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What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

Created: 10/11/11

Replies: 8

Posted Oct. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 209

Expert

RE: What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

I think she was a kind and loving person who found herself in a very difficult position. She so needed and wanted to be true to herself and yet also loved her children dearly and needed to take care of them. I would not have wanted to be in her shoes as a fairly powerless female in those days and times.


Posted Oct. 12, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 42

RE: What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

I would like to have known Clarisse. It bothered her that she was not totally accepted by the Rey family. Although that was the case, she tried hard to fit in and was, in fact, a wonderful mother to Melanie and Antoine. She was torn between two lifestyles. How sad that she died in her 30's when her children were so young.


Posted Oct. 12, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 76

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RE: What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

We really know very little of Clarisse. We know the basic facts; we know she was unfaithful to a husband that loved her; we think she loved her children; we know she married above her class. It's obvious she was unhappy but we don't know if that is only because of her extra-marital lesbian affair or if it was deeper seated. We don't know what she really thinks (because her only voice is through her few letters) but the letters she wrote to her lover show a lack of sophistication and maturity.


Posted Oct. 13, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
christineb

Join Date: 10/13/11

Posts: 27

RE: What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

She seemed like a very loving mother. I think it would have been difficult for her to be thrust into the lifestyle she had- certainly not what she was used to. I don't know know if having a lesbian affair was necessary to the story- Would an affair with a man have changed it?


Posted Oct. 14, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
judyb

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 15

RE: What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

I agree with JWW. We don't know very much about her, and yet I had the overwhelming impression that she was the heart of the family when she was living. She was open to life and love and true to herself--we find that out in the way she stood up for herself in the face of the imperious Reys. I felt her loss to her children was a terrible tragedy that circumscribed their lives in sad ways.


Judy
Posted Oct. 20, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 76

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RE: What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

Christineb brought up an interesting question: "would an affair with a man have changed it?". The story did take place in France and affairs (between man and woman) seem to be pretty common and expected even in the time of the story. Perhaps the lesbian affair would have raised more eyebrows but I, also, agree that it wasn't really necessary to the story. There are famous lesbian couples that took refuge in Paris long before this story took place and they seemed to be accepted. Not sure what kind of secret I would have chosen to cause so much angst for all these characters.


Posted Oct. 21, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
shirleyf

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 15

RE: What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

She seemed to be a very loving and involved mother to her children. I wonder how she could have ever married Francois Rey - what opportunity did they have to establish a relationship, and how could he have married her without the blessing of his family. These facts seem out of character for him - although we only have a small glimpse of him and his life, he seems committed to his family and their expectations. Clarisse seems to have fallen into the relationship with June - but I wonder what June brought to Clarisse (and vice versa) to make her "the love of my life". I think that her unfaithfulness caused her a lot of angst, and certainly carried the story along, but IMHO the story fails to show how important it was to her happiness and where it would have gone (other than Antoine's conjecture).


Posted Oct. 27, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 44

RE: What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

Clarisse seemed to be a woman who found herself in a world that she just could not be comfortable living in. Sometimes people find love or happiness in places they did not expect to find themselves.


Posted Nov. 07, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
ruthd

Join Date: 09/12/11

Posts: 5

RE: What kind of woman was Clarisse Rey?

Clarisse Rey was out of her element socially, and probably felt like an outsider all the time. She didn't receive any warmth from her husband or his family. Hence, she accidentally found another outlet for herself in a time period when homosexuality was not acceptable to society.

This was a very warm woman who had no outlet for that warmth. She couldn't even enjoy much closeness with her children; raising them was thought to be the task of the servants (e.g governess). Seeing them just once a day was not enough for her.

The family was probably aware of her feelings since the mother-in-law had her followed and photographed. For them, in that time an culture, her activity was sinful, and to be hidden. She was treated by a pariah.


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