Essay on Menstrual Cycle and Fanciful Isadora Wing

Submitted By gljdlfj
Words: 4678
Pages: 19

a heightened degree, Alice, the prototypical child, exhibits this same sense of confusion in wonderland. Within the framework of her adventures, reality and fantasy, sense and nonsense, sanity and insanity are juxtaposed to create a dream-like world. Erica Jong's repeated references to Carroll's work clearly link Alice to Isadora. Because of their repetitiousness, Isadora describes her conversations with Adrian “like quotes from Through the Looking-Glass.” In Wonderland, the Red Queen explains to Alice: “Now here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” Similarly, in the mirrored discotheque, Isadora and Adrian find themselves “lost in a series of mirrored boxes and partitions which opened into each other . . . I felt I had been transported to some looking-glass world where, like the Red Queen, I would run and run and only wind up going backward”. In addition to the patterns of vertiginous motion, and to distorted patterns of size and shape, familiar characters also transfer from Wonderland to Fear of Flying. Adrian's grin is a continual reminder of the Cheshire cat. When Alice asks the cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?” the cat replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Adrian, “smirking his beautiful smirk with his pipe tucked between his curling pink lips,” tells Isadora, “you have to go down into yourself and salvage your own life”.

Both Isadora and Alice live in a fantasy world which is more congenial to them than is reality. However, for Isadora, residence in wonderland is impossible to maintain. When the fantasy “of the zipless fuck,” which Isadora pursues throughout the novel, becomes a reality, she realizes the disparity between eight-year-old naivety and twenty-nine-year-old delusion. She calls herself, “Isadora in Wonderland, the eternal naif.” The fantasy “instead of turning me on, . . . revolted me! Perhaps there was no longer anything romantic about men at all?” Isadora rejects one fantasy after another as Alice, weary of the Queen's tricks, seizes the table cloth and upsets her illusory dinner party. But most importantly, Isadora outgrows the role of “Isadora Wing, clown, crybaby, fool,” and opts for a life that will satisfy her rather than repeatedly seeking some fantasy lover who will disappoint her.

However, all the aspects of her journey are not as felicitous as Alice's adventures in wonderland. Isadora, because she is “bloody Jewish . . . mediocre at other things, but at suffering you're always superb,” must descend to the depths of Dante's hell in order to cleanse herself of yet another illusion—another masculine image of woman. Early in the novel, she assumes the Beatrice role by idealizing her various love-relationships, “Dante and Beatrice . . . Me and Adrian?” She also links Brian and herself to the well known lovers, “What if he were Dante and I Beatrice?” She would be able to guide him through the hell of his madness. However, ultimately Isadora must identify both with the pilgrim Dante and some of the sinners he encounters on his way. She is the incontinent Francesca, “The book of my body was open and the second circle of Hell wasn't far off”; and Adrian, of course, is Paola. As the Dantean lovers are whirled and buffeted through the murky air by a great whirlwind, so Isadora and Adrian are seen in various degrees of intoxication, moving through the purple mists of the “Congress of Dreams” and motoring in endless circles through Europe. However, Isadora's journey like Dante's is ever downward. When Adrian and Isadora venture into the bizarre, mirrored, and stroboscopic world of the discotheque, Isadora renames it “The Seventh Circle.” Once inside they become lost in the maze of mirrors and with mounting panic they look for familiar faces in the crowd of strangers, “all the other damned souls.” Isadora's relationship with