Renee the autodidact (self-taught) is distressed. Phenomenology is beyond her reach, sending her to the library.
Edmund Husserl writes Cartesian Meditations: Introduction of Phenomenology.
Kant's fundamental idea in philosophy is human autonomy. He believes that the highest good is achieved when the individual believes in God and the immortal soul.
Descartes' Meditations hold that inquiry followed by discovery is necessary for knowledge. He known for saying. "I think, therefore I am; or I am thinking, therefore I exist or I do think, therefore I do exist)."
The cat here on earth
and intermittently decorative
Paloma compares her family to their cats.
Two fat windbags who eat designer kibble and have no affection for humans.
They are mobile decorative objects.
talks to her cats
The cat is their family totem. "They are utterly spineless and anesthetized, emptied of all emotions.
Poodle facts according to Renee:
Poodles are dogs for the rich not the poor.
Poodles come in black and apricot.
The apricot ones are crabbier than the black ones.
The black ones are smellier than the apricot ones.
Poodles are ugly and stupid, submissive and boastful.
They make a seemingly good totem for a concierge couple: ugly, stupid, submissive and boastful.
Renee speaks of her happy marriage to her husband. She describes herself as poor and ugly, and felt like an old biddy at twenty. She was astounded when her future husband wanted to marry her. She married well.
From Ask Aura Dog Totem: the poodle is the only dog bred purely for fashion. As a totem though, Poodle is very useful in teaching us about human games, social graces and expectations. Poodle is probably the smartest of all the dog families and helps to teach those who have it as a totem how to properly use the mind, the intellect and mental faculties. Poodle with sharpen your wits, make you use them and teach you how to fight fairly.
In this beautiful chapter, Renee describes how she, the feeble child becomes a hungry soul. The revelation occurs when she begins school and heard the friendly voice of her teacher say her name. "For the first time, someone was talking to me, saying my name." Her world moves from gray to a world full of color."So with my doleful eyes glued to hers, I clung to the woman who had just brought me into the world."
Renee learns to read and her life changes.
I don't understand the reference to "On Wars and Colonies," other than when she was almost ten years old, Mr. Servant, her teacher, has caught on to her reading his newspaper filled with articles about wars and colonies. No one knew she was so advanced.
Renée hides her talents from a world she believes cannot understand her.
Staying centered without losing your shorts
Ok, Paloma doesn't want to miss anything so she has decided to keep another journal that focuses on "masterpieces of matter", such as art, beauty and love that elevate us now. Her inspiration comes from her father as he watches a soccer match on television. He is two archetypes: tough boss and carefree dad. The family watches the haka which leads Paloma to thoughts on moving, we are moving or getting ready to move or motionless movement. This elegance of motionless movement is destroyed when a maul breaks out and a player loses his shorts. Such is life.
Her dear old friend, Manuela visits on Tuesdays and Thursdays for tea. She is a refined lady, archetype, as well as a housekeeper or as the rich put it "a dust stalker."
One thing the rich share with the poor are "nauseating intestines."
"What is an aristocrat? A women who is never sullied by vulgarity, although she may be surrounded by it."
They talk about little Pallieres boy reading Marx. Politics is not the only thing he is reading.
Monsieur Arthens, food critic, worthy wordsmith, comes to the door requesting her to be on the look out for a package then requests she immediately deliver it to him. He reminds her of Legrandin from Proust's Remembrance of Things Past- Swann's Way. He is described as "one of that class of men who, apart from a scientific career in which they may well have proved brilliantly successful, have acquired an entirely different kind of culture, literary or artistic, of which they make no use in the specialised work of their profession, but by which their conversation profits."
Barbery uses this illusion to strengthen her point.
He is waiting for an incunabulum, for those who don't know, it is a book printed before 1501 in Europe.
She is insulted and slams the door in his face and wonders later which one is more of a fool.
"People aim for the stars, and they end up like goldfish in a bowl." Our profound thought comes out of cynicism, we were lied to as children and when we grow up, we realize it but it is too late to do anything about it. This is coming from a 12 year old. Yikes! Why don't our parents tell us life is absurd from the beginning. It would save everyone from having their dreams smashed. This is how, the reader is introduced to our brainy rich youngster.
Literary references ('Colombe, stop trying to act like Madame Guermantes," or "Pumpkin, you are a regular Sanseverina").
Madame Guermantes is one of the main characters in Marcel Proust's The Guermantes Way of the In Search of LostTime (À la recherche du temps perdu) series. Marcel falls in love with the duchesse de Guermantes, from high Parisian society and then learns to despise her and her social circle.
She laments about how she has to pretend to be stupid and gives us a glimpse of the future- she is not going to end up in the fish bowl. She talks about death and how banal it is. She tells the reader that she is committing suicide on June 16. "Dying must be a delicate passage, a sweet slipping away to rest."
Before she dies she want to have the greatest number of profound thoughts in the form of Japanese poetry: a haiku (three lines) or a tanka (five lines).
On June 16th not only is she going to kill herself, she is going to set the apartment on fire.
Why do you think she needs to do this? Is this just teenage angst? How does this help the people in Africa?
The book opens with Marx. Does this mean this tale will be political and/or philosophical?
Antoine Pallieres, son and heir of old industrial dynasty, is reading Marx. Karl Marx started his career as a philosopher, later becomes a revolutionary communist.
The narrator mentions writings by Marx:The German Ideology and The Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach. In The German Ideology, a young Marx begins forming his ideas on the history of materialism. Capitalism creates desires and the fulfillment of desires lead to how these desires can be fulfilled for each individual. The labor needed to fulfill the desires would lead to creating oppression. Yikes I am over my head already!
The Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach contains one of Marx's most memorable remarks: “the philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point is to change it” (thesis 11).
Why do you think the narrator resents this young man so much?
The Miracles of Art
We are introduced to the narrator of the first chapter, first sentence, "My name is Renee.I am fifty-four years old..."
Hints of the books themes appear immediately.
1. Class status: Renee's status: working woman, widowed, no formal education, short, ulgy, plump with bad breath.
2. Isolation: she and her cat choose not to socialize or connect in an intimate way with outsiders.
3. Stereotypes: she conforms to social prejudices, "concierges are old, ugly and sour,..."
4. Social hierarchy: rich vs. poor, she is a pauper in a "house full of rich people."
Renee perpetuates these stereotypes by playing the television all day in the front room. She has created a spy-hole to watch her neighbors comings and goings while watches Death in Venice or listens to Mahler in her "hideaway."
The miracles of art chapter title: "I was in the back room, perfectly euphoric, my eyes filling with tears, in the miraculous presence of Art."
I'm an expert amateur or maybe an amateur expert.