I stared at the hefty volume in some sort of amused bewilderment, before stepping forwards to relieve her of her burden. "Thanks a million!" I exclaimed, looking down at the monstrous text that i now held in my hands. Iris Murdoch's the Green Knight. And I was supposed to have this read for Friday.
On initially seeing the book, and glancing over the short description the lecturer had inserted at the top of the week's tasks sheet, I was pretty much expecting the text to be laboriously complex, unengaging, and difficult to read. However, a few pages into my humongous doorstopper of a novel, I discovered, much to my surprise, that I was actually enjoying it. In a strange, oblique sort of way: the story is complicated, full of abstract language and sensuous naturalistic imagery; and as I read I could not help but ponder as to whether or not I was actually picking up on everything that professor Murdoch actually intended an active reader of her text to do.
But yet, despite all that, this text spoke to me, touching my heart and speaking to my soul in ways which I hadn't in the least anticipated. And I could relate, if not palpably identify with, a number of the novel's various and strikingly diverse different characters. One of these was the girl Moy. Naive, innocent, childlike, little Moy's special relationship with the external world is explicit from the beginning of the novel; as is the extent to which she is something of an outsider in her own closely-knit family circle. Because Moy is an oddity, in a way: she is patently, fundamentally different from her bookish, elegant sisters; indeed from all of the other members of the small circle of friends known collectively in the book as the family.
And Moy can be seen to embrace this difference, while at the same time, it can be seen to be tearing her apart...
Reading Moy's story, was enough to bring tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Because I could really...feel, her pain; that sense of fragmentation deep within your own sense of self. Because, likeMoy, I know that I am so very, very different. That I am an oddity, that I am set apart from the other girls at my age. It feels as if we occupy two entirely different worlds.
There is that part of me..that part of me which does not care, that I am different. I am a dryad; a nymph, a spirit of the woodlands. I am a flowergirl with wild rosebuds in her hair and daisy chains around her neck. I am an explorer, a tree climber, an elf, a keeper of the forest's hidden and secrets. I can run through daisy strewn fields with Benny at my side, my hair wild and loose and streaming behind me like a banner; my leggings, torn and snagged from branches and brambles, Here, there are no judgmental eyes to gaze critically at me with scorn or disapproval. I can be the wild girl of the woods...I am free.
But then...then, there is that other part of me; where lies a pain so sharp it seems like it might slice my heart in two; a thick, interpentrable root of despair, stemming directly from that knowledge that yes, I am different, I should not be like this; I am so fundamentally and critically different from the other girls my age. That this is not the way it should be, for a bordering on 22 english girlin the modern world of the twenty-first century. No social life, no relationships, no job, no dependence.
How...how do i negotiate my way through this? I want things to change; I want to wear a pretty dress and pencil eyelincer onto my eyes, to go out there into town in a group of giggling girls, and dance my heart out on the dancefloors of those sparkling, glittering nightclubs, feel the beat of the music pulsate with my heart and fill my body with its irresistable rhythm. But yet, simultaneously, there is that massive part of me which is desperate, so painfully, agonizingly desperate - for things to remain the same. To never leave home; the home that I love and where I feel safe, the sanctuary where I can take refuge from the cruel eyes of the world.