venerdì 28 dicembre 2018

SIMENON SIMENON. SOME IMPORTANT WOMEN IN “ACT OF PASSION”

On how three women influenced the madman who killed a fourth 

SIMENON SIMENON. QUELQUES FEMMES IMPORTANTES DANS “LETTRE A MON JUGE 
Comment trois femmes influençaient le fou qui en avait tué une quatrième. 
 SIMENON SIMENON. ALCUNE DONNE IMPORTANTI IN "LETTERA AL MIO GIUDICE"
Su come tre donne influenzano il folle che ne ha ucciso una quarta

G. Simenon - "Act of Passion" - Penguin Book 1965
A trio of women shaped Dr. Charles Alavoine’s life: his overbearing mother, Clémence, and his wimpy first wife, Jeanne, and, the worst of them, his overwhelming second wife, Armande. His letter exhaustively reveals how they contributed to his destructive madness. Clémence totally ran the show in Alavoine’s life right up to his second marriage. “She cared for me, she pampered me.” Most importantly, his mother “knew” him, felt the need to “retain him, and spied on him to “protect” him. She made him a doctor. In fact, he chose medicine just “to make her happy.” She set him up in practice and bought him a motorcycle to make his rounds. Criticallyshe “judged it prudent to have him married”twiceand, what’s more, she lived in the same house with him during both marriages. However, Clémence immediately relinquished her control to Alavoine’s second wife who “had a stronger will than hers” and made her feel obliged to step aside.” In fact, his mother was “transformed into a frightened little gray mouse who “confined herself to the place Armande had assigned to her.” By the time of Alavoine’s precipitous, permanent expulsion from their household by Armande, his mother was so “diminished” that her only complaint was, “You are leaving me alone with her…. 
First wife Jeanne served mostly as a willing assistant to his mother in directing Alavoine’s life. Indeed, he had acquiesced to the mother “who married us, thinking, “Why not Jeanne?” His bride was so nice, sweet, and gentle that “her whole person was washed out.” As a matter of fact, she was such “soft dough,” meaning lacking in character, that his mother remained the true mistress of the household. At least, Clémence “gained a daughter” who dutifully “followed in her wake.” As it turned out, Alavoine “never knew” Jeanne, did not love her, and had no sexual desire for her. Purely because his mother and his wife wanted a boy, he “took that up as his own wish. Although Jeanne died delivering another daughter, at the egotist’s trial, she was just “part of the decor in my life” and “already a photograph erased.” 
Armande was ultimately the major driver. Despite Alavoine sensing early on “she was taking me a little under her protection, she rolled on and “made—or made me makethe key decisions, which he offers up as the whole story of my marriage.” Because “she needed to dominate” and “all my acts and deeds were controlled by Armande, he was no longer Dr. Alavoine. Rather he became the husband of Armande. Everything was hers: her house, her kitchen, her furnishings, her friends, her party, and so on. He summarizes the problem this way: Armande “did not allow me enough play in the leash around my neck.” Importantly, “there had never been a question of love between us,” and “we were never attracted carnally towards one another.” No wonder Martine quickly seized the total attention of the henpecked and sex-starved pawnNo wonder, when Armande caught him kissing Martine, her primary reaction was: “If only you had satisfied yourself by seeing her outside”—that is, outside my house! And no wonder, when Armande kicked the lovers out of her house, Alavoine’s reaction was: “I was relieved. At last!” 

David P Simmons 

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