YMRTYou Must Remember This (novel)
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Now the fact the bomb shelter eventually will leak--"after a rainstorm he'd found six inches of dirty water in it" (YMRT 425)--and the further realization (as Enid points out) that once deployed, "there'd be nothing to live for afterward" anyway (YMRT 327) contribute little in curtailing Lyle's obsession.
The previous references to the mystery of his character--"It was said of Felix Stevick that you never got to know him," the narrator remarks at an early point (YMRT 53)--and to the secrecy of his inner mind--"The man you saw wasn't there and the man who was there you couldn't see," the narrator remarks at a later time (YMRT 95)--these might combine to suggest that traumatic experience was truly offering the reader that self-apprehension of the ego that is not a self-apprehension but instead a "splitting" that might promise to bring a brand new subject into being: As a boy Felix Stevick thrived on opposition, resistance.
But as the passage goes on to relate, the traumatisation of subjectivity for Felix promises not so much an accession to new life-forms as a recycling of old and hackneyed and all-too-familiar patriarchal ones modelled mainly after "heroes directly from the boxing world." Tellingly, the narrator reveals, "[Felix] measured all men, all male behavior, against that world--which was a twin or mirror world of the 'real' world, and far more significant" (YMRT 165, emphasis added).
It is hardly accidental, therefore, that when Enid stares across a table part way through their stormy relationship she sees "that impassive hooded look of [Felix]" that tells her that like her father, "he was supremely in control" (YMRT 193).
In her love-making with Felix, for example, the narrator scruples to press home the point that Enid "controlled nothing," not even "the tiny panicked muscles in spasms encircling [Felix], her hands wild clutching at his back, his shoulders, his hair" (YMRT 224).
And it is Oates's narrator who frames Enid with that very question immediately following the first attempt on her life made by her own hand--her initial vanishing as it were: "you might argue that there was a trauma, there to be dealt with, exorcised as after combat in war, a physical memory lodged in the flesh as well as the spirit" (YMRT 148).
Contrary to such "Cold War" consensus, as her brother Warren is given to remark, "we are one, we are many" (YMRT 111).
(7) Thus, at a later point in You Must Remember This, about Lyle Stevick's son Warren, the narrator observes that "[he] dozed off, woke to tepid water and a sense of inexplicable loss, not knowing the year, the time, his own age" (YMRT 298, emphasis added).
She wanted so much she would never have" (YMRT 88).