ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

by Simone de Beauvoir

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:27 am

Was their affair doomed from the start or do you think they could have done things differently to make it last?
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Re: ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

Unread postby fireflydances » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:38 am

I am not sure I would use the word 'doomed' as it continued as a friendship for a good number of years. At the same time, I don't think they fit together -- he was about commitment, she was about love. But the question makes for other questions (as usual!)

Doom means failure I guess in the eye of the beholder -- and he obviously came to the conclusion early on that they weren't going to be having the relationship he wanted, and perhaps would acknowledge then it was 'doomed'. But both continued their involvement after that. So why did they do that? In particular, why did he do that?

And then this makes me want to know what they each felt at the end of their lives. We know she was buried with his ring, but unfortunately a ring is only a wordless symbol. We don't know what it meant. Was she saying 'you continued to be important to me my whole life, whether we spoke or didn't'? Was she posturing for 'history' -- "see, I still pine for my other essential love?" We know Algren's final written words about her were bitter. But words are so perishable, you can write the most horrible things about a person and still hold good and regretful memories in your heart. Yet, can we see in his decision to permanently record these words his own final symbolic statement that any and all association with her wasn't worth his time?

Ambiguous till the end I guess.
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Re: ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:41 pm

An affair in and of itself seems to me to be doomed. To me the term "affair" has to do with a fling or an indiscretion -- it implies impermanence. The relationship becomes something else (like a committed marriage) or it ends. I think. :headache:

However, to answer with my first impulse, yes it was doomed. Simone was unwilling to make a full commitment, so in the end it could never really go anywhere except to an ending. And in spite of all the lovely comments about lovers remaining friends, I expect that there would be sadness and bitterness at the ending, as there seemed to be for Algren.

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Re: ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

Unread postby gemini » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:10 pm

I find myself agreeing with what both of you have said here. To me it seems as lovers they were doomed. They tried friendship and as Algren told her once before, for her there could only be love from him.
fireflydances said
But words are so perishable; you can write the most horrible things about a person and still hold good and regretful memories in your heart.

Yes, Even though Algren said these things about her, to me, it sound like they came from being hurt. If the relationship were not important to him she would not have incited him so afterwards.
Nebraska said
The relationship becomes something else (like a committed marriage) or it ends. I think.

I think this is exactly what Algren thought, unfortunately Simone didn’t.
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Re: ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

Unread postby Liz » Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:20 pm

I don’t think it had to be doomed.

I think Simone made a lot of mistakes:

Mistake #1: Decided to cut her 1949 trip short without telling Algren beforehand.

Mistake #2: Left Algren at her apartment in Paris and went off to Brazil or Cuba or wherever that was with Sartre before Algren went home.

Mistake #3: Lied about her reason for Mistake #1 and then admitted her real reason for Mistake #1 for the world to see

I think that it might have lasted a whole lot longer if she had compromised more (i.e. not made Mistake #1).

Algren could have handled it differently, too:

He could have swallowed his pride a little. I think that the 3 months in 1950 would have been so much more wonderful if he had.
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Re: ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:49 pm

It depends on how you define doomed and failure. They each had different expectations. With neither being able or willing to compromise, for example, on being together in the same geographic space, someone was going to have to change their expectations. If Nelson wanted permanence and Simone did not then it was destined to end unless Nelson gave up what he wanted. So for him it was a failure and for Simone as well if it caused Nelson to give up on the relationship. I do believe each of them was a great love for the other so in that sense it was not a failure. Any time you can experience that in life you can't say you have failed.
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Re: ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:58 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:It depends on how you define doomed and failure. They each had different expectations. With neither being able or willing to compromise, for example, on being together in the same geographic space, someone was going to have to change their expectations. If Nelson wanted permanence and Simone did not then it was destined to end unless Nelson gave up what he wanted. So for him it was a failure and for Simone as well if it caused Nelson to give up on the relationship. I do believe each of them was a great love for the other so in that sense it was not a failure. Any time you can experience that in life you can't say you have failed.


Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, DITHOT? I suppose that is a nice way to look at it, and maybe in the end you are correct.

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Re: ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

Unread postby gemini » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:57 pm

Nebraska said
Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, DITHOT? I suppose that is a nice way to look at it, and maybe in the end you are correct.
We’ll I have certainly always been a sucker for that one. :biggrin:
I am a romantic at heart. :flashingheart:
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Re: ATLA Question #23 ~ Doomed from the start?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:54 pm

Something like that, nebraska and gemini! I just think if you have had a great love in your life, even if it wasn't the only love of your life, your time was well spent in the long run.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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