The Ginger Man Question #14 ~ Love

by J.P. Donleavy

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

The Ginger Man Question #14 ~ Love

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:43 am

Sebastian seems to crave companionship, male and female. Why did he sabotage his relationships with his friends and lovers? Was love important to him?
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!

User avatar
PhD
Posts: 5754
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:34 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Status: Offline

Unread postby PhD » Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:52 pm

Well, I'm probably giving S more credit than he deserves, but yes, I do think love was important to him. There are places in the book where you get glimpses of S's true character (the passage describing his arrival at Trinity being one of them), and he seems to have low self-esteem, to be self-conscious, unsure of himself, and shy. I think the S that we see during most of the book is a self-defense mechanism. It's a mask he puts on for the world. He doesn't want to be seen as he really is so he created an alternate persona. This persona is confident and doesn't worry about having a job or providing for a family. (I do think that as the book progresses, S begins to lose the line separating real S from created S).

He sabotages his relationships because he's afraid to let others see the real S. He's afraid they would reject him. So, he puts on the mask of the good-for-nothing S. That persona drives others away from him. He sabotages the relationship before he can be rejected. He sabotages the relationship before he can be seen as an inadequate partner, friend, or lover (for this is how he sees himself). If the other person stays in the relationship when faced with good-for-nothing S, it's okay. Their expectations for him aren't that high, so he can't disappoint them.

Maybe that's why Marion stayed for so long. Maybe she had known the real S and had trouble accepting that the real S wasn't around anymore .. he'd been essentially replaced by good-for-nothing S.

I'm not sure this makes sense... sorry!
"Because, you know, it seems to me that, I mean, except for being a little mentally ill, she's pretty normal"

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:29 pm

Phd, I think that makes perfect sense. You're saying that he is pushing people away as a self defense mechanism to avoid being hurt, to maintain control in the relationships and so he doesn't have to really put forth much effort to please anyone. Is that sort of what you're getting at? He is taking the easy way out...that seems to be quite in character!
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!

User avatar
PhD
Posts: 5754
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:34 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Status: Offline

Unread postby PhD » Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:39 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Phd, I think that makes perfect sense. You're saying that he is pushing people away as a self defense mechanism to avoid being hurt, to maintain control in the relationships and so he doesn't have to really put forth much effort to please anyone. Is that sort of what you're getting at? He is taking the easy way out...that seems to be quite in character!


Yes! He's afraid he can't please anyone so he has created this awful personality so nobody expects him to please them! He'd rather succeed at being a jerk than fail at being himself.
"Because, you know, it seems to me that, I mean, except for being a little mentally ill, she's pretty normal"

User avatar
luvdepp
Posts: 1839
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:52 am
Location: California

Status: Offline

Unread postby luvdepp » Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:54 pm

That makes perfect sense to me PhD. And gives me an idea of what Johnny might have seen in him that he felt made him complex and interesting. Maybe Johnny will be able to make some of the real Sebastian come through in the film.:hope:
"So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself, who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on the shore and merely existed." ~HST~

User avatar
Linda B.
Posts: 2743
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:18 pm
Location: Pie Shop in London

Status: Offline

Unread postby Linda B. » Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:54 pm

I'm going to play the devil's advocate here and say that I don't think that love was important to Sebastian - per se.

I think he had a certain image of himself - as always succeeding no matter what he attempts - as always being able to provide - as being able to handle everything - and that is the face he gives the world. He takes what he wants, yet he always wants. It's like he has a black hole inside himself - and no matter what he gets - it falls into the black hole - so he has to go out and get more...

The more is everything from drink to women.

I don't think Sebastian is capable of love, because he doesn't love himself and he has no inclination to.

Hard words... I know... but Sebastian comes off as a very hard character to me.

(Just my opinion...)
"It's OK to be different, it's good to be different, we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, is a different color."

User avatar
Gilbert's Girl
Posts: 162534
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:14 am
Location: UK

Status: Offline

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:10 pm

I think I would agree with Linda's comments.I thought he had a very high opinion of himself and therefore high self esteem, although I agree it was partly how he projected himself too.

User avatar
stroch
Posts: 1287
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:41 pm
Location: New Orleans

Status: Offline

Unread postby stroch » Sun Apr 16, 2006 6:21 pm

I don't think he really does have a high opinion of himself. He seems to have such a core of despondency and fear that he can't get out of his own head. His play acting and manic behavior is the flip side of his despair. He is most certainly eager for sex where he can get it, but even so he often alludes to his failure to achieve satisfaction. He also mentions being mad quite often, despite his clear insights and lyrical language. He wants to be loved, but treats his lovers horribly. He wants to love, but is afraid.
I'll buy you the hat....a really big one.
St. Roch -- patron saint of pilgrims

User avatar
suec
Posts: 1381
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:57 pm
Location: uk

Status: Offline

Unread postby suec » Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:06 pm

I agree that he doesn't have a high opinion of himself. I think he doesn't love himself and doesn't expect to be loved by others. He states that Marian married him for his money. True or not, if it's what he thinks, then as far as he is concerned, she doesn't love him. I like PhD's point about driving others away or making sure that they see the very worst in him. That way, there are no letdowns later on.
He's a loner, and seems to have been for a very long time indeed. There is no mention of any family other than his father, that I can remember (?) and he is alienated from him. Perhaps he doesn't know what love is. There is a passage where he is reflecting on his past, after he has been turned away by the barman. (p121) He wasn't liked at school, but he also says, 'I never felt that these schools were good enough for me. I was aloof. Never seeking friends.' It continues with memories of encounters with girls. One, in particular, is a bleak account:
'you're faced with the blunt truth that they will get married and you won't and that they are going to hate their marriages but then they will have tea parties and cocktails and bridge while their husbands are sleeping with other men.' Her words, remembered years later. That's what he seems to do, have his own version of these pastimes, time-fillers.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

User avatar
gilly
Posts: 6552
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:14 pm
Location: australia

Status: Offline

Unread postby gilly » Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:03 pm

I think Sebastian wants to control his life and he is almost experimenting,toying with people...How far can I push someone?..I see him as a lonely character too,a loneliness that is self-imposed, because of his erratic path through life and the way he treats people...But I also see traces of beauty within him,with his descriptions,the way he appreciates the beauty in nature.There is a contradiction between his actions to the characters in the book,yet,in his descriptions,he often sees the value of people in their world...It reminds me of what someone said of Johnny in one of those biography programmes ..that he is able to strip away the pretense and the packaging that surrounds people and their actions...But to answer your question about love,DITHOIT..I really can't make up my mind..That is a really hard one.....I'll to have a rethink. :cool: ..
Life is beautiful.

I have faith in you.

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:18 pm

It seems that most of you think Sebastian does not have a high opinion of himself and is presenting a false front to the world to hide the fact that he feels unloveable. He pushes people away so he doesn't have to live up to any expectations or care about anyone or anything for more than the moment they are in his life to fullfill some need.

Linda B., I like your description It's like he has a black hole inside himself . He can't seem to fill whatever that need is inside him. Is it love? I don't know. He certainly seems to crave attention and disaster.

suec, you say Perhaps he doesn't know what love is. I think you might be on to something there. He wants invovlement and a human connection but doesn't really understand it as we think of love?

stroch, you said, He wants to love, but is afraid. I definitely detect fear in him. So much of his inner dialogue is manic and he seems at times to be fearful of spiraling out of control.

Great answers so far! :cool:
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!

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:21 pm

I think SD wanted love but didn’t know how to give it. I think he had a romantic idea of what love was—by Sebastian’s standards—not necessarily the standards of others. I think he was selfish and conceited and couldn’t really see past his own wants and needs.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
SamIam
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:15 am
Location: making grilled cheese
Contact:

Status: Offline

Unread postby SamIam » Mon Apr 17, 2006 5:40 pm

PhD wrote:Well, I'm probably giving S more credit than he deserves, but yes, I do think love was important to him. There are places in the book where you get glimpses of S's true character (the passage describing his arrival at Trinity being one of them), and he seems to have low self-esteem, to be self-conscious, unsure of himself, and shy. I think the S that we see during most of the book is a self-defense mechanism. It's a mask he puts on for the world. He doesn't want to be seen as he really is so he created an alternate persona. This persona is confident and doesn't worry about having a job or providing for a family. (I do think that as the book progresses, S begins to lose the line separating real S from created S).

He sabotages his relationships because he's afraid to let others see the real S. He's afraid they would reject him. So, he puts on the mask of the good-for-nothing S. That persona drives others away from him. He sabotages the relationship before he can be rejected. He sabotages the relationship before he can be seen as an inadequate partner, friend, or lover (for this is how he sees himself). If the other person stays in the relationship when faced with good-for-nothing S, it's okay. Their expectations for him aren't that high, so he can't disappoint them.

Maybe that's why Marion stayed for so long. Maybe she had known the real S and had trouble accepting that the real S wasn't around anymore .. he'd been essentially replaced by good-for-nothing S.

I'm not sure this makes sense... sorry!


Well said!
Ambition without inspiration is like a boat on dry land.

the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -Eleanor Roosevelt

User avatar
gilly
Posts: 6552
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:14 pm
Location: australia

Status: Offline

Unread postby gilly » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:06 pm

I've had a think about love and I'm not sure Sebastian loves anyone,though he professes to love O'Keefe..He does love money and postion and resents the fact he's saddled with a wife and child and does not have adequate independent means.He hates it that the clerk won't give him his cheque unless his wife signs for it too..He fantasises about being wealthy and seems preocuupied with poverty..He notices the poverty around him,often commenting on it....
Life is beautiful.



I have faith in you.


Return to “The Ginger Man”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest