends, sub- or consumes issymbolically female. Thus the murder, dismemberment and symbolicingestion of the “female” is driven by a twin urge to the male biologicalone described crudely by Robert Scholes (qtd. in de Lauretis 108)2. This2 Interestingly, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell’s narrator describes the TwoMinutes Hate as also following the “biological” structure, rising progressively to a“climax” (Orwell, N, 18).47double movement translates itself as a desire for dominating power. Iread the narrative structures, then, in the narratives of torture I examine,as structures of a male journey of sadism towards dominance. At thesame time, a second reading offered by these texts is of the victimsymbolically gendered as male (perhaps especially in ironic parodies ofintercourse with machinery which is often troped as female, manipulatedby the torturer) but viewed by the torturer as weak, as “feminine.” Therefocaliser, narrator and tropes chart the victim’s conflict with theobjectif led torturer antagonist.Second, stories need a perceiver(s) and a teller(s). Important tohow we read and respond to narratives are the questions of whofocalises and who vocalises. I move here in considering these questionsto Gerard Genette’s theory, modified by Mieke Bal, of what traditionallyare known as “point of view” and “type of narrator”. In her essays onnarratology in On Story-telling, Bal first summarises and then proposes areformulation of the theories of focalisation and narration as set out byGenette in his 1 980 Narrative Discourse. The aspects of Genette’stheory which are relevant to my discussion are internal . externalfocalisation and homo- or heterodiegesis (or primary and secondarynarration). The narratives of torture, of pain, that I examine seem to seek48a response of sympathy from their readers as a component of thenarrative. Central, then, because of their subject and their aim, are thequestions of who sees and who tells.For Genette, as he makes clear in the 1 988 Narrative DiscourseRevisited, a response to Bal’s and others’ criticisms of his earlier theories,“focalisation” is a term at once wider and more particular than “point ofview” because it allows for perception by means other than the visual.For Bal, focalisation is the agency of perceiving and presenting acharacter. The “focaliser,” the one who perceives,3is a different agent(I retain Bal’s notion of agency, a term rejected by Genette--see Genette72) from the narrating agent, the one who relates. Represented as aseries of concentric boxes in Bal, the levels of agency in narrative moveinward from author— narrator —b focaliser— actor — action and directdiscourse — implied “spectator” - explicit or implied reader (88). While Iwould, with Genette (74), reject the rigidity of Bal’s model, the paradigmallows a space for the reading of character (Bal’s actor) as structured bythe focaliser for the implied “spectator” who corresponds, in my view, toI prefer Genette’s “perceive” over Bal’s “see” for the reasons Genette explainsin Narrative Discourse Revisited (64): focalisation might be auditory, for example; touse “see” is not to move beyond the traditional term “point of view.”49de Lauretis’ symbolically gendered reader roles. While I would agree withGenette that not all narratives are focalised (seen by a perceiver distinctfrom the narrator) all the time, all of the narratives of torture I examineare focalised--all perceive and present characters and action from aposition or focus close to either the tortured character or a charactereither related to or in love with the tortured character. This is done, ofcourse, to construct our sympathy with the victim. An exception is theKafka model I use in this chapter where the focus of perception is keptaway from the condemned man, resting first with his torturer, the officer,then the spectator, the traveller. Still, I have chosen “In the PenalColony” for its brevity, the centrality of torture as its subject, its clearconstruction of its reader and what I see to be the clear structure ofconsumption of its victim.Genette and Bal do not consider the question of whether focalisersare symbolically gendered. Modifying their theory in the light of deLauretis’, then, I read the focalisers in the narratives of torture I study asmale. This is not the most effective construction of real sympathy forthe victim, but it is a feature of these “male” narratives. The text’sconstruction of both the one who perceives and the one who relates is asmale viewing the victim, focalised and troped as “feminine”--as weak,50controlled by body and emotion at the same time that his/her story is thatof the symbolically male “hero.” Moreover, in these narratives of torturefocalisation is usually single in order to maintain sympathy. It might beinternal (where focaliser and character are one and the same) or external,constructing the reader’s response as sympathy or empathy. In additionto constructing sympathy, texts, through narratological choices,construct credibility, an important response for narratives of torture sincetorture is probably an unexperienced and unfathomable process for mostreaders. The significant pair of terms I borrow from Genette via Bal,useful in describing the way(s) in which credibility is achieved, arehomodiegesis and heterodiegesis. On this point Genette and Bal agree:By definition, a ‘third-person’ narrator does not exist: anytime there is narrating, there is a narrating subject, one thatto all intents and purposes is always in the ‘first person.’(Bal 79)So for Bal and Genette the traditional (grammatical) first personnarrator becomes homodiegetic--present in the story s/he (“it” in Bal’sterms) tells as a character of whom mention is made; third personnarration becomes heterodiegetic--with narrator absent as such acharacter (Genette 97-98).51The centrality of the narrator-as-character role in the story is alsorelevant: s/he might tell his/her story or might act as a witness.Although I will examine some exceptions, in general my group ofnarratives of torture is homodiegetic--”diary” rather than “witness.” Someconstruct credibility through a “confirmation” of the story, alsopositioning the reader “safely” as observer rather than participant in thepainful experience. Most, however, focus on the construction ofcredibility and sympathy by means of primary narration, attempting tolead the reader towards imaginative participation in the torture.Third, a story told needs a reader. To theorise the construction ofthe reader in/by narratives of torture, I return to Teresa de Lauretis byway of a brief stop at Umberto Eco. In The Role of the Reader, Ecoreminds us that the “reader” (his “Model Reader,” “a textually establishedset of felicity conditions” [7]) of a given text is both selected and createdby the text, not a live reader but a role. Yet Eco’s theory of textuality isdeconstructed by de Lauretis to reveal Eco’s reader as masculine (AliceDoesn’t 177, 33-35, 51-56). The novels of torture I examine work toconstruct a reader who is both voyeur and sympathiser, in symbolicterms both “male” voyeur and “female” sympathiser.The model I am constructing of the elements of the narratological52process as it bears on the novel of torture might seem to becomecomplicated in terms of gender construction and positioning. Broadly, Iam reading the narratives of torture I examine as symbolically malejourneys, made of patriarchal structures. Readers, as women or men, areconstructed as male and their gaze (in Bal’s sense of both attention andlook--see Bal 91) is focalised through the victim character or her/hissympathisers in the narratives. That character, although his/her tortureror torturing system attempts to trope her/him as “female,” is constructedas a male encountering torturing apparati and characters which areconstructed as female. The texts reproduce the patriarchal constructs ofthe powerful as “male” and the powerless as “female” in implicitacceptance of such constructs, showing themselves to be patriarchalconstructs.The last aspect I will discuss of the process of presenting torture innarrative fiction is the tropological. Here, in addition to Max Black’sessay in Metaphor and Thought, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’sMetaphors We Live By and David Lodge’s The Modes of Modern Writing,Eco is again useful. By applying his theory (in Interpretation andOverinterpretation 45) that “both a metaphysic and a physic of universalsympathy must stand upon a semiotics . . . of similarity” to the nature53and function of metaphor in narrative, we arrive at the connection, inmetaphor, of similarity and sympathy4. In short, the tropologicalpresentation of two “things” as similar attempts to constituteconstruction of sympathy. Metaphor especially, but also simile,metonymy, analogy--extended simile--and allegory--an extendedmetaphoric/symbolic structure--serves to structure our interpretation ofnarratives. Metonymy, which represents the structured concept bysomething closely associated with it, and synecdoche, which representsthe thing by means of one of its parts or aspects, also rely on thesympathy in similarity.Lodge maps the semantic (and “realistic”) effects of metaphor in aschematisation which is useful for my investigations of the relationshipbetween two elements of the texts I examine: the distance betweenstructuring and structured concept in a metaphor (what are also knownas vehicle and tenor) and the level of reader understanding constructed.Here is Lodge:The greater the distance . . . between the tenor (which isI use “sympathy” here in both of the following meanings from the O.E.D.: “a(real or supposed) affinity between certain things” and “conformity of feelings . .“community of feeling.”54part of the context) and the vehicle of the metaphor, themore powerful will be the semantic effect of the metaphor,but the greater, also, will be the disturbance to therelationships of contiguity between items in the discourseand therefore to realistic illusion. (112)The schematisation might be diagrammed as follows:1. tenor vehicle high semantic effect(high distance) low realism2. tenor --- vehicle low semantic effect(low distance) high realismLodge, of course, presupposes a notion of consensus reality. Novelsof torture rely on the “realism” achieved by a “closeness” of structuredand structuring concept as constituting an effect of sympathy. ChapterTwo’s examination of the tropes of torture in certain narratives showsthat those narratives rely primarily on metaphors of Lodge’s second kind.It also examines what Lakoff and Johnson call “structural” metaphors.Lakoff and Johnson divide metaphors broadly into three kinds:55orientational, giving a concept spatial organisation, ontological,presenting abstract things as boundaried things, and structural, using onestructured concept to structure another concept (14, 25, 61). Accordingto Metaphors We Live By, orientational and ontological metaphors all“induce” similarities, make them possible; these similarities “do not existindependently of the metaphor” (147). Structural metaphors, on theother hand, create similarities once a new metaphor is used (151). Thecreation or construction of similarity, then, in Lodge’s terms, “lowers”the distance between structured and structuring concept and allows thenthe constructions of credibility and understanding, and--in combinationwith narrative structure, focalisation and vocalisation (discussed inChapters Three and Four)--sympathy, where the structured concept ispain.I turn now to the construction of a model for reading narratives oftorture--Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony.”5 As mentioned, I have chosenthis tale for its brevity, the centrality of torture as its subject, itsmethodical construction of its reader and its gradual consumption of itsvictim. In addition, the story clearly presents torture as writing/writing asTranslated by J. A. Underwood.56torture and reading as complicity/voyeurism. The tale is not a perfectmodel, however; it keeps the reader distanced from the victimcharacter’s experience and thus sympathy for that character isconstructed only partially and through the agency of the traveller.By the end of the first sentence of Kafka’s story, the text’smanipulations and constructions are evident. The “etic” opening(opening with a pronoun--see Roland Herweg in Genette, 70), genericrather than specific subject/noun “device,” the incipit which assumes acharacter to be known and refers to him (here) by a “familiarising”definite article (Genette 68n), the assumptive “of course,” and theobvious external focalisation signalled by the focaliser’s interpretation ofa character’s appearance all begin to construct the reader as alreadycurious about and complicit in the story:‘It’s a curious device,’ said the officer to the traveller,surveying with a look almost of admiration the device withwhich he was of course so familiar. (149)This opening sentence is periodic, delaying the introduction of its subject,the speaker of the direct discourse. By beginning directly with aquotation, the text serves to position the reader without preamble orpreparation directly in the speech of the officer; focalisation--and thus57sympathy this early in the tale--is with him. The four-word openingquotation is also periodic, the expletive “it” delaying its ownsubject/antecedent. The officer is in the subject position. The modifyingverbal phrase which follows the initial independent clause (quotation) ofthe sentence skips back over the noun “traveller” to locate its referencein the officer, subject of all action in the first sentence just as he issubject of most action in the first half of the story, “the turning-pointcalculated to occur at the sixth hour” (152), to borrow the officer’sterms. And why should I not borrow his terms? He is, after all, thefigure of male authority, logos, law in the tale.Almost automatically, the reader is put in the position of thetraveller, who becomes a trope for the reader, as the officer is focusedon. Yet the officer himself structures the “traveller”s “look,” directinghim to the “device.” The device is established in the first sentence asthe “proper” object of reader attention by means of its double mention(once by the officer, again by the narrator) along with the other strategiesof the first sentence. Its designation as a generic class of thing works toconstruct reader interest. Also, its use here in its primary meaning of athing made for a certain purpose arouses curiosity regarding its purpose.The word “device,” in fact, occurs sixteen times before the officer begins58to explain its function and operation.The language, structure and semantics of the first sentence of “Inthe Penal Colony” serve to build the reader in a process of pulling in tothe context, to complicity, eventually to sympathy. When a creepingdiscomfort is built in the reader, directed and constructed by the text, thereader is never let completely out of its grip--is not released “unscarred”to participate later in the text in a different role. When, finally, thetraveller reveals his own judgment of the procedure, the reader hasbecome at the mercy of the text, slowly experiencing the torture of thetale. Insofar as torture in Kafka’s tale is the (attempted) inscription onthe victim of the torturer’s/state’s ideology (its “story,” its “line,” insofaras it is a “sentence”) then torture can be read as a form of writing6.And insofar as writing entraps a “real” reader in its world, releasingher/him only at its signal and never unmarked, so writing can be seenmetaphorically as the “infliction” on another (a reader) of an ideology or aset of “points of view”: it can be read as a form of torture. S/he might,in different ways and usually at different times, participate in the roles6 Michael Valdez Moses considers the rendering of writing as a form of torture inWaiting for the Barbarians “most distressing” (120), yet the trope recognises therelatedness of both as and in systems of domination.59offered by the tale. The model reader of “In the Penal Colony1’takes theroles of officer, traveller and condemned wo/man, participating in a textfirmly rooted in the separation between writing/technology and the body.Kafka’s text is ruthless in its construction of an initiallyuninterested, then complicit, finally sympathetic traveller. The potentiallyinflammatory information that an execution is to occur and that theexecution is punishment for “insubordination and insulting an officer” isrevealed in a subordinate clause, minimising its potential unjustness.Interest in the execution is “not very great,” according to the narrator;the traveller is “not greatly interested,” his “uninvolvement” “little shortof obvious” (149). The negatives, the traveller’s turning aside, open thespace for the reader’s direct gaze at the device which is by now sointeresting.The process of the text’s offering unsatisfying interpretations viathe traveller begins while the officer’s explanations remain the onlysource of information about the condemned man’s fate. This process ispresented as both attractive and repulsive, a dual identity intensified inthe story’s second paragraph when interpretation is not only decipheringmeaning via appearances, negatives and speculations, but results fromfocalisation from a position closer to the officer’s consciousness. The60fascinated two-way role for the reader is underscored in the thirdparagraph when the traveller “gestured vaguely” in response to theofficer’s “question” (it is a statement) of whether the traveller requires anexplanation of the device. The heterodiegetic narrator and the generallyexternal focaliser retrench here to reveal knowledge of the internalthought processes of the officer: “as the officer had expected” (150).By this point the narrator and officer become close, too, through theshared use of the term “device” which the narrator has adopted. At theend of the second paragraph, the project of the text is explicit; thereader is constructed through the traveller: “Won’t you take a seat?’ he[the officer] asked in conclusion, pulling a cane chair out of a pile of suchchairs and offering it to the traveller, who could not refuse” (152).And what of the condemned man? I seem to have taken my cuefrom Kafka and have written three pages on the story withoutconsidering him. His fate is being revealed slowly in such of the officer’safterthoughts as “after all, the device is required to run for twelve hourswithout interruption” (1 50). Although he has roles to play later in thestory, his lack of importance as a character is evident in the firstparagraph where, troped as an animal, he clearly becomes the absentreferent in a tale whose movement is that of consumption. He is “broad61mouthed” and “stolid,” with “a look of neglect about his hair and face,”chains fixed to his neck, ankles and wrists, and “an air of doglikesubservience” suggesting that “one could have given him the run of thesurrounding slopes and a mere whistle would have fetched him back”(149). Later, we see him as a cow or dog, pausing in the chewing of hisfood to look up at a loud noise (169). He is, in Adams’ terminology, theobject in narrative consumption. He is kept out of active interest in hisown torture by means of his drowsiness and his inability to understandFrench. He is trebly then (let us not forget his chains) at the officer’smercy. Nevertheless, as a trope for a reader (he is said to “ape” thetraveller’s actions [1521), hewas doing his utmost to follow the officer’s explanations.With a kind of drowsy obstinacy he would direct his gazewherever the officer happened to be pointing, and when thelatter was interrupted by a question from the traveller hetoo, like the officer, turned to look in the traveller’sdirection. (151)The complexity of looks here still interrupts the officer’s project, theexplanation and operation of the device. It also demonstrates thatfocalisation is minimised as the text approaches its turning-point.62So far the traveller does not comment on the “device”; he asksquestions. Even following the triple-thrust of the repetition of “harrow”(without the substantial narrative interpolations, the direct discourse inparagraphs three and four reads: “ . . . the harrow.” “The harrow?”“The harrow . ..“ [1511), the traveller is silent; the officer assumesthat he is interested. The traveller’s failure to react teeters on the absurdwhen, following the officer’s information that a stub of felt is insertedinto the victim’s mouth “to prevent screaming and biting of the tongue”(152), the traveller returns to an earlier step in the explanation and asks,“That’s cotton wool?” (152). Now that he has not only seen and heardof the device but touches it, his complicity increases: “the device wasbeginning to capture the traveller’s imagination” (152). It is evident thatthe officer’s own narrative strategies--primarily diegesis interruptus--areworking on the traveller. When the officer pauses “to give the travellertime to view the device at his ease” (152), he gives the traveller time toponder remaining and a real reader space to consider continuing. Whenthe traveller/reader remains/continues to read, a deeper level ofcomplicity is reached, signalled, contracted verbally, by the officer’s “Allright, the man’s lying there” in response to which the traveller,positioned as a spectator in an armchair, “leant back in his chair and63crossed his legs” (1 52). The affirmative “all right” coupled with thepresent-tense clause place the traveller/reader, in similar physical andpsychological positions, directly, immediately and complicitly inside theaction of the story the officer tells. The officer reemphasises hisacknowledgement of the contract of complicity with a “Yes” andsignals the beginning of the central story in the narrative: “Now listen tothis!” (153) When the traveller, who is the only one among the tale’scharacters to indicate disapproval of the process, frowns, the reader’sposition is temporarily shifted closer in identification with him. Yet hisdisapproval is partial and unsatisfying; he focuses on the unjustness ofthe trial procedure rather than the barbarity of the punishment.Inevitably, the narration is reappropriated by the officer whoseexplanations are in primary narration.At the story’s “sixth hour,” when the officer begins to prepare hisown torture, focalisation, which has generally been with him, shifts tothe traveller. The condemned man, constructed as little more than theostensible raison d’etre of the device, now disappears altogether as afocus and becomes an object of comic relief as he dances with thesoldier. “From this point on . . . the officer took very little notice of him”(173).64What, then, is to be noticed, viewed--what is the object of thestory? Surely we find meaning by reading “In the Penal Colony”allegorically. The object all along has been the focus on technologyrather than on the condemned man (“the traveller was being veryseriously distracted by the condemned man” [157]). The emphasis hasbeen on the experience of the torture rather than the understanding ofthe punishment: on the sentence rather than the crime. Of paramountimportance to the officer is that justice is being seen to be done, and forthe victim to recognise the law--decipher it with his own body. Finally,when focalisation shifts to the traveller, reader sympathy is enabled,another kind of sixth-hour enlightenment, for the condemned man tropednow as text. The experience of the law through torture is, for theofficer, pure justice. And what else can law be associated with butlogos, writing? The object of reading, following the allegorical model ofthe story, is the recognition of the power of the word; “keep the writingclear at all times” (1 57). The allegory of torture as writing/writing astorture comes together in the public spectacle of the inscribing at whichreaders as spectators/spectators as readers are invited to look:‘Now, to enable everyone to study the execution of thesentence the harrow is made of glass . . . . And now65everyone can watch through the glass as the inscription ismade on the body. Come over here, won’t you, and have acloser look at the needles.’ (1 56)Acutely conscious of its own medium, the tale’s officer points out that“the actual lettering has to be accompanied by a great deal ofembellishment” (158).Finally, “In the Penal Colony” is, and not only because of the lackof women in it, a highly “male” story. The only women mentioned arethe commandant’s “ladies,” given neither direct nor indirect discourse buttold of, apparati of the commandant, apparati in the officer’s story. Yetthe officer’s characterisation of them is precisely as, in de Lauretis’terms, “obstacles man encounters on the path of life, on his way tomanhood, wisdom and power; they must be . . . defeated so that he cango forward to fulfil his destiny--and his story” (AD, 110). They representthe only faint hint of sexual desire in “that deep sandy valley with itsbarren slopes all around” (Kafka 149): the officer is concerned they willplay with the traveller’s fingers and distract him from speaking out infavour of the torture device and procedure. Of course, this is their role-sympathy is associated with the feminine: if the commandant halts theprocedure, the halting will be a “feminine” act.66“In the Penal Colony” constructs a reader finally sympathetic to,but never in empathy with, the condemned man. The torture machineryis of far more interest than the body it is set to inscribe. The only fusionof the natural and the technological in the story occurs when the officerhimself is being inscribed. Yet no sympathy for the officer has been builtwhen he climbs abruptly into the machine. The movement of thenarrative clearly shows the victim character and the women assecondary, animals as tertiary in the hierarchical structure of the tale.The model which the theories of de Lauretis, Haraway andvegetarian ecofeminists together can constitute provides a linkage amongthe structures of text and reader in novels of torture which are concernedwith power, gender and human relations. “In the Penal Colony”deemphasises the victim character’s experience of the action in the tale,yet other novels of torture focus on it with an apparent project ofbringing the reader into sympathy with the tortured character in order towrite against torture. Chapter Two will discuss the structure ofsympathy built by these novels.67Chapter TwoTropes and Analogies: Points of Reference‘Nothing is worse than what we can imagine.’--J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians, 31.According to Lakoff and Johnson in Metaphors We Live By,metaphors attempt to create understanding by presenting one thing interms of another. In doing so, metaphors attempt to construct asimilarity between the things, bringing the listener or reader of themetaphor close to the structured concept. This understanding intensifiesthe response to metaphors. Adapting Lodge’s spatial metaphor of the“distance” between structured and structuring concept to Eco’s theory of68the model reader, a view of metaphor emerges in which the “closer” ametaphor’s structuring concept is to a zone constructed as familiar ornormal by the text, the more intense is the reader response (sympathy,empathy, aversion, voyeuristic pleasure) constructed by the metaphor.As Lakoff and Johnson point out, metaphors allow the conceptualisationof one thing “in terms of something that we understand more readily”(61). By and large the metaphors which present torture in the novels Iexamine rely on simple ontological metaphors. According to Lakoff andJohnson, ontological metaphors use physical objects and substances,bounded entities, as the bases for “understanding,” which they see asthe function of all metaphors. Presenting an experience in terms of anobject or a substance singles out parts of the experience to be treated asdistinct entities or uniform substances (25)1.Yet in novels of torture, even in these simple metaphors the1 Lakoff and Johnson write that the process of conceptualisation is metaphorical(3), that the metaphorical concept is systematic (7), and that systematicity “allowsus to comprehend one aspect of a concept in terms of another” (10). One conceptstructures another; orientational metaphors (which give an object spatial organisation-14) and ontological metaphors view things in terms of “basic” concepts, whilestructural metaphors use one structured concept to structure another concept (61).Following Lakoff and Johnson’s notion of the structuring of one concept by means ofanother, I will be using the term “structured concept” to refer to what has beentraditionally the “tenor” of a metaphor and “structuring concept” to denote what hasbeen called the “vehicle.”69construction of sympathy is inhibited by a lack of zones of familiarity. Attimes, rather than building reader sympathy, the novels risk falling intothe trap of the patriarchal construction of torture. Their metaphors keepreaders distant from victim characters’ pain, especially when thosecharacters are female or animal or are troped as female or animal. This isalso the case when suffering characters are troped as vegetable, as theyoften are, which accords with Adams’ view that femininity and thevegetable are linked in the sexual politics of meat.Stephen Greenblatt, in his commentary on an early seventeenth-century account of torture, points out that the torturer, in an attempt toforce communication with another, increases his tortures in the absenceof a scream (14). By showing us the importance the torturer places on averbal response to his actions, Greenblatt demonstrates that for thetorturer in the account Greenblatt includes, torture is, among otherthings, an attempt at communication, at union. Its perpetrator describesit metaphorically, trying to connect his actions to a notion of theacceptable. Bhengu’s torturers also do this: ‘‘You’re going to sing forme now” (234). But because, for Bhengu at least, torture effects anunwilling union with his torturers, the metaphors used to describe it workagainst their utterers’ intentions, emphasising Bhengu’s essential70separation from his torturers while the torturers use the metaphors toattempt to force his integration with them. Because the novel isfocalised from a position close to Bhengu, stressing his self-possession,when Bhengu’s interrogators tell him “You’re ours, Sam” (193), thedisparity between the metaphor’s intention and its reception points upthe contradictions inherent in the ideology of the torturing SecurityPolice.The euphemisms in torture novels constitute another kind of trope,usually metaphor, which underscores the slippage in the expression-referent pair which results in reader sympathy for the victim. Thesetorturers euphemise to deny the reality of their actions. The torturercharacter attempts to affirm the connection between euphemism andfact, while the imagery of the scenes of torture (bare grey or dark cells orrooms as in Store Up the Anger, Waiting for the Barbarians, Darkness atNoon and Nineteen Eighty-Four) underscores the disparity betweeneuphemism and situation. Held in tension are the two positionsrepresented by the metaphoric and the literal: the former affirms, whilethe latter denies, connections between euphemism and event.Carol Adams calls the structure of euphemism the structure of the“absent referent.” She is speaking strictly of metaphors in which the71structured concept is itself a figure for a referent which is notacknowledged and is, thus, “absent” (she speaks of animals as absentreferents when victims of violence figure themselves or are figured aspieces of “meat” [Sexual Politics of Meat 40-21). Animals have becomeabsent referents in academic discussions of torture in fiction also whenthe critic accepts that troping a victim character as an animal is reducingher/him. Gallagher, for example, writes that “[e]ven though his tortureand imprisonment have physically reduced [the Magistrate] to the level ofan animal, these experiences also have elevated his moral awareness”(Story of South Africa, 130). Gallagher’s comment also points outanother dichotomy in the structure of torture: the suffering characterbecomes both morally superhuman and physically subhuman.All euphemisms act to replace or to censor the unnamed referent.Obvious euphemisms such as those used by torturing charactersconstruct sympathy for suffering characters by underlining the differencebetween figure of speech and situation, to call attention to the actualityof the missing referent, the unnamed situation which is often also leftundescribed in torture novels. Such obvious metaphors also work asirony given that the point of the torture is to cause physical pain. Scarrypoints out that the use of euphemisms for torture, specifically domestic72euphemisms, assists--in fact, is--a process of decreation. She draws theexample of Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” where the torture apparatus isessentially a large sewing machine, noting that “the unmaking ofcivilisation inevitably requires a return to and mutilation of the domestic,the ground of all making” (45). In euphemistic metaphors we see thecomplex process of simultaneous affirmation and negation of the torturesituation--a process not so much of naming as of denying. The torturingcharacters thus provide a reading of the novels’ torture situations whichis presented as distorted. This presentation constructs our interest in thevictim characters’ experiences of torture. The novels seem to set as theirproject the naming of torture, describing it, giving it dimensions anddetails.In Jan Drabek’s Rerort on the Death of Rosenkavalier, crushedgenitals in Czechoslovakian prisons are known as “the ketchuptreatment” (173); in Ariel Dorfman’s “Consultation” (the title itself iseuphemistic--the victim is a medical doctor), being tied to a pole andbeaten is a ride on a “horse” (118); in Waiting for the Barbarians tortureby hanging is called “flying” (121); Store Up the Anger mentions “thehead-shrinker” and “the boat rides” (178); in Manlio Argueta’s One Dayof Life a drink of malathion, a poison used against insects and animals, is73“Quaker Oats’ refreshment” (70). Scarry’s reading also applies to therest of Argueta’s scene of torture: the torturers focus on householdobjects and names, emphasising their decreative power and function bydoing so. Their wounded victims are submerged in a tub of chili peppers;a toothbrush is inserted into their anuses and their teeth are then“brushed” (70). Food and hygiene, among the most basic “necessities”or items of comfort, are here converted into implements of torture.Timmerman, too, cites euphemisms that use structuring conceptssuggesting creativity--of communication and technology: “chatting withSusan” (a session with the electricity machine), “looking for oil” (rotatinground and round with one finger on the ground) and the “choo-chooshock” (being crushed by five policemen in a line [6-7, 82]).In the action of the novels, torturers’ euphemisms serve thetorturers’ denial of reality; this helps torturer characters and hurts theirvictims. In using the euphemisms they do, the torturing characters blurthe distinction between the euphemism and its referent so that theeuphemism comes to signify in itself. This process might halt a reader’ssearch for meaning beyond the euphemism. Or, a euphemism might, byvirtue of its crudity, serve to reinforce the missing referent. Certainly thenovels present such euphemisms to construct a duplicitous and74desensitised torturer.To construct a sympathetic reader who does grasp the victimcharacter’s pain, most novels of torture include some “literal”presentations of pain. Although all fiction is metaphorical in the sensethat its objects, ideas and actions exist only in the interface between textand reader (in Wolfgang Iser’s terms), we can distinguish in fictionbetween unstructured concepts and structured concepts. Unstructuredconcepts are, in Lakoff and Johnson’s terms, “readily understood,” notrequiring presentation in terms of or by means of other concepts, andstructured concepts are structured by means of other concepts. Withinthe text, then, are “metaphorical” and “literal” terms. Carlos in ImaginingArgentina, for example, tells his audience that one torture victim[Professor Hirsch] “felt two sharp objects applied to his testicles and thenextraordinary pain, searing, leaping pain such as he had never known”(1 58). “Leaping” is metaphorical, but the rest of the sentence is literal.Similarly, Store Up the Anger describes Bhengu’s pain as “a jarringnumbing sensation that travelled the length of his nervous system;” theblows “vibrated through the length of his body, carried on a stunned andtingling nervous system” (235). These texts rely on adjectives andprecise detail to convey their victim characters’ experiences. Ebersohn’s,75in fact, tends to avoid metaphor by presenting Bhengu’s thoughts inhomodiegetic narration:I can handle anything you can dish out, Bhengu thought.Whatever you do there’ll be some way I can handle it . .Would it be better to relax Bhengu wondered. Or to haveyour muscles tensed? No. There was no good way. Youjust have to take it, he told himself. (234)Whether literal or metaphorical, language bears a crucial role in theexpression of pain, just as it holds a crucial role in the eradication of pain.For before pain can be diminished it must be apprehended, shared;before it can be shared it must be transmitted. This is Scarry’s theory inThe Body in Pain which, while it treats fiction only peripherally,nevertheless underscores how few fictional presentations of physical painexist. Scarry points out that bodily pain not only resists language butdestroys it,bringing about an immediate reversion to a state anterior tolanguage, to the sounds and cries a human being makesbefore language is learned. (4)She suggests that inventing language that can reach and accommodatepain will provide pain with the object it lacks. This assumption, that the76verbal sign of pain is a necessary prerequisite to the collective diminishingof it, Scarry sees acted upon in five arenas, one of which is art.2At the same time, presented pain might not be met invariably withsympathy or empathy (indeed, such responses might not be the novel’sconsistent aim). In Waiting for the Barbarians, the Magistrate desperatelywants the “barbarian” woman’s experience demystified, but why? Attimes he believes that until he understands her pain he will not be able tohelp her: “Tell me,’ I want to say, ‘don’t make a mystery of it, pain isonly pain’; but words elude me” (32). At other moments heacknowledges his voyeurism. He describes himself as both a protectingalbatross and a preying crow in relation to the woman (81). Descriptionsof pain, then, will not necessarily create sympathy; the effect thedepiction has will depend on individual readers. Empathy is constructedusually by visual, tactile and intellectual comparisons to kinds of commonhuman pain3. Tropes, especially metaphors, are a crucial part of thedepiction of torture in these novels. Tropes of the torturing character aim2 The others are individual testimonials of great pain, medicine, human rightsactivism and law.Elaine Scarry points out the relative rarity of literary presentations of physicalpain compared with the frequency of literary presentations of other forms of pain,especially psychological. She puts this down to the aversiveness of physical pain.77to present torture from his perspective, and tropes of the victim characterdescribe torture in the victim’s view. Torturers’ tropes are of a limitednumber and seem to have a uniform structure in novels, revealingcontradictions inherent in the torturer’s thinking. A range of victims’tropes are set against these. The victims’ tropes vary in kind, butcommon among them seems to be the construction of conditions creatingsympathy for or empathy with the victim characters.As Scarry points out, our present lexicon has few methods forpresenting such a formidable assault as torture literally. Metaphor, then,fundamental in all discourse, becomes perhaps more central in depictingthis agony. Tropes which contribute to the construction of asympathetic or empathetic reader are victims’ tropes. They present thenature of pain, the intensity of pain, the physical damage of torture, thepsycho-emotional effects of torture and the presentness of pain. Incombination with a narrative told by and/or focalised through the victimor one close to him/her, the tropes set out to construct a shocked andscarring empathy. The task is huge, and at times it causes the novels topartake in the same structures which encourage torture.The nature of pain is often presented by direct comparisons whichrely on one or more of the primary physical senses, especially the tactile78but at times the visual or, more rarely, the auditory, gustatory orolfactory. Imagining Arcientina offers both auditory and visualdescriptions to present one character’s pain: “he felt the pain in his skulland heard sounds like a brass band. His vision was like a kaleidoscope inwhich there were a dozen men [there are two beating him]” (44). Theseparticular similes work as irony; their effectiveness is in the incongruityof their structuring and structured concepts. Brass bands andkaleidoscopes are normally pleasurable; the coupling enhances the painin the experience. Consider another example: “The pain in his testicles,the darkness he moved in, made fear blossom like flowers in a garden”(140). Exactly what is similar in the fear and in blossoming flowers isnot included in the simile, but surely the contrast between darkness andblossoming flowers is the tool to emphasise the pain. Another flowertrope in Waiting for the Barbarians uses contrast and change to stress thepain: “something blooms across my face, starting as a rosy warmth,turning to fiery agony” (107). The metaphor progresses from a gentlebeginning to a violent end, from the red of a rose to the red of fire,moving the reader, too, from comfort to cringing.Metaphors of torture frequently employ light and heat as vehicles,working with two dominant senses. Imagining Argentina presents pain in79this manner:the pain comes like lightning from rubber hoses and the lightexplodes like fireworks when the current is turned on,and,when live wires were applied to his testicles, he felt as if ahot vise had been clamped to the tenderest part of his body.(63, 59)The emasculation in the second example is obvious, and the torturingcharacters’ troping of the victim as female here is clear as they taunt himthat he will never have another erection. Yet while readers musttemporarily see the character here as feminised, the trope which presentshis pain does not necessarily reach an area of familiarity in readers. Thetropes of suffering in both examples above rely on the unfamiliarstructuring concept of extreme light and heat in a body. Also relying onthe fact that all bodies possess a temperature gauge, Robert Harlow’sFelice employs tropes which present torture as an extended period ofpain: “like a steady draft of cold air over a tooth’s exposed nerve” (276).The persistence of pain is expressed in Imagining Argentina as “clamped”and in Felice as “steady.”Another of torture pain’s defining features in the novels is its80intensity. This intensity is frequently presented by means of colour.Imagining Argentina usually uses white:Carlos struggled to get up and felt another blow and thenthe room was red and white and Teresa’s voice faded intodarkness,and,The pain exploded in little white pinwheels as the manbrought his knee up into Silvio’s groin . . . . The pain couldonly be compared to having his testicles squeezed in awhite-hot vise. (124, 139)Here, brightness of colour describes pain while darkness is pain’sabsence. Colour is probably not, of itself, objectively associated witheither pain or pleasure. It seems to work here as an intensifier to painwhen it is combined with another adjective, “hot”, one which isphysiologically associated with pain. “White-hot” draws its intensityfrom its specific meaning in chemistry; it describes the highest degree ofheat radiating white light.Nineteen Eighty-Four uses a more literal approach in the numericalindices of “the dial.” As I have said, it meticulously avoids tropologicalpresentation, in fact, the narrator stating only that “a wave of pain81flooded [Winston’s] body” and “the wave of pain receded” (211).Although both “wave” and “flooded” appear in their secondary meanings(in its primary meaning, a wave is made of water and flooding alsorequires a liquid), they are literal.After Winston receives the initial round of electricity, anothercomes that is presented in numbers and physical effects:‘And if the Party says that it is not four but five--then howmany?‘Four.’The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dialhad shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all overWinston’s body. The air tore into his lungs and issued againin deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he couldnot stop. O’Brien . . . drew back the lever. This time thepain was only slightly eased.The needle went up to sixty . . .The needle must have risen again, but he did not look atit. (215)Winston, his thoughts expressed here in the narrator’s voice, quickly82accepts and adopts the numerical measurements, employing themhimself.The pain flowed into Winston’s body. The needle must beat seventy, seventy-five . .Perhaps the needle was eighty--ninety. (21 6)The description of what physical responses “fifty-five” can achieve,construct in the reader the dread of the highest point, one hundred.O’Brien’s indicator transmits intensification by means of pain levels, asImagining Argentina does more figuratively, yet the simple designation“pain” lacks the strength to construct empathy on its own.Another method to help build reader empathy with victimcharacters is the presentation of the bodily effects of torture, the physicaldamage, by means of relations--before/after oppositionings ortolerable/intolerable pain comparisons. These might be, but are notalways, metaphorical. Carlos in Imagining Argentina presents a bluntbefore/after continuum: “They did this [torture by electric shocks] everyday until he [Octaviol did not even know his name” (59). The pain elicitspart of its intensity for a reader when it is compared with the routineinterrogation structure which begins with the question, “What is yourname?”83Another common form of relativising is the presentation of whatconstitutes pleasure in the victim character’s experience compared withthe much richer comforts outside that experience. Bhengu in a shallow,lukewarm bath in a prison hospital considers his situation “perfect:”“Bhengu could not remember ever enjoying anything this much. Theprison was quiet. There was no pain. . . . The only thing that wasimportant was to be sitting here in the bath” (173). Here the poverty ofBhengu’s situation is emphasised when it is set beside the minimalimportance Bhengu has attached to a bath on any other given day in thenovel before his imprisonment.The natural-world tropes in The Painted Bird are more direct andsimpler; the novel’s narrator undergoes “terror that shakes one until itsqueezes the stomach empty of vomit, like a punctured poppy pod blownopen by the wind” (136). “Punctured” and “blown open” are thestructuring concepts which create a sense of violence, randomness andthe violation of something beautiful, while “shakes” and “squeezes” bringthe impression to the present tense for a sense of immediacy andurgency.The Handmaid’s Tale attempts to convey the bodily damagewrought by torture by presenting the damaged body part as antithetic to84its original appearance:I am still praying but what I am seeing is Moira’s feet, theway they’d looked after they’d brought her back. Her feetdid not look like feet at all. They looked like drowned feet,swollen and boneless, except for the colour. They lookedlike lungs,and,His face is cut and bruised, deep reddish-brown bruises; theflesh is swollen and knobby, stubbled with unshaven beard.This doesn’t look like a face but like an unknown vegetable,a mangled bulb or tuber, something that’s grown wrong.(87, 261)The effect of the first metaphor comes from the initial metonymy whichcreates and enhances the image. “Lungs’ particularly constructs animage of pink- or redness, rubbberiness and the fragility particularly ofinternal organs. In both quotations, the adjectives used, along with thenegations of the body’s normal appearance, communicate the shockingnature of what must have happened, freezing the experience short ofimmediacy, but do not speak for the victim whose experience remainsuncommunicated at the same time that its results are presented. Both85similes assert simply that the feet/face do not look the way feet/a faceshould.Metonymies occur again in Coetzee where the Magistrate dreamsof the “girl”s feet as “disembodied, monstrous, two stranded fish, twohuge potatoes” (87). While “monstrous” both indicates the Magistrate’sperception of the size of the woman’s feet and suggests the“monstrosity” which must have been done to the feet to make themappear so big, “disembodied” creates the comparison of the undamagedbody to the bifurcated ‘feet + the rest of the body’ impression theMagistrate has of the woman. The vegetable comparisons then capture asense of lifelessness and uselessness.Store Ui the Anger contains a more immediate form of relativising:He [Bhengul could feel the skin of one of his ankles tear, thetissue rumpling like paper. Compared to the pain in his headand now flooding his body, it was only an annoyance, aminor irritation. (237)By first presenting the tearing skin of an ankle (brought about here bytight shackles), the comparison creates a glimpse of Bhengu’s other painin the realisation that it is so strong as to reduce the ankle pain to “anannoyance.” Imagining Argentina’s Carlos uses a similar technique of86relativising when he invents a story of torture for the hearing of a spyfrom the regime. While he aims to arouse horror in the listening spy, thetext itself is constructing that horror in its reader:‘There was intense pain as her nipples were crushed. Whenshe did not change her story wires were hooked to her andthen she was jolted from her chair by the charge ofelectricity. The shock made her forget the pain in hernipples. The shock was regularly administered until shewent into convulsions and lost consciousness.’ (94)Here Bhengu’s ankle pain and the woman’s nipple pain are in the arenawhich, in the sphere of the text, is mild pain. It is juxtaposed with thestronger and more all-encompassing whole-body pain. The mild painoverlaps most readers’ situations of reading without physical pain withthe characters’ experiences of intense pain to facilitate and intensify thepossibility for reader empathy.Texts are made of language, of course, while people are made offlesh. In their construction of a reader sympathetic to or empathetic withtortured characters, the torture novels I have been discussing build theirtropes on points of reference between the pain of torture and a sphereoutside of that pain. Where points of reference are elusive, Timmerman87attempts a literal transmission of the bodily effects of torture, alternatingamong first, second and third person narration, but is, he says,unsuccessful.The amount of electricity transmitted by the electrodes .is regulated so that it merely hurts, or burns, or destroys.It’s impossible to shout--you howl . .What does a man feel? The only thing that comes to mindis: They’re ripping apart my flesh. But they didn’t evenleave marks. But I felt as if they were tearing my flesh.And what else? Nothing that I can think of. No othersensation? Not at that moment. But did they beat you?Yes, but it didn’t hurt. (33)At one point, Prisoner Without a Name does tropologically presentthe body’s response to being tied up and periodically hearing a loudmetallic crash: “My body trembled in agitation; sharp points, dazzling intheir dizziness, settled in my brain” (92). The trope creates ideas ofsharpness, brightness and motion simultaneously, constructing a densecombination of tactile and visual effects. It is followed by a metaphorwhich, to express a response to electricity, resembles one of TheHandmaid’s Tale’s metaphors. The Prisoner Without a Name metaphor88tries to underscore the destruction of humanness that torture aims toachieve: “I felt I was becoming a vegetable” (34). Ultimately, however,Timmerman concludes that he “cannot transmit the magnitude of thatpain” (34), so he moves on to the practical task of advising those whowill suffer torture.Reader empathy in these novels is as much for the torturedcharacter’s psychological experience as it is for her/his physical one.Perhaps the aspects of torture which work most to create thepsychological aspect of empathy are not the physical pain’s nature orintensity or the bodily damage sustained by it but its psycho-emotionaleffects. Psychological suffering has a fuller history in the novel thandoes physical suffering, perhaps in part because accounts of physicalpain tend to produce aversion. To avoid aversive responses, responsesof turning away or estrangement, texts present a character’s pain viahis/her psychological and emotional responses to it and thereby elicitempathy with a character’s experience of physical pain. The particularempathy constructed is galvanising, a term and a response appropriate toempathy for suffering characters who, in Imagining Argentina, forexample, are subjected to the application of galvanism as torture.Timmerman seems to rely on the psychological component of empathy89when he writes that the torture victim’s “chief enemy is not the electricshocks, but penetration from the outside world, with all its memories”(85), expressing in homodiegetic internally focalised (autobiographical)narration that the psychological component of torture is worse than thephysical.To render torture’s psycho-emotional results in the individual,writers use tropes which denote disbelief, registering the character’smind’s shock at the paradoxes of torture pain--shock that what seemed acomplete invasion of the body still left the body intact, that what seemedlike eternal present ended. Metaphors present the psychological impactof torture by describing the uncentred, unfamiliar nature of theexperience. They also describe the process of the character’s mind, inresponse to that experience, disassociating itself from the body. Inaddition, the very conventional symbol of freedom, the bird, is used as atextual strategy to construct suffering characters as objects of pity.One particular kind of figure occurs frequently to convey thepsychological and emotional effects of torture, the figure using orimplying the linking verb “seem.” “Like” and “as” need a complement,and so does “seem.” It achieves the comparison of two things, denotingthe paradox of their simultaneous sameness/difference, recognising the90illusory but compelling nature of their unification. The depiction oftorture from the victim’s point of view often conveys this paradoxicaleffect figurally, constructing the concept of what, from inside thevictim’s body, the torture felt like, at times trying to erase the sense thatthe trope is a trope at all. Imagining Argentina’s narrator claims thatAlways in Borges you are conscious of the ‘as if,’ the playfulrelationship between the world of his stories and the one welive in. Well, it struck me that Carfos simply leaped beyondanything Borges gave us, for the ‘as if’ was erasedwhenever he went into his garden, replaced by what all ofus who listened to him had come to believe was the literaltruth of Carlos’ imagination. (110)Imagining Argentina appeals to layers of audiences--Carlos’audience in the garden, the constructed notions of a sympatheticlistener/reader, and a “real” reader. The figure which presents thestudent Octavio’s experience of having live wires applied to his tongue isspoken by another character, Carlos, in a psychic trance, telling Octavio’sstory to the relatives and friends of the Argentinean “disappeared” in thenovel. Carlos addresses that audience while the “as if” structure worksto produce an understanding of Octavio’s response to the torture.91‘The men forced his mouth open and applied the wires to his\tongue . . . This part of the torture was worse than whatthey did to his genitals because it seemed as if they hadreached inside him.’ (59)Here again the description compares one pain to another in order toconstruct understanding (although it might not be easy for a reader todifferentiate between the pain of torture of the tongue and that of tortureof the genitals). The simplicity of “forced” and the bluntness and fastpace of the first sentence in the description mean that the words areread, the concept is understood, quickly, before aversion can occur. Thefigure attempts to present the nature of one physical act--the opening ofOctavio’s mouth and the application of electricity to his tongue--bycomparing it to another physical act--the men reaching inside Octavio’sbody. Yet unless the latter action is in the audience’s experience (andprobably it is not), they likely will not imagine with any depth thestructured concept in the figure. The figure does not convey whatfeeling accompanies the thought that the men had “reached inside”Octavio. Again, the effects but not the experience are described.Octavio’s belief that his physical centre had been reached doesprovide a sense of the completeness of the student’s violation. This92misperception of or disbelief about the body’s physical condition almoststandardises the nature of most characters’ psychological response tophysical torture in these novels. Figurative language, then, modes ofcomparison, describe the discord between mind and body. We see thisin Ariel Dorfman’s torture story “Consultation” which is set during themoments following a torture session. As the immediate physical painrecedes and the tortured character’s mind registers impressions, his mindand body become aware of each other as separate; during this process,the story’s language changes progressively from the literal to the figuralat the same time that the sentences build toward cumulative phrases:When they’ve undone the last knot, you collapse on thefloor in a bundle. You try to stand up, but you have nocontrol over your arms and legs. You remain in thatposition, in a heap, still unable to enjoy the relief of musclesthat no longer have to contract before the next blow, unableto believe that they’ve finally removed you from the bars ofthe horse. You can feel your own breathing against yourface and the beating of your heart, bigger than your wholebody, as it echoes within you, saturating you, running over.(118)93The inability of the mind to grasp the body’s condition is central to thispassage from Dorfman. The translation of an intransitive verb(“breathe”) into a transitive verb plus gerund (“feel . . . breathing”) splitsone subject (“you [breathe]”) into two (“you feel your own breathing”).The addition of “against your face” doubles the objects (“breathing” plus“face”), emphasising the dislocations in the one character. Thedifference between “your heart beats” and the second half of the lastsentence above has a similar effect. The heart becomes subject and thebody (“you”) object. A literal separation between “mind” and body iseclipsed by the assertion of the body’s aliveness, yet while the mind isprocessing the torture and the narrator is conveying a psychologicalreaction, the essence of the victim character’s psychological response isthe inability to accept. The passage’s intensity can describe only theafter-effects of the torture, the disassociation.One dominant feature of the torture pain described in novels, andalso the feature presented tropologically the least, is the pain’spresentness, its undeniability, inescapability. Store Up the Anger’snarrator writes of Bhengu’s experience that “there was only the pain”(236). The idea of absolute presentness is by definition both immediateand extreme and so is most often presented literally.94Harlow’s Felice does, in one instance, employ what is strictlyspeaking a trope to create pain’s presentness, but other devices are morecommon. In Felice: “What was happening now was all that couldhappen” (267). While this is not literal, the act of torture is not, in fact,the only act that could possibly occur, the sentence describes thevictim’s sense that the torture eclipses all other possibilities. Store Upthe Anger creates presentness differently: nearly all facets of the novelemphasise presentness although the writing is literal. The main aspectconveying immediacy is narrative voice, second-by-second homodiegeticnarration during the recounting of the torture.In fact, texts often present extreme pain as beyond trope, outsidea realm of comparison, without a suitable counterpart: Orwell’s Winstonthinks simply that “Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain”(206). And Store Up the Anger presents it as unnameable, as “thisthing” (101) as does Nineteen Eighty-Four (“the thing,” 211).It is not surprising that tropes are not prevalent in the presentationof victim characters’ senses of disorientation, of uncentredness. Tropesdepend on their structuring concepts for the stable point of reference Imentioned earlier, and the psychological state which is the partial focusof the torture novel lacks this base. Prisoner Without a Name faces the95challenge by using an adjective to modify a structuring idea which is anoun, to focus and construct the suffering character’s experience. Oneparticular metaphor which presents the psychological effects of torturecould also serve as a trope for the, as Eco has it, “textual strategy” itself.The trope compares the torture victim in his isolation cell to a “blindarchitect” who constructs the outside world piece by piece from sounds(83). The challenge of crossing sensory media and using auditoryimpressions to envision an environment can be met since the victim, asthe “architect,” has had experience outside his cell. At the same time,the textual strategy itself, the metaphor, is architect of its reader.Some tropes in torture novels focus not only on the presentation ofthe pain but also on the presentation of a partial transcendence of pain.In addition to constructing a victim character’s physical or psychologicaldamage, certain tropes imbue suffering characters with moral superiority.Examples are in the number of bird metaphors found in novels of torture,usually presenting the victim as beautiful and naturally deserving offreedom.The Painted Bird extends bird metaphors into an allegory of theHolocaust:We would take the terrified, thrashing birds from the traps96we had set the day before. Lekh removed them carefully,either speaking soothingly to them or threatening them withdeath. Then he would put them into a large bag slung overhis shoulder, in which they would struggle and stir until theirstrength waned and they calmed down. Every new prisonerpushed down into the bag brought new life, causing the bagto quiver and swing against Lekh’s back. Above our headsthe friends and family of the prisoner would circle, twitteringcurses. Lekh would then . . . hurl insults at them. Whenthe birds persisted, Lekh put the bag down, took out a sling,placed a sharp stone in it, and, aiming it carefully, shot it atthe flock. He never missed; suddenly a motionless birdwould hurtle from the sky. Lekh would not bother to lookfor the corpse. (48)Eventually, in a rage of unsatisfied lust, Lekh takes to painting a“prisoner” bird and loosing it. The bird soars “happy and free”, only tobe killed by its kin. It may be that Kosinski’s allegory works only at animplied “as if” level: ‘Holocaust victims were branded and murdered asfrequently and easily (although not by their own people) as if they werebirds.’ Or we can read Holocaust victims imbued here, metaphorically,97with the qualities of naturalness and freedom. Sympathy for theirphysical plight is achieved by means of the dramatic adjectives, arbitraryactions of Lekh, and slow pace of the narration. Sympathy for the birds’kin is constructed in the second half of the passage by means of thecontrasting verbs used: “circled” shows impatient worry while “hurl,”“shot” and “hurtle” are sudden and violent.Bird figures also punctuate Argueta’s One Day of Life. Speakingapparently unselfconsciously, the narrator Lupe equates her family withbirds:Look what happened to Helio. They won’t give the poorman up, they won’t even say a word about him; at least wecould see Justino’s body, we know he is dead, It’s worse,the anguish for a disappeared person; at least consolationcomes with death. With a disappeared person they kill twobirds with one stone: ail of the living who revolve aroundthe disappeared are chained to anguish. And anguish is aslow form of death. (178)The metaphor in the fourth sentence, although it has become a cliche, issimple and direct in its main parts: birds, killing and stone. Its matter-offact tone is integral to the construction of an awed sympathy.98Earlier, a conceit about two battling birds, in which the smaller,weaker bird is a match for a scavenger, also serves the building of anadmiring sympathy.It is the only brave bird--it even fights hawks. It gets on topof them and rides their backs, and no matter how the hawkflips and turns the kiskadee sticks to it. Fights betweenkiskadees and hawks are beautiful, because the hawk triesto flee and the kiskadee pursues it; they circle in the skyuntil the kiskadee catches up with the hawk and perchesitself on the other’s back. The hawk then says ‘cuerk-cuerk’and the kiskadee sings ‘Cristo fué,’ without dismounting itshorse. (78)Here the narrating Lupe interprets the scene, finding not only hope butbeauty in the spectacle of the weaker bird’s tenacity. Towards the closeof the novel, bird figures become a direct trope: ‘And they leave, likehawks clutching between their claws the little children of the hens. Withtheir claws they haul us, sure of themselves” (199). Sympathy for Lupeis turned here into sympathy for all Salvadorean victims in the novel.Imagining Argentina similarly employs birds to evoke victims. In it,the Argentine military’s secret police and spies drive green Ford Falcons.99They follow, for instance, the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, femalerelatives of the “disappeared.” The presentation of the officials--asalways male and troped here as carnivorous--directs our sympathy totheir female victims who, by the phrase “meat eaters,” are seen asconsumed animals: “the Falcons followed close behind . . . like palegreen vultures, peregrine hawks, meat eaters” (84).Eventually the Falcons become a stock element in the novel’sscheme of symbolism. White remains symbolic of good while greensymbolises evil as Carlos drives into the Pampas, the rural regioncontaining Argentina’s torture centres.He found himself driving on the belt road to the Parana Riverwhere every car verged on becoming a green falcon, everyflower, garden, or green space, or tree, capable ofblossoming into a white carnation. (33)Indeed, white seems by consensus to remain a symbol of themorally positive in our “reality” as well, as we see from the past decade’simages of human rights activists as transmitted through television: thewhite kerchiefed women who have marched in Buenos Aires’ Plaza deMayo carrying posters of their “disappeared” loved ones, the womenwho have offered white flowers to uniformed riot police in Seoul, and the100white-shirted man who stood before a moving tank in the 1 989 conflictin Tiananmen Square. Evoking such images, as Amnesty International,for example, does in its publications, posters and videos, is part of anattempt to reach the popular imagination through metaphor and historicalevent simultaneously. The images are records of actual events at thesame time that they are understood to be representations in archetypalform of a struggle. The government buildings in Argentina are named“Casa Rosada,” and Imagining Argentina names them frequently tounderscore the metaphoric blood on the generals’ hands.Another strategy to create reader sympathy for victim characters isthe presentation of the grief of their loved ones. Their pain is notprimarily physical, but is compared metaphorically to the physical toconstruct reader sympathy with the pain of the victim character. InImagining Argentina, the narrator Martin Benn tells of a waiting couplewho live “as if afflicted by a wasting illness; their home is full of objectsbringing memories, “objects as dangerous as broken glass;” memory“tore scabs off their wounds” (14). Their grief becomes physical,“wasting,” the juxtaposition of “dangerous” and “tore” with “home”creating a sharp contradiction.Much of the effectiveness of a metaphor depends upon the extent101to which it reaches some common body of knowledge/experiencesupposed to exist in its reader. Another approach novels use to aidempathy is analogy. Appealing again to zones of familiarity, torturenovels describe pain coping mechanisms, usually some form ofpsychological removal from the physical scene of pain, analogous to amind/body separation.Some works of fiction describe this process bluntly, as Thornton’s,Eli Wiesel’s and Tadeuz Borowski’s do. Imagining Argentina does so in ametaphor: “He [Ruben] will vanish into the pain” (63); Wiesel’s Night bymeans of synecdoche and metonymy: “Bread, soup--these were mywhole life. I was a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starvedstomach” (50). And Borowski’s “This Way for the Gas” literally: “Oneof the ugliest sights to a man is that of another man sleeping on his tinyportion of the bunk, of the space which he must occupy, because he hasa body” (110).Some novels develop the idea gradually, as Felice does,emphasising the reduction of Felice to her physical self as her physicalpain dominates her and she becomes “only a body” (267). Eventually, asshe is led out of the place where she has been imprisoned and tortured,she is completely dissociated from her body; metaphorically, “in the dark,102walking easily between these silent men, her body disappeared” (279).Only when she has been deposited in a parking lot by the men, free, doesshe begin to reknit herself: “she leaned her cheek on the car’s rooftopand gradually became a body again” (280). Carlos conveys the victim’ssense of being reduced to a body literally--”His [Silvio’s] eyes will beswollen shut for a day or two, his mind clotted with pain” (141 )--andmetaphorically:‘They want him to live in fear, to reduce him to nothingmore than wild eyes and a pulse that rages whenever hehears footsteps in the corridor . . his life has beenreduced to pain and half-light.’ (141)Nineteen Eighty-Four’s Winston, too, suffers this reduction to body and isconscious of it as it occurs:It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fightingagainst an external enemy, but always against one’s ownbody. . . . And it is the same, he perceived, in all seeminglyheroic or tragic situations. On the battlefield, in the torturechamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that you are fightingfor are always forgotten, because the body swells up until itfills the universe, and even when you are not paralysed by103fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-momentstruggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against asour stomach or a screaming tooth. (91)And Waiting for the Barbarians expresses the reduction in a simile:I realize how tiny I have allowed them to make my world,how I daily become more like a beast or a simple machine, achild’s spinning wheel. (84)Felice, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Imagining Argentina and Waiting forthe Barbarians use the phenomenon of mind-body dissociation to presentthe victim’s experience; Coetzee’s narrator indicates also what purposethe process serves the torturing characters:They were not interested in degrees of pain. They wereinterested only in demonstrating to me what it meant to livein a body, as a body, a body which can entertain notions ofjustice only as long as it is whole and well, which very soonforgets them when its head is gripped and a pipe is pusheddown its gullet and pints of salt water are poured into it till itcoughs and retches and flails and voids itself. (115)The distinction the Magistrate describes, between a person’s capacitiesin pain and his/her abilities in comfort, is a common element in the mind104body separation analogies of torture.Ebersohn’s Bhengu seems to realise this; his tension and focus areto protect his body and maintain his silence. He copes throughpsychological withdrawal:that he was naked and they were clothed now onlyemphasised the distance between them. He knew that intheir terms Brown was close to him, no more than two orthree paces away, and yet he had the sensation of a wholeempty space separating them, making it impossible for themto reach him, or touch him in any way. (11)Later Bhengu has an out-of-body experience, observing his own body asseparate from himself and not recognising it (111).Although such an extreme division of the psychological self fromone’s physical reality is not readily accessible to many “real” readers interms of their own experience, the momentary primacy of the physicalduring physical pain is probably a universal sensation relied on by thetexts in their constructions of reader sympathy for an extendedexperience of physical pain. The similarity between plot-time and readingtime in the passage below also create the “psychological realism” of themind’s “escape” to focus on trivial details during moments of crisis:105In the corner of his field of vision Bhengu could see thepoliceman’s head bobbing with each blow, an occasionalspray of sweat gleaming brightly in the white light in theroom. Bhengu was fascinated by the spray of sweat and hefound himself watching for it. He was retreating from thepain into a private place where he could do nothing but waitfor the flash of sweat as it detached itself from thepoliceman’s face. Was it with every sixth blow that ithappened? Or was it every seventh? He would count them.It was important to know. (237)Novels employ other analogies to describe torture--for example,Felice experiences it “as she’d imagined drowning” (266)--but thelikening to a split self is the most common. There develops in the victima hatred of her/his body and the private will it seems to possess. Wieselwrites, “I could feel myself as two entities--my body and me. I hated it”(81). And Store Up the Anger describes Bhengu battling his own body,his own fear:Bhengu hated his fear. The muscles of his stomach werea ball of sinew, bunched hard together, and there was noway that he could ease them. He hated even more that they106might see the fear on his face. (135-6)Descriptions of this bifurcation are almost universally present infictional scenes of torture. It becomes both the victim character’sinstinctive coping strategy and the torturer’s goal, part of the process oftorture, as Scarry points out:Torture inflicts pain that is itself language-destroying, buttorture also mimes . . . this language-destroying capacity inits interrogation, the purpose of which is not to elicit neededinformation but visibly to deconstruct the prisoner’s voice.(19)A feminist reading recognises a structure of domination present also ininterrogations. Jessie Bernard, among others, has suggested thatwomen’s discourse tends to confirm the other’s statements while men’stends to challenge them (381). We can read the torturer’s speech as“male” and the victim’s as “female”: in the interrogation which usuallyaccompanies physical torture, the torturer expects--in fact, forces--thevictim to validate his (the torturer’s) statements while at the same timehe challenges the statements of the victim. An important part of thedominance he asserts is verbal. To Scarry, ultimate domination requiresthat “the prisoner’s ground become increasingly physical and the107torturer’s increasingly verbal, that “the prisoner become a colossal bodywith no voice and the torturer a colossal voice . . . with no body” (57).Metaphor and analogy are central to the construction of sympathyfor victim characters because of the unfamiliar nature of the experience,and, as Scarry notes, “because the existing vocabulary for pain containsonly a small handful of adjectives” (15). However, the method ofbuilding sympathy which is most potentially useful is also the mostpotentially problematic because for the most part tropes require stablepoints of reference, areas of familiar knowledge or experience for anyreader to connect with. The gap between structured and structuringconcept, between character and reader, mirrors the separation betweenbinary oppositions in the texts: tortured/torturer, pain/comfort,powerlessness/power-over, technology/nature, consumer/consumed.There is no fusion, only constant underscoring of the tremendouscomplexities of approaching and shrinking from the dark chamber.108Chapter ThreeStructures and Strategies“Constituted by Another’s Desire”1let’s have chicken for dinner.somewhere else, someone else utters:let’s have john for dinnerwe are alarmed by the latterbut a dinner, too, has its own grammar& we are assured by grammariansboth utterances are in order.--Arthur Yap, “The Grammar of a Dinner.”In each of the novels I examine, torture is structured in terms ofconversion. The torturer, as a representative of a system or state holding1 Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborqs,and Women. New York: Routledge, 1 991.109power, is in the superior position in the torturer-tortured relationship. Hisaim is to convert the torture victim, actually or nominally, to the code ofbehaviour he represents. His project is obvious and stands as the novel’smain antagonistic force. Less obvious, partly because of the sympathywith victim characters which the texts construct, is the victim’s ownpattern of oppositional thinking. This chapter begins with an analysis ofthe structure of conversion presented in the novels, and it concludes withan attempt to draw out some of the implications of “protagonist” and“antagonist” each sharing, at some point, dichotomous thinking.Ironically, this thinking, which I will be defining as patriarchal, shows theprotagonists and antagonists of novels of torture to be not so muchdifferent from but similar to each other, albeit in different positions.The structure of conversion I discern shares similarities with thecycle of objectification, fragmentation and consumption whichecofeminists like Carol Adams suggest links the common oppression ofwomen and animals in our culture:Objectification permits an oppressor to view another beingas an object. The oppressor then violates this being byobject-like treatment. . . . This process allowsfragmentation, or brutal dismemberment, and finally110consumption [in the cases of women, the consumption ofvisual images]. . .. Consumption is the fulfillment ofoppression, the annihilation of will, of separate identity. Sotoo with language: a subject first is viewed, or objectified,through metaphor. Through fragmentation the object issevered from its ontological meaning. Finally, consumed, itexists only through what it represents. The consumption ofthe referent reiterates its annihilation as a subject ofimportance in itself. (47)I am linking animals, women and torture victim characters as sufferingunder the cycle of objectification, fragmentation and consumption.(Although I reject women’s acceptance of and even association with amodel of passivity implied by the victim label, there is a differencebetween accepting and enacting victimhood, and recognising what hasbeen and is a dominant model.) The similarities among cycles ofoppression (of women, of animals, of torture victims and torture victimcharacters) are striking.The cycle of conversion has a uniform structure in five of thenovels I discuss. An outward loss of the tortured character’s individualitycombines with his/her desire for survival to satisfy the torturing111character’s first aim of objectification. Once the victim is reduced to abody, the torturer begins rebuilding what he has destroyed, insertinghimself as protector in the space left vacant by the initial lack of humanecommunication between torturer and tortured. The Painted Bird,Nineteen Eighty-Four, Darkness at Noon, Store Up the Anger and Waitingfor the Barbarians follow this structure of conversion. ImaginingArgentina does not, positing imagination as a way out of the cycle oftorture.The structure is intact, also, in Timmerman’s Prisoner Without aName, Cell Without a Number, strictly speaking a factual, “non-fictional”account. It is not surprising that factual and fictional accounts of torturepresent the same structure; the cycle is part of the discourse of torturewhich has virtually become an absolute, so common that any number oftelevision movies, films and popular novels treating the interrogation of“criminals” feature either a split version of the torturer--the “goodcop/bad cop” or, as Bili Melman calls the terrorist with two personalitiesin fiction, “Homo Duplex” (561)--or a single interrogator who spins fromcruel attacks to paternal protection. The torturer creates a situation inwhich he represents for the victim the limits of both benevolence andmalevolence.112The torture novel makes insistent connections between itself andthe world by using extraliterary forms and devices. The diary, thejournal, the internal monologue and historically factual settings arecommon forms the novels use to present the torture experience. Theseforms are used partly because, as Foley says of the writers of Holocaustliterature, in their effort to convey an experience “to which, they know,their readers’ lives possess no congruent configuration, these testimonialnarrators press against the conventions of the genres in which theywrite” (334). Such forms are also highly personal, individual and self-asserting. Set against one of the torturer’s goals in torture novels--theobliteration of a sense of individuality--are the re-creation andrehumanisation of the self through “personal” forms. If, as Foley pointsout, the pattern in the bulk of Holocaust memoirs is innocence, initiation,endurance, escape, “a kind of negative mirror of the traditionalautobiographical journey toward self-fulfillment” (339), then it might bein a kind of retrieval of autobiographical forms that victims of atrocitiesare presented.They are also presented in the larger framework of thepseudohistorical or political novel; as a result, “documentary evidence”such as in footnotes or attached documents is also a feature of some113torture novels, for example, Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaid’sTale. Diaries or journals are common devices used to distinguish thevictim as individual from the oppressor as representative. Offred,Rubashov and Winston all keep diaries; the Magistrate keeps a journal,while Lupe and Bhengu narrate in places in internally focalisedhomodiegetic narration. The Gileadean regime’s documents, lvanov’snotes, O’Brien’s plans, Colonel JaIl’s log, the “Authorities” directivesand the Security Police files, which are mentioned in passing in thenovels, are not revealed to the reader.Working against the victim characters’ attempts to retainindividuality is the structure of conversion the torturer character imposes.The torture experience in the novels is structured as a “postlapsarian”narrative, the patriarchal pyramidal narrative structure de Lauretiscritiques as “male,” Adams critiques as consuming and Haraway critiquesas dualistic.In the beginning is the act(s) (real or invented by the torturer) or“sin” the victim commits. Conflict between torturing and torturedcharacter follows. The torturer’s aim is to achieve resolution, closure--ifnot information, then the confirmation of his power. Adams suggeststhat this structure of beginning-middle-end is the structure of the114consumption of meaning. She sees it as also present in “the story ofmeat”--the creation, butchering and consumption of animals. Accordingto Adams, meaning is achieved in the ingestion of a final product:Narrative, by definition, moves forward toward resolution.By the time the story is concluded, we have achieved someresolution, . . . and we are given access to the meaning ofthe story as a whole. Often meaning can only beapprehended once the story is complete. . . . Closureaccomplishes the revelation of meaning and reinscribes theidea that meaning is achieved through closure. (92)In the novels, torture, another method of patriarchal oppression, attemptsto achieve its meaning through conversion, thereby justifying the tortureprocess2. A new being is seen (by the torturer character) to emergefrom the torture experience (where the being emerges at all), made overin the image of the torturer, having re-iterated her/his ideas.The first step in the structure of conversion as it is presented inthe novels is the physical conversion of the tortured character fromperson to body--the stripping away of all of the victim’s outward signs of2 See Adams (94) for a parallel argument regarding meat eating.115identity. A state of nakedness achieves this and stresses the separationbetween torturer and victim; the victim character’s nakedness is almostuniversal in the victim characters’ experiences of torture and is frequentlynoted in novels of torture, as, for example, in Store Up the Anger: “Thathe was naked and they were clothed now only emphasised the distancebetween them” (11). In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Thought Police chooseto attack while Winston and Julia are making love: “The feeling ofnakedness, with one’s hands behind one’s head and one’s face and bodyall exposed, was almost unbearable,” Winston thinks (190).The novels present a subsuming of the tortured character into thetorturing character’s ideology while at the same time, as Chapter Fourwill show, focusing on each central victim character’s individuality.Following the structure of conversion, the victim character’s signs ofindividual identity are removed. S/he retains individual ideas, ideologyand idiom, but the signs of these, too, are physically removed:Towards the end, most people behaved in the same way,however different they were in temperament and voice: thescreams became weaker, changed over into whining andchoking. Usually the door would slam soon after. (20)The tone of habitualness is clear in the above passage, especially in “the116end” but also in the use of the habitual “would.” Although the passageis heterodiegetic, focalisation is with Rubashov, indicating here hisawareness of the inevitability of the cycle. In addition, the state ofnakedness during torture, with its attendant discomfort, vulnerability andhumiliation has, of course, a psychological function. It deprives thevictim character of self-determination and invests control over her/him inthe torturing character when the victim’s body acts, as it were, of itsown volition. Waiting for the Barbarians’ Magistrate says, “I bellow againand again, there is nothing I can do to stop it, the noise comes out of abody that knows itself damaged perhaps beyond repair and roars itsfright” (121). The powerlessness the Magistrate describes, hisobjectification of his own body and its bestial roars all are manifestationsof his torturers’ power over him, stages in the process of histransformation.To the torturing character at this point in the structure, the victimcharacter seems outwardly to be a blank page craving communication. Indifferent ways for each victim, non-communication is the worst part oftorture. In Darkness at Noon what is “really bad” is ignorance of whatwill happen to one (47); in Store Un the Anger “there was nothing worsethan having them working on you but asking no questions” (236); and in117Thornton “silence was almost as bad as torture to Cecilia” (178). Eachcharacter begins to need her/his torturer to fill needs the torturer hasproduced in him/her.Presented as more elemental than the psychological desire forcommunication, however, is the desire for physical survival. In ThePainted Bird’s picaresque catalogue of analogies to the Holocaust, rats ina railcar murder one another for a position at the top. Nineteen Eighty-Four’s narrator more directly presents Winston’s desperation in thenarrator’s comment that suicide was less “natural” to Winston than “toexist from moment to moment, accepting another ten minutes’ life evenwith the certainty that there was torture at the end of it” (198).Once the body can be affected despite the will of the victim, thetorturer can inscribe his “truth” on the character. One sees the aptnessof the notion of inscription in Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” with itsliteralisation of the legal “sentence,” the inscription on the body of thecondemned man of the law he has broken. The zealous officer notesthat the sentence is not explained to the prisoner: “There would be nosense in telling him. He experiences it on his own body” (154).At this juncture, with the torturing character beginning his task of“programming” the victim, each novel except Imagining Argentina118develops a bond of adversarial understanding between the torturer andthe tortured. The connection is part of the torturer’s method ofoperation, and it is difficult for the victim to resist, left, as s/he is, withthe torturer as his/her only human contact. The bond also suggests thebinary nature of their relationship. They become not opposites butopposite sides of a process the parameters of which are understood byboth characters. The bond not only suggests the attraction I describe inthe Introduction, it points up the essential similarity of oppressed andoppressor in the novels. It makes clear that victim could be violator,torturer could be tortured. Borowski, in fact, suggests, in “The PeopleWalked On,” that victims can read revenge as justice, wishing that thosewho inflict suffering will suffer also: “for those who have sufferedunjustly, justice alone is not enough. They want the guilty to sufferunjustly too” (70). In political novels that treat torture, the intellectualbond between torturer and tortured seems to be a stock element.Winston and O’Brien, Rubashov and lvanov, Offred and her Commander,Bhengu and Colonel Lategan--each relationship is one of intellectualequality, challenge and mutual attraction.In addition to the bond evident in the relationship of the torturerand his victim is a uniformity in the language and imagery employed by119victims and violators who each objectify the other. Atwood emphasisesthis phenomenon while disrupting it briefly; as long as their relationshipconforms only to the rituals of Gileadean Commander and Handmaid anddevelops no further, Offred is able to objectify her Commander.However, once real human connectedness enters the relationship, it ischanged: “He was no longer a thing to me,” Offred writes. “That wasthe problem . . . . It complicates” (151). Yet in general The Handmaid’sTale still retains the parallel separate worlds of oppressors and oppressed:“Us?’ I say. There is an us then, there’s a we. I knew it” (158) whenshe learns of the Mayday underground formed to resist the regime’scontrol.Harlow’s protagonist victim objectifies one of her tormentors,designating him the “Ostrich” in her mind because of certain details of hisappearance. At the same time, she seems aware philosophically of theproblematic nature of such oppositional differentiations before she istaken by the security police in Poland. She thinks,The kind of revolution Walesa was trying to make mustnecessarily forgive. That was the glory of it. And if it failedto forgive it would not be so much because there was Evil inthe world, but because Evil had been fractured and reduced120to fear of pain, fear of suffering, calamity, tragedy, ruin.Revolutions always believed they were forced to kill, rubout, eliminate, neutralize, waste their enemies and even theirfriends, to preserve their newly-built engines of a victorythat had become a stand-in for Good. (258-9)Aware as she is of the “reductions” of oppositional thought patterns, shenevertheless, during her own violation, and in the absence of a propername for her torturer, terms him “the Ostrich,” a bird usually associatedwith ugliness, stupidity and power.One Day of Life’s narrator Lupe also objectifies, presenting thesecurity forces as non-human, as animals, dogs. A stronger indication ofthe oppressed characters’ yearning for revenge comes in One Day ofLife’s two closing and parallel images. The last visual image of the actionproper is that of Lupe’s husband José’s mutilated body. However, thefinal image of the novel is not his figure but a vision his granddaughterAdolfina has of one of the National Guardsmen lying dead. Although thisvision of hope for revenge is the novel’s last “word,” the novel does offeran alternative to revenge. In one scene Lupe offers water to theGuardsmen, who, unknown to her, have just brutalised her husband. Shedoes this while thinking that “one shouldn’t refuse water to anyone”121(83). Yet we hear earlier of the same authorities giving Lupe’s son-in-lawacid to drink rather than the water he begs for while he is tortured. Thenovel leaves a wide space for interpretation of these scenes; questionsarise as to whether Lupe’s gesture is stupid, passive resistance,capitulation or, possibly magnanimity, a way of breaking the cycle ofinhumanity. The rest of the novel supports the last view, constantlyjuxtaposing Lupe’s family’s and community’s sharing of the little theyhave with the security forces’ protection of landowner’s possessions.Store Ur the Anger’s Bhengu expresses his hatred of hisoppressors directly. At one point, he wishes only to take the torturingpolicemen with him into death. “I see you all so damned clearly” hethinks, “and I hate you more than ever before” (79).We find in The Painted Bird a kind of enactment of the boy’s desirefor revenge. The attitude of Kosinski’s narrator towards his oppressors isnot hatred, and consequently objectification, but reverence in the endwhen he turns into an oppressor himself. After witnessing his loverEwka copulating with a goat, the boy feels he has the key to the balanceof power in the universe:Only those with a sufficiently powerful passion for hatred,greed, revenge, or torture to obtain some objective seemed122to make a good bargain with the powers of Evil. Others .struggled through life alone, without help from either God orthe Devil. (153)He also begins to envy the “success” of the Germans: “1 could barelyimagine the prize earned by the person who managed to inculcate in allblond, blue-eyed people a long-lasting hatred of dark ones” (1 53).How routine the poetically “just” transformation of oppressed intooppressor has become is apparent, as I have pointed out, in films andnovels. A case in point is V. B. Armamento’s Four Days in Hell, in whicha man framed for murder and tortured into confession escapes to torturethe true murderer into confession. This novel, however, seems not tosatisfy a sense of revenge but to write against itself: it repeatedly takesthe position that truth elicited under torture is not truth, that torture isimmoral and unjustifiable, yet closes with the suggestion that torture isacceptable when the torturer is correct in his suspicion that the torturedman is lying.Of all the novels treating torture that I am discussing, perhaps themost consciously aware of the circular structure of torture and the binarynature of the torturer-tortured pair is Waiting for the Barbarians. Thisnovel offers no moment of reciprocated torture; we do not see the123“barbarians” with power, so we cannot easily conclude that they woulduse it as their oppressors do. In fact, the novel ends with the town“waiting for the barbarians,” drawing attention to the very question ofhow the victims would use the power to hurt (Of course, this is a literalreading of the novel’s title and puts aside the obvious irony in thequestion of who the “barbarians” are). The novel focuses, rather, on oneindividual who is at once complicit with torturers and sympathetic tovictims, a plausible stand-in for almost any liberal democratic society.The cycle of conversion in Waiting for the Barbarians works inreverse to the cyclical structures of other novels I have been discussing.Instead of a receiver of pain becoming an inflicter of pain, his Magistrateis, by virtue of his complicity with the regime, part of the oppressingforce become, because of his consorting with the “barbarians,” part ofthe oppressed. The novel can be divided into halves; the woman’simprisonment and torture and the Magistrate’s imprisonment and tortureare the key features of each. The novel uses its two-part structure topresent two perspectives on one relationship. The Magistrate concludes:For I was not, as I liked to think, the indulgent pleasureloving opposite of the cold rigid Colonel. I was the lie thatEmpire tells itself when times are easy, he the truth that124Empire tells when harsh winds blow. Two sides of imperialrule, no more, no less. (135)The sanitary distance at which the Magistrate has held himself fromtorture, at least in his mind, is therefore presented as a human constructin the novel’s final pages, rather than a “real” boundary. Earlier he viewshimself in the world of the “pure,” pointing a fascinated finger at “them”who torture:Looking at him [Colonel JoWl I wonder how he felt the veryfirst time: did he, invited as an apprentice to twist thepincers or turn the screw or whatever it is they do, shuddereven a little to know that at that instant he was trespassinginto the forbidden? I find myself wondering too whether hehas a private ritual of purification, carried out behind closeddoors, to enable him to return and break bread with othermen. Does he wash his hands very carefully, perhaps, orchange all his clothes; or has the Bureau created new menwho can pass without disquiet between the unclean and theclean? (12)Although the Magistrate demonstrates his sense of the “ritual” nature ofthe torture cycle, at this point early in the novel he separates himself1 25completely from the Colonel. Yet by the novel’s close he sees himselfand the Colonel as two sides of the same order.The Magistrate seems to learn, in the end, that Empire is more theenemy than the “enemy” is and that he is as much the enemy as Empire.He resolves to use this wisdom for change, but his project is undefinedwhen the novel closes, and his power (personal and political) is doubtful.Power for the Magistrate has always been associated with sex. Hissexual “drive” is high during his thirty-year tenure as Magistrate, but itplummets whenever he is with the “barbarian” woman because he has nopower over her, no power to reach her and make her respond as hertorturers have done. When the Civil Guard withdraws and the Magistrateonce again “leads” the town, he notes that “now at this mostinappropriate of times my sex begins to reassert itself” (149). TheMagistrate points out himself that “it has nothingto do with desire”(149). He tries anti-aphrodisiacal remedies but admits, “I do all this halfheartedly, aware that I am misinterpreting the signs” (149). The signs,of course, point to the connections among power, dominance, tortureand the “male.”Prisoner Without a Name offers a partial method of breaking thetorture cycle or, at the least, not engaging in the reciprocal relationship I126have been describing it. In it, Timmerman uses the mechanism ofpsychological withdrawal “to avoid lapsing into that other mechanism oftortured solitary prisoners which leads them to establish a bond with theirjailer or torturer” (37). Still, he is aware of the attraction in therelationship:Both parties seem to feel some need of the other: for thetorturer, it is a sense of omnipotence, without which he’dfind it hard perhaps to exercise his profession--the torturerneeds to be needed by the tortured; whereas the manwho’s tortured finds in his torturer a human voice, adialogue for his situation, some partial exercise of his humancondition. (37-38)His advice to those who will suffer torture in the future is to cultivate anattitude of complete passivity; such passivity, he believes, saved hisenergy and left him with all his strength to withstand torture sessions.Yet apart from offering Prisoner Without a Name as “testimony”(viii), Timmerman provides no wide look at the structure of torture;indeed, he records surprise at others’ preoccupation with it. “Torture,”he writes, “occupies a very limited place in the life of the torturedperson, and when he’s newly freed and able to speak openly . . . he’s127astonished at the importance mankind attaches to the subject” (39). YetTimmerman, Coetzee, Orwell, Atwood, Koestler, Ebersohn, Armamentoand Argueta have agreed that torture is repugnant, and their novels seemto write against it. But how do these works treat the paradox Koestler’sRubashov expresses:How can one change the world if one identifiesoneself with everybody?How else can one change it? (25)To read the tortures in these novels as a system is not difficult. Infact, an analysis of the structures of novelistic presentations of torturedemonstrates how fixed the structure is across novels. In each novelthere are direct or indirect signs pointing to torture as a hermetic, closedsystem like that of Procrustes. Timmerman points out how true this is oftorture in the “real” world also. “Any totalitarian interrogator . . . has adefinite conception of the world he inhabits and of reality” writesTimmerman, “[a]nd any fact that fails to conform to this conception issuitably distorted in order to fit into the scheme” (72). Novels of tortureconform, in fact, to the requirements of the classical tragic genre (whichitself might be considered hermetic): exposition, complication, crisis,climax, catastrophe.128Comments on the structure of torture as a system contribute toour understanding of torture in the world (see Melamed et al 49), but itseems to me that a more encompassing theory, one which considers art,is needed in order to understand the role of the text as perpetuator of thesystem’s meaning. Scarry approaches this task when she notes that aprisoner’s pain is “read as power” (45), that the physical pain “is soincontestably real that it seems to confer its quality of ‘incontestablereality’ on that power that has brought it into being” (27). “Read as” and“seems to confer” are important expressions here. In order tounderstand how readers read torture in fiction, I will next consider theplot structures of the five novels under discussion and, in Chapter Four,narrative voice and focalisation.In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston is the character whose fortuneswe follow, his the viewpoint from which we survey events. From themoment we meet him in the novel’s second sentence, he is vulnerable,oppressed, a victim: “Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast inan effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doorsof Victory Mansions” (7). “Nuzzled” is, of course, both an affectionateand an animal action. He is also endowed with a wound, “a varicoseulcer above his right ankle” (7). The reader’s sympathy for Winston is129already being constructed. The commonplace “Smith” denotes not onlyWinston’s class but his status as “every(English)man;” if the tenderconnotations of “nuzzled” and “breast” fail to arouse sympathy for thehero, the narrator’s bias at least is clear as he3 introduces the symbolicantagonist, the “vile” wind. When we meet Winston’s tangibleantagonist, physical features once again act simply as signs of moralworth; O’Brien is “a large, burly man with a thick neck and a coarse,humorous, brutal face” (14).Even in Koestler, where Rubashov and lvanov share moresimilarities than they have differences, Gletkin is introduced asRubashov’s “antagonist.” This creates meaning in a more polar,oppositional, form than might have been the case if Rubashov and lvanovhad remained the novel’s principal protagonist-antagonist pair. Thepresentation of Gletkin as an automaton, without a connection toreaders, constructs in the reader a rejection of Gletkin’s frank love ofpower and his consequent belief in the imposition of order. After a longnight’s work, Gletkin retains faultless posture and flawless uniform. HeI use the male pronoun to designate the narrator not because both the authorand the central character of the novel are male, but because focalisation is frequentlyclose to Winston in the novel.130is the subject of a hero-myth that during the Civil War he withstood theburning of his shaven head rather than provide information to the enemy.This presentation of him as superhuman further constructs alienation in areader, especially since the passage is placed after sympathy with hisprisoner Rubashov is built.Readers might choose between Ivanov’s belief in the logical basisfor the imposition of order, the greatest good for the greatest number,and Rubashov’s questioning of whether an individual should ever besacrificed for the good of the majority--the individual or the collective.They might if it were not that we do not meet lvanov until a third of theway into the novel. By that point, sympathy for Rubashov has beenestablished. The pages preceding Rubashov’s first interrogation bylvanov focus on his toothache. At one point he is “tired” and “dizzy” Afew pages later he is “even worse,” “shivering,” his tooth aches, histhroat itches, he has “desperate thirst” for a cigarette, memories “hurt”him. Further on he feels “frozen;” later still, night-time, he is “evenworse.” His tooth “throbs;” “he had the sensation that all theassociation centres of his brain were sore and inflamed.” He is broughtto the doctor after a temporary recovery.‘There it is!’ said the doctor. ‘The rest of the right eye-131tooth is broken off and has remained in the jaw.’Rubashov breathed deeply several times. The pain wasthrobbing from his jaw to his eye and right to the back of hishead. He felt each pulsation of the blood singly, at regularintervals. The doctor had sat down again and spread out hisnewspaper. ‘If you like I can extract the root for you,’ hesaid and took a mouthful of bread and dripping. ‘We have,of course, no anaesthetics here. The operation takesanything from half an hour to an hour.’ (67)The contrasts between the slow beating of Rubashov’s pain and thedoctor’s nonchalance, sopping up fat as he delivers excruciating news,serve very clearly to direct sympathy to the suffering Rubashov.The next pages describe Rubashov’s and Ivanov’s first hearing.Despite lvanov’s “agreeably masculine voice” (68), “benevolence” (70),politeness, “amiable” (76) “nearly tender” (77) smile, even his“tormented look” (79), the text keeps the reader aware that lvanov’sseeming patience and comfort come from physical security whileRubashov suffers tooth pain during the interview. Enough details havebeen provided regarding Rubashov’s discomfort that lvanov’s comfort inthe face of it appears unsavoury.132The Handmaid’s Tale also provides traditional signs to denote“evil.” Offred regularly refers to the Party as “they,” underscoring a lackof individuality in her oppressors. When she does discuss an individual ofthe “enemy,” physical and verbal signs denote his moral worth. Her firstclear indication of the revolution in Gilead occurs one day at a cornerstore. Instead of the usual woman, a young man carbuncular is behindthe counter. His first word she considers “aggressive,” his mannerinsolent, his complexion bad:She sick? I said as I handed him my card.Who? he said, aggressively I thought.The woman who’s usually here, I said.How would I know, he said . . . . I drummed my fingerson the counter, impatient for a cigarette, wondering ifanyone had ever told him something could be done aboutthose pimples on his neck. (164)Here Atwood’s narrator shows herself to be as quickly judgmental as areher oppressors. The text presents a clear victim-oppressor model byfocusing so meticulously on the man’s physical ugliness.Waiting for the Barbarians, too, clearly indicates the perniciousnessof the torturer, Colonel Joll, compared with the innocence of the woman133he has tortured. The Magistrate is, of course, a limited and unreliablenarrator, but his way of seeing trains the reader to a large degree. Sincethe novel’s action focuses on him almost exclusively, readers have fewopportunities to read Joll and the woman other than as the Magistratereads them. The Colonel wears the dark opaque glasses associated withanonymous institutional power; he is faceless, non-human, non-acknowledging, another kind of puzzle for the Magistrate, until his menflee in withdrawal from the frontier border town they have occupied. Atthis point the Magistrate sees him without his glasses, individual, weakand vulnerable. The nameless woman, on the other hand, is almost blindbut wears no sign; in contrast to the Colonel, able to see but hiding hiseyes, she is unable to see but displays hers. The contrasts ofcovering/uncovering are signs the texts offer to train the reader’sperception of the moral worth of its characters.Dichotomous presentations are not, of course, the only strategiesnovelists use to construct sympathy in their readers. In addition tolanguage, imagery and characterisation which present a dichotomousworld view, Store Up the Anger is structured to stress the moment(about an hour) of physical torture, to emphasise the victim’s deepestviolation and most immediate pain. The novel begins minutes after134Bhengu has been given “the sandbag” treatment (methodical, prolongedbeating on his head) by officer van Rooyen. The novel ends, afterfollowing a structure of temporal flashbacks and flashforwards, by takingthe reader up to and through the torture. Rather than censor the torture,the narrative’s delayed revelation of it stresses the process, building andheightening both expectation and dread.Of course, the systems and their henchmen described in Coetzee,Atwood, Koestler and Orwell have been presented as nasty. Thenarratives I have been considering do not present this quality in thecharacters’ dialogue and action alone. They point it up in a number ofother ways, intensifying both negative and positive and separating themfrom one another. Imagining Argentina’s narrator, for example, calls thegovernment’s cars “green beetles,” “preying things” (20). Like thetropes which structure empathy, narrative structure not only mirrors thestructure of torture but accepts it as a paradigm, fixed in the tensionbetween revealing and condemning the practice of torture.135Chapter FourNarrative Voice and FocalisationIn other words, the torturer’s violent intervention on thebody of the victim could disclose the torturer as the origin ofa “truth” whose authenticity, the rhetorical structure ofinterrogation would insist, lies in its independence from andinitial inaccessibility to him.--Elizabeth Hanson, “Torture and Truth in Renaissance England,” 55.The final strategies I will discuss that contribute to the building ofreader sympathy are the construction of narrator, the one who relates,and the construction of focaliser, the one who perceives. As I pointed136out in the Introduction, the narrating agent constructs credibility andsympathy, important responses to novels which attempt to present anexperience which, to most readers, is almost unbelievable, inexpressible.Following Bal’s mode!, narration might be homodiegetic, primary--inwhich the narrator is also a character in or mentioned in the story--orheterodiegetic, secondary--where the narrator is absent as a character inthe story. Only two of the narratives of torture I examine areheterodiegetic; their narrators act as witnesses, confirmers of the victimcharacter’s experience. They present their construction of the victimcharacter as “objective” in that they, the narrators, do not participate inthe painful physical experience at the centre of the text. NineteenEighty-Four and Store Up the Anger are heterodiegetic, and bothconstruct focalisation to build reader sympathy.Generally, however, fictional narratives of torture are presented inprimary, homodiegetic, narration. The narrating voice belongs either tothe tortured character (in the second half of Waiting For the Barbariansand in occasional sections of Store Up the Anger), or to a character whois emotionally attached to the tortured character (in One Day of Life,Imagining Argentina, and the first half of Waiting for the Barbarians).Sustained homodiegetic narration by the victim character him/herself is137rare in narratives of torture. Homodiegesis, in the novels I discuss,attempts to achieve a more direct transmission from the narrative level ofcharacters and action to the reader. It therefore works more immediatelyto construct reader sympathy with certain characters. All of the novels Idiscuss employ it at least occasionally, in some cases in excerpts fromthe tortured character’s diary or in internally focalised homodiegeticnarration.Focalisation shifts more often than narrative voice does in thenovels, structuring the victim character for the reader, presenting thatcharacter from the points of view of different perceiving consciousnessesbut consistently associating her or him with body and emotion. Whilenot all narratives are focalised (narrating and perceiving consciousnessmight be one and the same), all of the narratives I examine are. Whetherfocalisation is internal or external (giving us distinctions betweensympathy and empathy), it is brought close to the victim character toconstruct reader sympathy for her/him. Focalisation is usually single inthe narratives to maintain that sympathy. Along with tropes especially,focalisation contributes to the construction of symbolically gendered rolesat the various levels of agency in the narratives. Focalisers are usually“male” while the victim is presented as “female” in terms of de Lauretis’s138reader roles; this presentation structures the narratives as symbolicstories of desire and consumption. The reader, as I have said, regardlessof his/her gender, has available the choices to read as spectator, aspowerful, “male,” consumer, voyeur; or to read in sympathy with thevictim as powerless, “female,” consumed, animal.This structuring of character can be seen, for example, in NineteenEighty-Four. Just six paragraphs into the novel, heterodiegetic externallyfocalised narration shifts from “he” to “you” to include Winston’s internalimpressions with the phrases “as he well knew” and “he thought with asort of vague distaste” (8). In the second chapter, while the narrationremains heterodiegetic, focalisation moves from external to internal,dropping the narrator’s “he thought” comments, constructing theimpression that the reader is inside Winston’s consciousness: “He wasalone. The past was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certaintyhad he that a single human creature now living was on his side?” (27). Atranslation into first-person dialogue--”l am alone. The past is dead, thefuture is unimaginable. What certainty have I that a single creature nowliving is on my side?”--changes only the verb tense and pronoun person inthe passage.At the moment of Winston’s arrest at the close of Part Two of the139novel, focalisation becomes fully internal, nudging the reader to followWinston in sympathy as he faces the truncheon-bearing men in black:Winston was not trembling any longer. Even his eyes hebarely moved. One thing alone mattered; to keep still, tokeep still and not give them an excuse to hit you! . . . Thefeeling of nakedness, with one’s hands behind one’s headand one’s face and body all exposed, was almostunbearable. (190)Primary narration uses “first-person” pronouns, but secondary narrationcannot, unless a narrator speaks as narrator. The above passage movesfrom “his” to “you” to “one,” ranging among the pronoun choicesavailable to the narrator, to bring the reader as close to Winston’sexperience as possible. Part Three of the novel can then open etically,with the pronoun “he,” assuming our familiarity and sympathy,continuing with internal focalisation: “[hie did not know where he was.Presumably he was in the Ministry of Love, but there was no way ofmaking certain” (195).The first three chapters of Part Three present Winston’simprisonment and torture in the Ministry of Love. There the novelconstructs the reader’s sympathy for Winston by using narrative and140tropological strategies to structure Winston as animal. Early on,descriptive details build our sympathy. Winston is completely trapped ina cell with no comfort, no possibility of escape and no privacy. Hisstomach is “aching” with a “gnawing” hunger; he is “yelled at” by thetelescreen; the place is “noisy, evil-smelling” (1 95). He is moved toanother cell, “filthily dirty,” “crowded” with “dirty bodies” (196). Thepain in his stomach continues. Finally a huge woman lands on him andvomits. He has time to anticipate the tortures he will undergo, “thesmash of truncheons on his elbows and iron-shod boots on his shins,”while he screams through broken teeth (197-98).Throughout the first chapter of Part Three, horror is built in thereader as “Room 101” is mentioned nine times before Winston is takenthere. Each mention is designed to build reader curiosity, constructingboth sympathy and dread as the text reveals prisoners’ responses to thewords. All of the reader’s senses are appealed to as Winston hears thewhispered words and the begging, sees prisoners’ skin change colour,smells the stench and experiences the “evil taste” in his mouth (205).Caged and helpless, Winston is now presented as an animal, with“entrails” that contract at the sound of boots (200). Another prisoner istroped as a large “rodent” ((202), later howling “like an animal” (205) as141he is dragged away. Winston, during his interrogation, writhes on thefloor “as shameless as an animal” (207). Eventually he is reducedsynecdochically to “a mouth that uttered, a hand that signed” (209),stinking, as O’Brien tells him, “like a goat” (234), seeing himself finally ina mirror as a “thing,” a “creature” (233).The interrogation parodies a stay in the hospital, the torturerO’Brien’s goal clearly to purify the tortured character, Winston, to makehim “sane” (214). O’Brien tells Winston “we do not merely destroy ourenemies, we change them” (218), calling Winston “a flaw in thepattern. . . a stain that must be wiped out”(219). Focalisation remainswith him or close to him, training the reader’s gaze on him as a helplessvictim, building reader sympathy for him as he is seen as, and seeshimself as, a dirty animal, a metaphor all the more powerful for itscontrast with the humanist Winston of Parts One and Two of the novel.In One Day of Life, narration is homodiegetic, but the principalnarrating character herself is not tortured. Rather, the diegesisconstructs “confirmation” of, curiosity about and sympathy for thevictim’s experience by presenting the minute-to-minute pain of thenarrator who is a relative of the many victims in the novel. The firstsection heading, “5:30 A.M.,” functions as an etic heading with the142assumption of the reader’s knowledge of context, constructing thereader’s participation in and closeness to the action. The colloquialexpressions, the contraction and the etic “I” of the first sentence of thenovel set an informal tone, build the reader’s closeness to the narratingcharacter: “Not a God-given day goes by when I’m not up by five” (3).Focalisation is consistently single and internal in Lupe’s (readers knowher by her familiar name, rarely reading the more formal “Guadalupe”)narrative sections, causing the reader’s sympathy with her and, throughher, with the tortured characters she herself is sympathetic to: her son,son-in-law, and husband.Very early in One Day of Life, the narrator’s simple pleasures arepresented; her intense focus on time, on individual seconds, raisesreader curiosity regarding why she is so concerned with presentmoments. The first mention of her husband names the man, “José,” notthe relationship, again assuming the reader’s closeness with herconsciousness, the reader’s understanding. Lupe mentions “the dead”and “cemeteries” matter-of-factly: “The clarinero glows. They say itbehaves like the dead because it spends so much time near cemeteries”(4). Her acceptance reinforces the reader’s curiosity about theprominence of cemeteries. When she mentions the torture and killing of143her son--”After what happened to my son Justino”--the relative pronoun“what” has no antecedent, leaving the verb “happened” without asubject. The fact that the antecedent is assumed keeps focalisationclose to Lupe, at the same time increasing readers’ sympathy. As thereader is drawn into sympathy and concern for Lupe, the text focuses onher gender, trains the reader to view her as a woman: “from behind thecupboard I looked at my breasts, which stuck out like the beaks ofclarineros” (5). Our gaze is trained on and our sympathy is with Lupe aswe watch the narrator watching herself as both female and associatedwith death; she compares her breasts to the beaks of the bird which,she has said, spends its time near cemeteries.Lupe’s diet is primarily vegetarian, partly because of her poverty;corn and beans are mentioned frequently as she proceeds with domesticduties. In fact, her priest advises her not to give her children milk ormeat (21). She is not, then, constructed as a consumer of others, whilethe “Authorities” are. At almost its exact centre, the novel approaches,if not the dark chamber, at least the minds of the torturers in One Day ofLife. This middle section of narration, the first of two to break thematricentric line of narrators--Guadalupe-Maria Pia-Adolfina--is striking inits focus on meat. (Later, Lupe tropes the authorities versus the people in144consumer-consumed terms: “The hawk that eats chicken comes back formore” [1791). Not surprisingly, the narrating guard also focuses on malepotency and power. The torturers-in-training “eat meat every day” (91).They are treated like “kings” and “gods” (91). In terms showing thesymbolic roles of torturer and victim, the guard calls torture being“fucked over” (93). Earlier a priest is sodomised with a stick, thelanguage used by the guards again emphasising his feminisation as he is“fucked.” The phrase “sons of bitches” is “one of the norms ofdiscipline” (97) used by a trainer who is “here to make men out of [thetorturers-in-training]” (98).We read the Special Forces narrator’s section while, in plot time,members of the Special Forces wait at Lupe’s house. In separatesections of the novel, both Lupe’s and the guards’ stories are told, butnarrative strategies cause reader sympathy to go to Lupe. While hernarration is internally focalised homodiegetic narration, the guard’s isdialogue--externally focalised, half of a conversation. It is, in effect, amonologue, but he is speaking to another man. Focalisation keepsreaders outside his mind while in all of the narratives by women,focalisation shifts to mix a character’s internal thoughts with thecharacter-narrator’s relating of a scene. In addition, the guard’s section145of narration is enclosed by Lupe’s; she has fore- and afterword,effectively placing his discourse in brackets by framing it. Thisundercutting can be seen in a diagram of the narrative structure of thenovel. The sections of the novel are as follows (italics are mine):Lupe 5:30[Lupe] 5:45[Lupe] 6:00[Lupe] 6:10Maria RomeliaLupe 6:30[Lupel 7:00Maria PiaAdolfina[Lupe] 9:30 a.m.The AuthoritiesLupe 10 a.m.Maria Romelia[Lupel 10:30 a.m.Adolfina[Lupe] 11:30 a.m.Them[Lupe] 11:45 a.m.[Lupe] 11:50 a.m.Adolfina Converses in the Cathedral[Lupe] 12 NOON[Lupel 12:10 p.m.[Lupe] 1 p.m.[Lupel 1:30 p.m.[Lupe] 2 p.m.[Lupel 2:30 p.m.[Lupe] 3 p.m.[Lupe] 4 p.m.[Lupel 5 p.m.146Ten sections of narrative precede the authorities’ first section of primarynarration and twelve sections follow their second, framing theauthorities’ perspective by the narration of the narrating female relativesof tortured characters.Although only men in the novel are tortured physically, the novel isfocused by and through women. The psychological torture of theirwaiting and grief is a route to and a structuring concept for the physicaltorture of the men. At the same time, it has its own significance. “Wewomen are going to get sick from so much anxiety. That’s the worstpart of it,” Lupe says, “the torture they put us through” (153-54). Ofcourse the men are targeted because they have potential power, yet OneDay of Life presents torture only as it is seen by the women in the novel.Store Ur the Anger brings the reader much closer to the torturedcharacter himself than One Day of Life does. I will focus again on theopening of the novel because the text must first draw readers in before itcan manipulate sympathy. The narration is heterodiegetic, constructingcredibility and confirmation. Also, narration by a narrator who is not acharacter participating in the action in the novel holds the reader at sucha distance from the tortured character Bhengu that he can be objectified.Sustained homodiegesis by a victim character seems to be particularly147rare. The opening paragraph of Store U the Anger reads,Sam Bhengu knew that he was dying. Ever since the painhad stopped he had known it. But the reality was not uponhim. They had killed him and now it was only a matter ofwaiting, but in his mind it was no more than a vague almosttheoretical realisation. (7)Consider that paragraph presented homodiegetically (in present tense):I know that I am dying. Ever since the pain stopped I haveknown it. But the reality is not upon me. They have killedme and it is now only a matter of waiting, but in my mind itis no more than a vague theoretical realisation.The obvious difference in the second version is that the hypotheticalhomodiegetic narrator would not be able to comment on the disparitybetween “reality” and “vague” realisations. Why the heterodiegeticnarrator needs this separation becomes clear as the novel continues,revealing unexplained references to “the night’s struggle,” “the way hehad seen [the policeman’s] face a few hours before,” and “what hadhappened” (7). These references might be frustratingly coy from ahomodiegetic narrator, but in secondary narration they position the readeras voyeur, the narrative circling around an unreproducible experience.148Only at the novel’s close are there brief homodiegetic passages duringthe torture itself, taking the reader as close as possible to the torturedcharacter’s experience.We also see in this opening, of course, the construction of thereader’s sympathy for Bhengu. Internal focalisation is established withthe first verb of the noveL1 The reader is positioned almost completelyinside Bhengu’s mind. The fact of the character’s knowledge that he isdying serves to construct sympathy in the reader from the first sentence,and the information that he has been in pain intensifies the reader’sresponse to his suffering. The knowledge that he has been murdered isdesigned to increase reader sympathy, of course, the etic “they”assuming the opposition role. Three short paragraphs later, that responseis reinforced as the information that he is shackled is given. Soon agrowing list of questions (who has killed Bhengu, why is Officer Fourienot able to concentrate, what struggle has taken place, where isBhengu), setting the reader up as voyeur, is added to and emphasised byBhengu’s own questions (“How long had it been, he wondered” [71),There are brief moments of focalisation with the most sympathetic juniorsecurity policeman and one instance of double internal focalisation (p. 21 6) stressingthe bond between the torturer and the tortured character.149bringing reader and character together in curiosity.Indeed, focalisation is kept strictly with Bhengu as his sensoryimpressions, rather than the narrator’s description, convey action:“Bhengu felt a playful slap against his naked thigh” (10), rather than“Brown playfully slapped . . . .“ Yet gradually Bhengu fades as a subjectas he “hear[sJ his own voice” (35). Verbs conventionally nonreflexive areused reflexively as Bhengu is removed as the agent of his own actions:“He found himself looking” (36); “Bhengu felt his legs moving. He waswalking” (38). Finally his fear attains agency:Sam Bhengu watched the policemen coming . . . towardshim. Bhengu’s bladder contracted violently and . . . he feltthe warm flood of urine between his thighs and over histesticles. . . . it was fear that squeezed the pee out of him.(61)In general, actions are expressed actively before the torture is done toBhengu while after the torture he is grammatically and physically passive;actions are received by him. The reader’s sympathy increasesprogressively as Bhengu’s victimisation is constructed.Combined with narrative strategies in this passage are simile,metonymy and description, that underline Bhengu’s pain, fear and150confusion. The sand bag looks like a child’s toy; the policeman “was thebag and the bag was the policeman” (8); Bhengu’s penis “retain[s] nointerest in life” (8). The time of the narrative also indicates its intensefocus on the scenes it portrays; in Genette’s terms, the time of readingequals three to six hours, the time of the plot in the diegesis is aboutthree days, while the diegesis itself spans approximately thirty years.Using the slower reading time of six hours to produce a ratio, the relationbetween reading time and plot-in-diegesis time is 1:1 2; it takes a readerapproximately half a minute to read of what the character in the plot-indiegesis experiences in five “minutes.” The focus on Bhengu’sexperience is slow and painstaking.Store Up the Anger also presents Bhengu as symbolically female,with nipples “like those of a woman” (11) and feeling himselfemasculated with “not the slightest stirring in his genitals” in response toerotic fantasy (12). Eventually “his penis, limp and redundant, haddisappeared between his legs so that only the little bush of pubic hairwas visible beyond his sagging belly” (81). The novel also includesdetails about the officers’ interest in pornography to underscore theirpositions as voyeurs, consumers of images of powerlessness, developingover several paragraphs one particular image of a girl on “all fours” and151the torturing policeman’s fascination with it.Of course the girl in the image is a trope, a way of reading thepolicemen who are so inscrutable. Focalisation in the novel not onlystructures and maintains the reader’s sympathy with Bhengu, it alsoprecludes any understanding of the officers. Coetzee writesHow is the writer to represent the torturer? If he intends toavoid the cliches of spy fiction, to make the torturer neithera figure of satanic evil, nor an actor in a black comedy, nor afaceless functionary, nor a tragically divided man doing a jobhe does not believe in, what openings are left? (“Into theDark Chamber” 364).His response in Waiting for the Barbarians, and Ebersohn’s in Store Upthe Anger, is to focus on the difficulty of representing torturers byfocusing on the dark glasses the policemen wear. In Store Up the Anger,Engelbrecht’s glasses “hid[el his eyes and everything behind them” (15).Waiting for the Barbarians begins with the glasses as its openingimage, introducing the problem of the representation of the torturer fromthe start of the novel.I have never seen anything like it: two little discs of glasssuspended in front of his eyes in loops of wire. Is he blind?1 52I could understand it if he wanted to hide blind eyes. But heis not blind. The discs are dark, they look opaque from theoutside, but he can see through them. (1)Of course Coetzee’s Magistrate, a trope here for the writer, has neverseen anything like this torturer; the Magistrate is, like the novelistCoetzee writes of in “Into the Dark Chamber,” standing “before a closeddoor,” so he “creates, in place of the scene he is forbidden to see, arepresentation of that scene, and a story of the actors in it” (364). Theproblem of representing torture is the subject of Waiting for theBarbarians. Because of his shifting roles in the novel, the Magistrate, inhis role as a tortured character, stands in for the writer. At the sametime, as he tries to understand the tortured woman’s experience, he, likeKafka’s “traveller,” is a trope for the reader. The novel painstakinglyconstructs our sympathy for him, holds us in his view of the victimcharacters.To do so, this novel is homodiegetic, with consistently internalfocalisation. The first-person present-tense etic opening of the noveldraws reader sympathy to the narrator immediately. The reader is heldwithin his consciousness from the first, while Colonel J011 speaksimpersonally of “one,” “everyone at home,” and always in collective1 53terms, setting himself up as spokesperson of a group (1). Their firstconversation is of braggery and hunting prowess. Joll stresses the sizeand number of animals he has killed, “mountains of carcases . . . left torot” (1). The Magistrate hunts also, yet he follows the more ecologicallysound methods of the natives. The narrator brackets Joll’s conventionalexpression of regret for the wasted animal lives “(‘Which was a pity’)”(1), underscoring how incidental and unheartfelt his regret is. The firstsubsection of the novel, under seven hundred words long, sets up thecentral opposition of the novel: the mysterious, boastful, impersonal andcallous Joll contrasted with the seemingly more open, modest, personaland gentle Magistrate.Yet the next subsection presents the first tortures in the novel andpresents the Magistrate’s complicity with the torturing regime and itsrepresentative, Joll. The Magistrate is irritated, he says, but he tries torepress the response (4), aware that torture is taking place: “At everymoment . . . as I go about my business I am aware of what might behappening” (5). As the Magistrate proceeds to justify his “blind eye,” thenovel’s presentation of him offers the reading of him as frankly selfaware and honest as he examines his own moral struggle and declareshis dislike of Joll. This can cause the reader to tend to excuse him, to154join in the complicity. After Joll’s explanation of the formulaic structureof torture, the Magistrate reemphasises his complicity--”I drink with him,I eat with him” (5). By means of primary narration, single, internalfocalisation and a seemingly honest and reliable narrator who is angry atthe Colonel’s actions but bound by law to serve him, the reader is set insympathy with him. His is both the perceiving and the narratingconsciousness in the novel.To further lull the reader into sympathy, to help excuse what mightbe reader fascination with torture, the narrator of Waiting for theBarbarians makes verbs reflexive, distancing himself from the agency ofhis own actions. “I find myself wondering,” he writes (13), suggestingthat he is fascinated by the torture against his will. This grammaticalstrategy allows the reader to join in the fascination, excused becauses/he is reassured by the use of the reflexive verb that the Magistrate, andthe reader, is not truly interested in the torture. The Magistrate’sfrequent parenthetical observations on and judgments of his ownbehaviour serve also to both create reader trust in his self-awareness andinhibit the reader’s judgments of his actions. Waiting for the Barbarians’skilful construction of the Magistrate as deserving of sympathy allowsthe “burden” (14) of torture in the novel to become not the suffering of155the victim characters but the Magistrate’s problem of conscience. Evenafter the novel presents the Magistrate’s assistance (the provision of“excellent maps”--l 2) in the campaign against the natives, the readermust be lulled by his apparent resistance, righteousness and indignation;he protests abundantly, strongly and frequently, but always in internallyfocalised homodiegetic narration.Once a cautious sympathy is built by the text, the Magistrate istroped as female in relation to Joll, existing in a symbolic marriage: “Icannot pretend to be any better than a mother comforting a childbetween his father’s spells of wrath” (7). The Magistrate continues toposition himself in the female position in the trope of the family abusetriangle, maintaining his role as peacekeeper, identifying neither with thetorturer nor with the tortured: “One should never disparage officers infront of men, fathers in front of children” (17). Joll here, and throughoutthe novel, is associated with all that is destructively powerful. As thesoldiers set off on their campaign, Joll fills them with meat, the symbolicingestion of “male” potency and power.If hunting is, according to vegetarian ecofeminist theory,associated with colonialism, both are cycles of consumption. Once theMagistrate has decided to ignore the tortures Joll is committing (“I spend1 56my time in my old recreations” [381), his interest in hunting revives.Briefly we see him at one with Empire as he trains the sight of his gun ona waterbuck; ‘Tevidently it is not important to [the Magistrate] that theram die” (39). Yet the man of conscience cannot continue the ritual, aswe see in the novel’s second half. The Magistrate himself notes theallegorical reading of the waterbuck scene, that “events are notthemselves but stand for other things” (40). Later he uses the metaphoragain to describe his inability to discover (“penetrate”) the woman’ssecret: “I hunt back and forth seeking entry. Is this how her torturersfelt hunting their secret?” (43). He sees the woman at times as adeformed clawless cat, a body (56). While the metaphor of theMagistrate as hunter might not in itself change the reader’s establishedsympathy with him, the image of the woman as a cat both injured(“deformed”) and defenceless (“clawless”) certainly constructs sympathyfor her. The passage clearly presents the two possible roles the readercan adopt: to read as powerful hunter-spectator or to read in sympathywith the powerless victim who is the story’s focus.The closest the reader is able to come to the woman’s experienceis always through the Magistrate’s reading of her, speaking for her:“When she looks at me I am a blur, a voice, a smell, a centre of energy1 57that one day falls asleep washing her feet and the next feeds her beanstew and the next day--she doesn’t know” (29). Her female bodyrepresents for him the question of approaching torture. In his own ritualof purification he washes and massages her but feels “no desire to enterthis stocky little body” (30), the dark chamber. Like her vision, thecentre is a blur; only the periphery is visible. He cannot enter herexperience, viewing her with his hunter’s eye as a victim, a “wild animal”(34).At this point in the novel, the Magistrate is, as he says, alienatedfrom his own desires (45, 56). But as he recognises his complicity,preparing to rebel, he reconnects with his desire and is, in the visit to thenatives, able to make love with the native woman. As he seeks hisfreedom from the code of the Third Bureau, as he temporarily disruptsthe system of metaphors he has lived by, metaphors linking desire, powerand hunting, sex with the woman is no longer a trope for torture.Rather, sex is troped as writing here, presented as following a similarstructure: “It seems appropriate that a man who does not know what todo with a woman in his bed should not know what to write” (58). Sex inWaiting for the Barbarians, always a structured metaphor, hereexchanges its structured concept of torture for the structured concept of1 58writing as the Magistrate changes roles from a voyeur complicit with thetorturing regime to a victim of its torture2.Exactly halfway through the novel, page 78 of 1 56 pages in theRavan edition, the Magistrate is arrested and imprisoned: “my alliancewith Empire is over, I have set myself in opposition, the bond is broken, Iam a free man” (78). One of his freedoms as narrator and focaliser is tostructure himself now as tortured character, no longer camped outsidebut now locked behind, the door of the dark chamber. The character hestructures is troped as both animal and female3; he turns into a “beast”(80, 84) himself, seeing victims as animals and animals as victims:“animals that are quick enough--antelope, hare, cat--escape; .everything else is consumed” (82). He becomes reduced not only to abeast but to meat for his torturer’s consumption: “I am now no morethan a pile of blood, bone and meat” (85). He presents his victimisers as“hunter[s]”, hoping he is not “smelled by them” (95) or smoked out ofhiding (96). He escapes briefly, “scuttling from hole to hole like a2 Gallagher suggests that the recurring images of impotence (of pen and penis)and of spaces, blankness and indecipherable text all “suggest the authorial impotenceof the novelist who attempts to write about torture” (Story of South Africa, 1 22).Gallagher points out that “the magistrate’s narrative voice is . . . ‘feminine’ inits focus on the language of the body and its inclusion of uncertainty and blankness.1 59mouse” (101), seeing the native victims “meek as lambs” while theyare viewed by the townspeople with their “ravening appetite” (105). Thetownspeople are presented as beasts while the Magistrate, beaten,whines, seeing himself as a dog in a corner (117).Still, his deepest humiliation, it seems, occurs when he is troped asfemale as he suffers mock execution “in a woman’s clothes” (120). Herehe becomes the object of the reader’s fascinated gaze. As he was drawnby the native woman’s scar, so the townspeople are drawn by his ordeal,“surreptitiously fascinated” (128). When, in the final chapter of thenovel, the Magistrate is reinstated to power, having come full circle fromcomplicitous victimising to suffering victimhood in one year, his sexualappetite for women returns. What has changed for him is his ownpower. With power, he hunts and indulges his sexual appetite;powerless, he identifies with the female and the animal and cannot“consume” either. Women and animals, then, are positioned in Waitingfor the Barbarians as the objects of violent appetites, the novel’sfocalisation, narration and narrative structure constructing the twopossibilities of reading: in sympathy either with consuming torturers orwith consumed victim characters.In each of the novels of torture, victims’ experiences are narrated160in terms of patriarchal agonistic structures as the struggle between avalorised protagonist versus a stigmatised antagonist comes to a tragicend under a hated but omnipotent system. The victim cultivates aninterior language of hate to defend against his/her violation. Each of thenovels concludes in collapse with the tortured person subsumed (at leastnominally) into the torturer’s world view. Each employs metaphor,analogy, imagery, symbolism, diction, euphemism and varying narrativetechniques to signify the state of oppression, to articulate a problem. Inthe tradition of the allegorical fable, these novels seek to alert readers tothe politics informing torture; this alertedness might motivate readers inindividual ways to work towards “solutions” to the problem of torture inthe world. However, only one novel I have found both points to the follyof its own dichotomous thinking and attempts a “solution” within its ownparameters. I discuss Imagining Argentina in the Conclusion as a route tothe fusion Haraway calls for, not a way out of the structures whichencourage torture but a small movement in that direction.161ConclusionAnother Story: Imagining Argentina“The disappeareds are very insistent in my imagination,very clear, while the soldiers, the guards, the secret policeall have one face, the same eyes, move to the beat of thesame heart. I think that is because the dream of power, thenarrowness of their souls, leaves no room for the person,the individual.”--Lawrence Thornton, Imagining Argentina, 92.In Simians, Cyborgs, and Women Donna Haraway writes that inorder to move beyond the trilogy of writing, power and technology, “old1 62partners in Western stories” (153), the feminist imagination should turnitself to “cyborg imagery” (181), to writing that embraces the junctionsand disjunctions between two worlds hitherto constructed and seen asirretrievably separate: the natural and the technological. In ImaginingArgentina, one of the central symbolic oppositions is that betweenmachinery (the machines which administer electric shocks, the FordFalcons1 which transport the regime’s victims, Carlos’ father’sMannlicher) and the natural beauty of Argentina (jasmine, cyclamen,roses, carnations, bougainvillea, poplars, parakeets, parrots, goldfinches,people). Although it is pre-cyborgian rather than cyborgian writing--itfollows the triple track of language, desire and the Oedipus that deLauretis writes of in Alice Doesn’t--Imagining Argentina sets itself apart ina small way from the other novels of torture under discussion in itsrecognition (through its narrators Martin Benn and Carlos Rueda),sometimes grudging, of the fundamental humanness of all of the novel’scharacters and in its movement towards the dissolution of binarycategories: us/them, self/other, subject/object. It does, then, suggest apartial way out of the “maze of dualisms” Haraway writes against (181).1 Falcons, of course, are used as “sport” birds trained to hunt and kill other birds.1 63The cyclical aspect of the cycle of torture, as the novels I haveexamined present that cycle, is the self-perpetuating or possibly mutually-generating nature of the dynamic between the torturing character (asrepresentative of a powerful state) and the tortured character (usually anindividual belonging to the ruled body of people in the state). The novelshave shown that the aspect of the relationship which makes it self-perpetuating is its consuming, power-glorying hate. The torturer viewshis victim as essentially different from himself; he views her/him as ananimal and, according to his world view of domination, as fully deservingof suffering. The victim character eventually comes to accept thetorture, possibly even feel deserving of it; often s/he returns the hateand comes to forget the torturer’s humanity, viewing him as animal-like.The “conflict” becomes a question of victory, of who will “win.”Novels of torture also present the attractiveness of power to thepowerless. The Handmaid’s Tale and Nineteen Eighty-Four describe thepsychological appeal of uninhibited hate; each major episode of ritualhate in these novels is, in fact, given a formal name, suggesting itsnature as a ritualised human impulse and therefore accepting it, as Girarddoes, as a given fact of human and community relations. In TheHandmaid’s Tale the ritual is the Particicution, offspring of the ritual164stoning. At the Particicution of a man convicted of rape, Offred feelsherself caught up in the mob hatred:A sigh goes up from us; despite myself I feel my handsclench. It is too much, this violation. . . It’s true, there is abloodlust; I want to tear, gouge, rend.We jostle forward, our heads turn from side to side, ournostrils flare, sniffing death, we look at one another, seeingthe hatred. Shooting was too good. (262)Offred says she feels hate rising “despite [herlselt,” pointing out thepower of the mob to activate a universal revenge impulse stronger thanindividual will. Ebersohn’s Bhengu feels this, too, hearing “his own voicejoin the wild shouting of the mob as if he had no control over it” (9)Nineteen Eighty-Four’s name for the structured indulgence in thisimpulse is the Two Minutes Hate. Like Offred, Winston participatesdespite himself:In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting withthe others and kicking his heel violently against the rung ofhis chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hatewas not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on thecontrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within165thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. Ahideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, totorture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed toflow through the whole group of people like an electriccurrent, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing,screaming lunatic. (17)Participation in the Two Minutes Hate is for Winston “horrible” and“hideous,” yet “impossible to avoid,” a presentation of hatred whichoffers the reading that it is an inevitable evil. In these novels the appealof power-over is accepted as if it always exists beneath a veneer ofcivility. Offred says (although not in connection with the Particicutionritual), “I now had power over her [Serena Joy] of a kind, although shedidn’t know it. And I enjoyed that. Why pretend? I enjoyed it a lot”(151-52).Another way in which novels of torture might participate in thecontinuation of torture is to keep focalisation always with the victim andnever with the torturer. This singleness of perspective is a feature of allof the novels of torture I examine. Two brief examples from Store Upthe Anger and Waiting for the Barbarians follow. The actions ofBhengu’s captors, generally as seen by Bhengu, Bhengu’s judgments of166his captors and the judgments of a narrator close to Bhengu’sconsciousness are the only lenses through which the security police inthe novel can be viewed; none of the novel is narrated from their pointsof view. The character judgments offered of officers Strydom and Fourieare, in effect, closed to interpretation. Strydom is presented as Bhengusees him, “a victim of his life, covering the pain of consciousness withthe unmitigating drive to destroy those he saw as enemies of himself andhis people” (200). There is no textual evidence to mitigate the extremeadjective “unmitigating.” Fourie, too, is described as forever unable toanalyse his own emotions:He had his own way to handle the difficulties of humanawareness. He had learnt to remove himself from them .Whatever else he did all his life never again would he beable to examine his own thoughts and feelings (200).Fourie is presented here through Bhengu’s perception of him, anotherstraightforward extreme assessment which might recognise the power oftorture to obliterate the torturer’s self-knowledge and emotionalawareness and which at the same time sees no hope for his recovery,nothing to temper “all his life” and “never again.”In Waiting for the Barbarians, too, the torturer’s thoughts generally167are presented through the Magistrate’s filter of moral judgment:My torturers were not interested in degrees of pain. Theywere interested only in demonstrating to me what it meantto live in a body . . . They did not come to force the storyout of me of what I had said to the barbarians and what thebarbarians had said to me . . . . They came to my cell toshow me the meaning of humanity, and in the space of anhour they showed me a great deal. (115)The Magistrate, not his torturers, speaks here of their motivations andintentions. They are all but silent in the novel, speaking only wheninterrogating or torturing.Each of the novels, through its allegorical construction, sets upreader expectations of the punishment of “evil” and the vindication of“good.” Imagining Argentina follows a similar structure of vulture-likecircling around the inexpressible experience of its tortured characters.The narrative is homodiegetic, but again the narrator is not himselftortured. The title of the novel sets up the problem of representation andsuggests a theory of imagination. Thornton, an American writer, ishimself imagining a country not his own, as Carlos imagines anexperience not his own.168Although the delayed subject of the first sentence of the novel is“Carlos[’l . . . gift,” the opening clause of the sentence begins toconstruct both reader sympathy for the “disappeareds” and themale/female consumer/consumed oppositions in the novel:Even now, six years after the generals loosened their hold onArgentina, after their manicured hands were pried awayfrom the delicate white throats of the disappeareds and thedoors of certain buildings were closed and locked, evennow, Carlos Rueda’s gift retains its mystery. (13)The victims are presented here as vulnerable, “delicate white throats”suggesting femininity and animalness; the generals are troped as hugestrangling forces; the country itself is seen later as female, as a“sophisticated dowager” (13). In this sentence, the generals arepresented as subjects, the disappeareds as objects. The anaphora in theopening sentence focuses our attention on time, inviting curiosity aboutthe nature of Carlos’ gift.Focalisation shifts frequently in Imagining Argentina; events andcharacters are presented from the perspectives of a variety of narratorsand are focalised internally by a number of characters. Narrative voiceranges from that of Martin Benn in limited narration to a more omniscient1 69narrator to Carlos to various of the victim characters in dialogue,especially Cecilia. Focalisation shifts and is occasionally internal, but isalways from a perspective emotionally close to the tortured characters.Throughout the opening chapter, the narrator works to build oursympathy for his “side,” setting himself up as witness. Claiming veracityin order to convince the reader of his honesty, he presents himself as acommon, fallible, everyday person, a journalist who ‘lacked the courageto openly confront the regime” (17). Knowledge of his occupation, ofcourse, constructs his credibility for the reader; this in turn creates thereader’s reliance on him for the facts: “I was a man who respected factsenough to make them his business” (17), he claims, while he underscoreshis truthfulness by suggesting that he is an unwilling witness, “forced tothink about the way ‘reality’ is parsed and construed” (17). He iscynical, he says, setting himself up as unlikely to accept romance andidealism (which Imagining Argentina offers).The central victim of the novel, of course, is Cecilia, representativevictim in “Argentina, the spiritual home of machismo, [where] the onlysubstantial resistance came from women” (20). The third chapter of thenovel details Cecilia’s disappearance--or rather, presents eye-witnessaccounts of it, all of which keep the reader distanced from her experience170at first, to heighten curiosity and apprehension. Focalisation is kept bothclose to and away from her and the other victims in the novel. As apsychic, Carlos is said to feel with the victims. Yet his vantage point isas other, observer. In one scene, the first time “it” happens, “Carlos sawpure terror as Raimundo listened to the footsteps approaching his cell”(28). Carlos, too, is kept out of the experience; he is physically safe,physically elsewhere. The connection he has to the victim whose storyhe relates is possible only by the agency of one who loves the victim.Then, occasionally, his focalisation becomes internal: “Victor knew .he was frightened, his thoughts arched back to . . . . he . . . could notimagine” (44). During a central scene in the novel, the rape of Cecilia,focalisation is again internal to construct reader sympathy for Cecilia(48). Again, Cecilia is presented as animal, viewed as “subhuman” bythe soldiers who rape her: “You are not even an animal” (156). Inanother scene of symbolic emasculation a male victim is told “he wouldnever be with a woman again”--59). Yet what have the novelsconstructed in constructing reader empathy with victims, in following thesame narrative structure of the story of torture?Imagining Argentina offers an allegory of the power of language toaffect reality. Carlos’ power in the novel is the power of the visionary171magician. The premise of the novel is that he not only sees what ishappening to the disappeareds but can, by telling a story, alter it. Thepolitical stance against the utter destructiveness of torture is clear inImagining Argentina, its vision of hope embodied in a Christian paradigm.Silvio is tortured and killed, but Carlos tells those who gather in hisgarden that before Silvio dies he comes to “a realization I [Carlos] wouldnever have thought possible, seeing me and Cecilia and Teresa and Esmeas people he loves, and through us he will see all of you.” Carlos saysthat Silvio’s body “will float far out to sea, but his spirit will be at rest inways none of us who knew him would have supposed” (142). The ideathat a victim’s death is not a complete loss builds reader trust in a visionof hope.Imagining Argentina finds in imagination a bridge between theworlds kept separate in the other novels. Through imagination, Carlosenters the dark chamber and the torturer’s mind. The first sentence ofthe novel shows the story’s (and the sentence’s) real subject to be nottorture but imagination, Carlos’ “gift”:Even now, six years after the generals loosened their holdon Argentina, after their manicured hands were pried awayfrom the delicate white throats of the disappeareds and the172doors of certain buildings were closed and locked, even nowCarlos Rueda’s gift retains its mystery. (1 3)Although the first three clauses of the sentence certainly build readerinterest in the terror they suggest, the anaphoric “afters” and “evenflows” lead towards the final and independent clause of the sentence,“Carlos Rueda’s gift retains its mystery.’ As the novel begins, thetorture is over, but imagination remains. Early in the novel, the narratorfocuses on the generals’ boundaried thinking: “In 1976 the generalsdrew a line around Kilometro Cero. ‘Step over it and we will kill you,’they said” (20) while he indicates his own awe at Carlos’ “ability to thinkbeyond boundaries” (18). The first time that Carlos imagines the fate ofthe disappeared father of one of his students, he is said to feel that hehas “crossed a border” (30). One boundary, then, that the novel crossesin its magic realism is the division between “reality” and “story,” “fact”and “imagination.” In its glimpses of hope, it is an attempt to rewrite thestory of torture, reclaim language and narrative structures and point tothe possibility that metaphor can merge binary opposites to surmountmetaphor’s occasional impotence at constructing reader understanding ofthe pain of the structure and story of torture.One pair of opposites the novel temporarily disrupts is the fixed173protagonist/antagonist pair. After Thornton’s hero Carlos visits the“villain” General Guzman, the narrator describes Guzman’s face as“harsh, practiced, unforgiving, but in the end a human face, flawed bysingleness of mind, zealotry, conviction” (108, my emphasis). Later, inhis rage at the disappearance of his daughter, Carlos will set out tomurder the general, but he is unable to sustain the temporary completeseparation he imagines between himself and Guzman.Yet the novel’s botanical and technological symbols are not fused.According to the novel’s scheme of symbolism, once the white carnationsurvives and reigns, the story is over. As long as Carlos’ imagination isfilled with “the green Falcon emerging from the carnation” (34), thenatural and the technological collide and there is a story. The process(disappearances, torture, murders) is presented as painful and theoutcome (peace, stability, freedom) is presented as desirable, yet oncethe white carnation fills the sky, the novel ends, with “a white carnationfloating like a benediction in the clear Argentinian sky” (214). Cecilia’slast words, “Nunca más!” (“Never more!”), end the conflict which hassustained the novel.The movement from conflict to resolution within the dualisms inthe novel is also evident in its use of tropes. Imagining Argentina174presents several scenes of torture, initially expressed by means of tropesthat widen the gap between protagonist and antagonist. However, thetropes evolve by the close of the novel into ones which tend to mergethe gap by stressing the likeness and not the difference between the“good” and “evil” characters. Early synecdochic presentations (a spy as“a floating eyeball, a disembodied ear”[98]) give way to holisticpresentation (a general as a father), opening up a space of possibility, anexit from the cycle of torture in the novel, not “cyborg imagery” butbridges between the members of dualistic pairs.The opening sentence of Imagining Argentina makes a very clearjudgment about who is “good” in the novel, who “evil” in its openingclauses (“Even now, six years after the generals loosened their hold onArgentina, after their manicured hands were pried away from the delicatewhite throats of the disappeareds.. .“). The generals are presented asan unnaturally large force in comparison with the vulnerabledisappeareds. We see the generals metaphorically as equal in size to thecountry Argentina in the second phrase of the sentence. Anotheropposition the narrator suggests, in the second sentence, is that betweenmachismo and spiritualism, or to use other terms, the patriarchal “old”way and the feminist “new” way. The novel refers frequently to175Argentina’s historical patriarchs at the same time that it describes thecountry’s rebirth as feminine, not just as symbolically female object. Theprocess of imagining Argentina becomes a process of revealingspirituality under domination. After the introductory paragraph, the firstword is the imperative “Imagine.” The sentence it begins describesflowers, language and imagination, the central symbolic tools in thepeople’s struggle with the regime.Having set up the disappeareds/generals opposition, the narratoruses conventional strategies to proclaim his truthful and unbiased nature.He presents himself as a Boswell, wanting to confront the regime bytelling “Carlos’ story . . . before it is distorted by opportunists from allover” (17). He writes that “Carlos confided in me from the very first,”and underlines the reasonableness of this trust: he calls himself “a manwho respected facts enough to make them his profession” (he is aretired journalist [1 7]). These pronouncements of the narrator’s status asa reasonable, ordinary man, a plausible stand-in for the reader, constructa reader’s acceptance of the pronouncements Martin Benn makes aboutthe generals:I was simply imaginatively unprepared to accept ourgenerals’ need to squeeze all opposition out of the country,176to purify, to wring themselves dry in an orgasmic rush ofviolence they hoped would leave them sated and lyingbeside a prostrate Argentina they had fucked to death: thesoldier’s dream. (19)The vehemence of Martin’s evaluation of the generals seems sensible inthe context of our having already accepted the narrator’s truthful nature.At the same time, his violent sexual imagery makes obvious thegendering of the violent dominators/violently dominated relation. Boththe city of Buenos Aires and the country of Argentina are troped asfemale (13, 17), of course, while the generals, soldiers, spies and guardsare male.These pronouncements of the narrator’s trustworthiness gain thereader’s trust in Martin and promote mistrust of the generals, allowingMartin to proceed with clear-cut boundaries between moral poles in thenovel; Carlos is the “hero,” General Guzman the “villain.” Carlos ispresented in heroic terms as different from “us” when he has a visionand sets out to search for Cecilia: “Carlos was not like us . . . . thecondition of his mind was necessarily different from ours” (71). Those inpower, on the other hand, are amalgamated into one man “with a killer’seyes” (102).1 77The tropes of the novel’s first half also present dichotomies. Theantagonist is “like the evil figure in a puppet show” (69), his cars “likepale green vultures, peregrine hawks, meat eaters” (84). The Falconsmove “as deliberately as green beetles .. on hot summer nights inMexico;” they are “preying things” (20). Carlos calls the spy whoinfiltrates the mothers an “animal” (101), and Guzman tropes thedisappeareds as animals also: “Even animals have mothers, Rueda”(107).Dualism and domination are reinforced page by page in the firstpart of Imagining Argentina. Those in sympathy with the disappearedsand the disappeareds themselves are given the authority of being “real”while the generals and their hirelings are presented as a kind of a miragewhich Carlos claims must be recognised as such before it will disappear.The regime, on the other hand, attempts to “eliminate reality” (64).The characters, then, are engaged in a battle for reality status. They are,in Haraway’s terms, “contesting for a voice” (70). While Martindescribes his amazement at the dissolution of “empirical reality,” he atthe same time foresees a change in the totalising logos that has heldArgentinians in the novel: “sacred facts . . . crumble . . . into dust” (17).In the novel, of course, the generals’ trappings of power are physically178tangible while the disappeareds and their loved ones have only a dream.Yet Carlos and his people use language to change his listeners’ andinfluence the text’s reader’s perceptions of where power lies, what ispowerful. Carlos says that “‘there are two Argentinas, . . . the regime’stravesty of it, and the one we have in our hearts’” (65). He advises aman marching in the Plaza de Mayo (who turns out to be a spy) that“‘the mind of the Casa Rosada [the government buildings] is no morealive, no more real, than you allow it to be. We are what is real, you andI, the mothers’” (83). Both “sides” euphemise: the generals call theiractions under military rule the “proceso,” the process. Some of thepeople call it “Ia guerra sucia,” the dirty war (20). Emphasising thepeople’s focus on language, the novel presents Hirsch, the literatureprofessor, as seeming to take comfort from assessing the fabricatednature of his torturers’ accusations, producing under torture the namesof only such “co-conspirators” as Dostoevsky, Koestler and Camus:“Each had said, in one way or another, that the electricity and needleand cigarette are the most pathetic fragments of incoherent fantasy”(160). Hirsch sustains this blending of fiction and reality even undervicious and prolonged torture, a symbol of Carlos’ and the novel’s theoryof the creative power of imagination versus the destructive power of179torture.In Imacining Argentina’s battle for legitimacy, the protagonist(s)and antagonist(s) use “weapons.” For the generals, these are theinstruments of their power (their cars, their offices, their guards’ tortureimplements, for examples). The disappeareds’ and their loved ones’weapons are their words. Ill with flu and under the influence of a Borgesstory, Martin envisionsCarlos going through a door, his only weapon language thatwelled up from deep within, and then outside, in a dark,murky terrain, the sound of a confrontation, of an unseenknife clashing against Carlos’ words. (111)After Cecilia has been tortured, her ultimate aim is to write her story asintensely as the regime inscribes its: “She wanted one day to present itall with a passion equaling that of the men who imprisoned her. Onlythat would be sufficient” (178).It is the non-material nature of language which makes it powerfulin this struggle. Perhaps to emphasise this, the story Cecilia “writes” ofher own torture is prepared in her imagination since she has no access topaper and pencil. Cecilia writes an editorial demanding release of a groupof disappeared students; the same afternoon she disappears. “I like to180think that when it happened her words were heavy on the air,” Martinwrites, “her words were sounding in the minds of thousands ofArgentines, . . . they could not also abduct her words, smash what shehad said” (21). Carlos, also, realises “my stories are more dangerous tohim [Guzman] than the Mannlicher, my words more explosive than bombsplanted in the Casa Rosada” (136). Here Carlos is bringing thetestimony of the body into the field of language so that the battlefieldwill be level: words against words.The tropes Imagining Argentina uses to express the power oflanguage are similar, in fact, to those it uses to express the pain oftorture: when he talks of ideas for children’s plays, Carlos’whole body became animated and his language took off,reminding [Martini of those novelty lamps whose clearplastic rods carry light from the base to the tips where itexplodes like a shower of stars. (18)Earlier in Imagining Argentina a victim’s pain is presented as exploding ina shower of light. In its imagery here, the novel gives equal weight tothe novel’s opposing forces: physical force/verbal acumen;destruction/creation; power-over/power-to.When Carlos realises the power of language, the power of181imagination, the novel begins a shift from dichotomising to recognisinglikeness, from “patriarchal” to “feminist” presentation. Language, ratherthan bodies, takes on primary importance. An infiltrator is discovered atone of Carlos’ meetings, causing the people to become tense, but Carlosdirects that the man be allowed to leave, for “‘harming him will changenothing. It is what he thinks, what the men he believes in think, that wemust deal with here’” (97). Carlos has recognised by this point, roughlythe centre of the novel, that us-them thinking only perpetuates us-themthinking. Carlos’ play, The Names, features a bird figure meant torepresent the simple dichotomous thinking of the generals; it is “awinged apparition, half-black, half-white” (122). Around it are children ina variety of colours.Carlos’ theory of imagination evolves through the novel, eventuallyabandoning its adversarial quality. At the beginning, he envisions hispeople’s struggle against the Generals to be a battle of imaginations:“‘The real war is between our imagination and theirs, what we can seeand what they are blinded to” (98). “‘We have to believe in the powerof imagination,” he says, “because it is all we have, and ours is strongerthan theirs” (65). He characterises the imagination of the regime asdistorted, “where everything exists in black and white,” considering this182to be the flaw which will bring it down.For a time it appears that Carlos will follow the cycle of conversionand become like his enemies. After his daughter is abducted, he looks ina mirror to see his face “distorted by rage” (131). He at first welcomesthe distortion, feeds on the image of rage, “for he knew it was necessaryto look like that, that the memory of this face later in the day would helphim act before he could become reasonable again, civilized” (131). Heintends, at this point, to kill Guzman. In this “distorted” frame of mind,he berates himself for having believed in the generals’ “essentialhumanity” (131). He falls, according to the narrator, under the shadowof the darkness of the generals’ power. He sees the generals as“insane,” “with no reason,” with “only the desire to annihilate” (131).However, at the “turning point” of the novel, Carlos cannot returnthe violence and objectification which have been inflicted on him:Just as Guzman got out [of his car], the front door of hishouse opened and a girl of about fifteen appeared andstarted across the lawn toward her father, who was framedin the sights of Carlos’ Mannlicher. Guzman blurred, thegun seemed to waver an instant in Carlos’ hands, thenGuzman was in focus again and Carlos had to look up from183the sight. Without the magnification Guzman was anyfather tired at the end of the day and happy to listen towhat his daughter had to say. Carlos felt disgusted,appalled by his sentimentality. He bent to the sight againjust as the girl approached her father, whose skull was nowcentered in the crosshairs. Guzman could not have been abetter target, but Carlos knew he would not stand still forlong, that in an instant he was going to move toward thegirl. And at that critical moment Carlos could do no morethan look. (132-33)The reader’s gaze is structured here; Guzman is presented throughCarlos’ eyes. The mention of the gun’s “sights,” of blurring, of focusand magnification all remind one of cinema, remind us that we areviewers. We can, like Carlos, do no more than look. (To sustain thisreminder, the narrator refers more than once to movies--see, for example,pages 1 9, 28, 1 41.) In the passage above, Carlos fuses Guzman andhimself metaphorically into one in his imagination and this act ofmetaphorical identification prevents him from acting as Guzman does,thinking only literally, only in terms of an I-other separation. Carlos stepsout of the cycle of “magnification” of the other’s separation from oneself.184Afterwards, once his path has turned, he feels ashamed of his“weakness” in going as far as he does towards revenge, “as if he hadbetrayed some deep mystery that was sanctified by his feeling for hiswife and daughter” (133). While that mystery certainly seems to recallBiblical injunctions, it might also represent a wider philosophy, a feministworld view, a philosophy based on cooperation rather than competition,on trying to identity oneself with, rather than in opposition to, others.Imagining Argentina, distinct from other novels of torture, sets out toteach that only by learning the other’s language can one hope to winagainst the oppressor--or by teaching him one’s own language.Paradoxically, only by metaphor, thought of as a step removed fromliteralism here, can two subjects in opposition understand one another.Only by imaginative identification the one with the other does thisunderstanding occur. The novel does not advocate a resigned passiveresistance but valorises the role language and metaphor can play inrecovery.Carlos tells of an episode which occurred while he was boarhunting: “he imagined his eye and the boar’s meeting in the steelchamber, two eyes feeding images into brains totally alien to each other”(136). The scene is strikingly similar to that of the Magistrate1 85waterbuck-hunting in Waiting for the Barbarians. The same paralysis asovertook the Magistrate when he saw the image of the waterbuckthrough the crosshairs of his gun overcame Carlos when he aimed toshoot the boar. Because of his imagined identification with the boar,Carlos chose not to kill it. The same realisation and paralysis overcomeshim as he views Guzman in the gun’s sight. He sees Guzman as afather, like himself, about to embrace his teenaged daughter, as Carloshas embraced his own adolescent daughter. Martin, in fact, commentson the power of Carlos’ imagination early in the novel as the power ofmetaphoricity: “Carlos’ intellectual life is wholly metaphorical . . .. [hehas the] ability to think beyond boundaries, which, of course, led tothings that ought not to have happened” (18).This power stands opposite the dominating power which definespatriarchy. Carlos points out that under the General’s world view the selfis sacrificed for the larger institution, remarking that‘General Guzman comes from a long line of soldiers whohave served Argentina, and in that legacy he sees somethinghallowed and more important than his life. Asked where hisidentity lies, he would tell us that it is in his sacred duty.’(90)186Carlos goes on to point out that Guzman likely views as feminine thosewho oppose his kind of power. Carlos considers Guzman to be devotedto “that dream which he feels more than ever was defiled by the faint ofheart, the women in man’s spirit” (91). At the close of the novel, also,he expresses the theory that the male will to power becomes destructive,the power of Thanatos, out of envy of the female power to birth:“When they think about it [the period of their power] they feel swollen,pregnant with death” (202).The novels of torture I considered in earlier chapters do possesssome aspects that work to dissolve patterns of oppositions although ingeneral the novels serve to preserve dualisms. Imagining Argentinabegins with oppressors as bird-catchers or preying birds (falcons,vultures) and victims as tropical or song birds, with the regime’s menblended into one huge and ugly force attacking victims who are givenindividuality in their names and stories. But the novel does not whollysustain these metaphors2. Its action and tropes evolve to merge the“good” and “evil” characters, not for one to subsume the other, but for apartial breakdown of the negative force.2 The Painted Bird proceeds with such dualistic tropes to the end.187Some other novels of torture possess aspects which also offer“solutions”, but these moments are almost always undercut. NineteenEighty-Four’s Winston seems to have a mind which tends not todichotomise. We see this in his first meeting with Julia:A curious emotion stirred in Winston’s heart. In front of himwas an enemy who was trying to kill him--in front of him,also, was a human creature, in pain and perhaps with abroken bone. Already he had instinctively started forward tohelp her. In the moment he had seen her fall on thebandaged arm, it had been as though he felt the pain in hisown body. (95)However, O’Brien achieves the reversal of this selflessness at the “Do itto Julia!” moment of the novel, when Winston begs that his lover’s headrather than his own be submitted to rats.Darkness at Noon presents a similar kind of connective thinking inRubashov although it undermines it by having Rubashov consider it“fatal:”He tried to hold on to the hatred he had for a few minutesfelt for the officer with the scar; he thought it might stiffenhim for the coming struggle. Instead, he fell once more188under the familiar and fatal constraint to put himself in theposition of his opponent, and to see the scene through theother’s eyes. (24)Waiting for the Barbarians also has moments of connectivethinking. The Magistrate says of his torturer that UI find it hard to hatehim in return (Coetzee 84). By the end of Waiting for the Barbarians,the Magistrate is ready to turn a blind eye to the cruelties of imperial rule,but he decides against doing so:I toyed more than once with the idea of resigning my post,retiring from public life, buying a small market garden. Butthen, I thought, someone else will be appointed to bear theshame of office, and nothing will have changed. (139)However one reads the Magistrate, his choice for change does seem toimply some hope for a way out of the Bureau’s system.Store U the Anger, on the other hand, concludes with themessage that the cycle of political violence it has described will continue.Lategan is not the last interrogator; Bhengu conjectures that ColonelLategan’s “heir’T will be Captain Strydom. And Bhengu is not the lastprisoner; Lategan lets him know that Bhengu’s friend Jele has beenbrought in and is “next.” Embedded in the novel’s narrative structure,189too, is the sign of a neverending cycle: the narrative is circular, followinga series of flashbacks and ending with the moment just before that withwhich the novel began.The subject of torture is frightening and painful for the novelistswhose works have been discussed here. Almost all literature attempts torepresent human experience. However, for a variety of reasons, someareas of human experience are more easily presentable than others. Therepresentation of pain, especially of extreme pain, challenges writersparticularly. They are not taking photographs (the process of which canbe manipulated, but the product shows us some piece of the “true”event>; they are themselves creating images and events. They face amultitude of risks in attempting to present the extremities involved in thetorture relationship: oversimplification, didacticism, exploitation anddichotomisation are some of the challenges I have explored.A reader, the “traveller,” also has, as I pointed out in theIntroduction, ethical issues to consider when approaching novels oftorture. Some of these may in fact be keeping potential readers from thisgroup of novels. Fears of vicarious complicity, pleasure or pain are someof these areas.But perhaps it is our culture’s structures we should look to in order190to explain the rarity of academic discussions of “the novel of torture”while dozens of such novels have been written and received prizes.Much postcolonial critical discourse has to do with the problem of the“other” Patriarchal thinking and patriarchal systems might be at the rootof our views of the “other,” whether we read the victim or the torturer asthat “other.”I have been arguing that novels of torture set out to participate inthe creation of a “language of pain”, the giving of both voice and hearingto silenced victims of torture. There are dangers, of course, in presumingto speak for others, to speak in their places and imbue with our ownviews a discourse we call “theirs”. Yet how might the sufferers oftorture speak themselves when they are so often and so effectively, itseems, suppressed? This is another difficulty faced by the novel oftorture: it risks becoming, and in many cases it has become, anotherinstrument for the systems which find a need for torture in the world.In order not to participate in and perpetuate the thinking whichallows torture, novels of torture are working, in the first instance, toacknowledge and to alter their own dichotomous assumptions. ImaginingArgentina, as I have argued, takes a step towards achieving this. Thenovels have not by and large unlocked the shackles of hierarchical191dualistic structures. They have, however, peeked through the keyhole ofthe door to the dark chamber.192Works Cited and ConsultedAdams, Carol J. “Ecofeminism and the Eating of Animals.” Hypatia 6:1(1991): 25-37.The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian CriticalTheory. New York: Continuum, 1991.Alexander, Edward. The Resonance of Dust: Essays on HolocaustLiterature and Jewish Fate. 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