ATLA Question #16 ~ An Early Departure

by Simone de Beauvoir

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ATLA Question #16 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:36 am

pg. 196

"Simone de Beauvoir was to travel for three months with Algren. A few days before her departure, she decided to spend only two months with Algren, waiting to tell him face to face..."

Did her decision to shorten her trip and/or how she chose to tell him surprise you?
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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby fansmom » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:02 pm

I think it was at about that point in the letters that I realized she had disappointed me (and probably Algren) over and over. Her words said one thing: "Oh my darling, my husband, I dream of your arms around me," but her actions said, "Here is the little bit of my life I am allowing you."

Usually I'm a supporter of strong, self-assertive women, but she seemed hypocritical.

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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby Liz » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:37 pm

Yeah. I was surprised. That’s when I realized the hold Sartre had over her—and I didn’t even realize to what extent then. I was pretty angry with her at the time. The anger increased when I read what she said about her reasons in Force of Circumstance. I couldn’t believe that she had lied to him. In case you missed the rest of the story, see this pre-bit I posted: :grr:

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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:56 pm

Thanks for posting the link to that pre-tidbit, Liz. I remembered reading that she had cut one of her trips short in order to help Sartre with something but I couldn't link it to this incident.

I am not sure what existentialism is exactly, but more and more it appears to be concern with self and no conscience about collateral damage. She goes on about how Nelson pouted and behaved badly! Should she have not expected a reaction like that when she announced she never intended to stay three months? It seems like she doesn't have enough sense to be ashamed of herself, although obviously she knew Nelson would be disappointed or she would have been upfront with him about the visit. And then she goes back to writing all this romantic mushy stuff to him. :banghead: And he, apparently, isn't smart enough to drop her after she treats him so deceitfully. :banghead: I don't get it. Simone must have been a very charismatic person to get by with some of the stunts she pulled!

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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby gemini » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:25 pm

Did her decision to shorten her trip and/or how she chose to tell him surprise you?
This didn’t surprise me at all!
Like her first trip to America when Sartre asked her to extend her stay for 10 day because Dolores Vanetti (Called M in Liz’s tidbit) was staying longer in Paris, this is no different. At least the extra week on the first trip sealed her relationship with Algren :grin:

The back-story for this cut in vacation time was again due to Dolores change of plans. Sartre had agreed to Simone being with Algren for 4 months because Dolores Vanetti was to be in Paris for that time. Simone made her plans accordingly. Dolores changed her mind, annoyed at Sartre and his women, she rejected him. Sartre immediately started an affair with another American, Sally Swing. (Does he keep them lined up waiting or what?) Simone, leery of leaving Sartre alone when she was not asked to be gone, decided to cut her vacation with Algren short. She has a pattern here of always choosing Sartre over Algren. I also think her waiting until they were into their trip to let Algren know she was cutting it short was unforgivable and she was selfish. (Sorry I know I use that word a lot with her).
I also read recently that Sally Swing, (Sally Shelly) was one of several women Sartre asked to marry. I knew of Dolores Vanetti, Wanda, and Lena Zonina, but I’ll bet there were more. This may have influenced Simone to cut her trip short too. She had a problem with any of his women who got too serious.

Again, I am in Algren’s corner and I thought he took it well despite her remarks about his mood. He should have been mad as hell.
Last edited by gemini on Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:47 pm

It just seemed so controlling and selfish to me. In her letters (and we assume in his as well) they had been planning and talking about this for such a long time. I was totally taken aback that she would cut it short and then not tell him. Maybe she felt she would soften the blow if she told him in person but then she waited and waited, probably scared of his reaction. It made me feel that she was not as serious about him as we were led to believe (and maybe Nelson was led to believe).
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Wow! What a ride!

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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:06 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:It just seemed so controlling and selfish to me. In her letters (and we assume in his as well) they had been planning and talking about this for such a long time. I was totally taken aback that she would cut it short and then not tell him. Maybe she felt she would soften the blow if she told him in person but then she waited and waited, probably scared of his reaction. It made me feel that she was not as serious about him as we were led to believe (and maybe Nelson was led to believe).

How serious could she have been? She always made it clear to him that she could not give herself entirely to him. For my old fashioned mind, that isn't very serious at all.

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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby Liz » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:13 pm

gemini wrote: selfish. (Sorry I know I use that word a lot with her).

If the shoe fits.....
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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby gemini » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:14 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:It just seemed so controlling and selfish to me. In her letters (and we assume in his as well) they had been planning and talking about this for such a long time. I was totally taken aback that she would cut it short and then not tell him. Maybe she felt she would soften the blow if she told him in person but then she waited and waited, probably scared of his reaction. It made me feel that she was not as serious about him as we were led to believe (and maybe Nelson was led to believe).


This reminds me of something Algren said to Simone about always getting her way. Don’t ask me to find it, I have no idea where I saw it. Maybe one of you will remember. Anyway its along the line that she acts like she is so acceptable to all his ideas but they always end up doing what she wants. The reason I find it amusing now is I’m reading about Sartre and he says he is a city guy and hates the outdoors and would rather stay in his room and write than travel, but somehow Simone had him hiking half the country side of France and bicycling for years.
Dithot I think she was as serous about him as was possible for her, but she always had someone to fall back on should things not work out.
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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby Liz » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:18 pm

nebraska wrote: Simone must have been a very charismatic person to get by with some of the stunts she pulled!

It would seem. :eyebrow: I was never even in her presence, and I want to give her the benefit of the doubt.....and that's after knowing all I do about her (more than Algren ever knew at the time).
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby Buster » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:00 pm

Now I'm starting to envy all of you who have read the rest of deBeuavoir's memoirs.
I've been reading Algren, trying to get a sense of place and intention from him.
Mostly, perhaps because I tire quickly of intrigue and politics, I was actually quite glad when Simone laid out her plans. I think in some ways, that her honesty actually turned them into friends..an outcome we all embrace.

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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:50 pm

Buster wrote:Now I'm starting to envy all of you who have read the rest of deBeuavoir's memoirs.
I've been reading Algren, trying to get a sense of place and intention from him.
Mostly, perhaps because I tire quickly of intrigue and politics, I was actually quite glad when Simone laid out her plans. I think in some ways, that her honesty actually turned them into friends..an outcome we all embrace.


I am curious what you are reading of Algren. I am reading the Man With the Golden Arm, but I find I get a better feel for him from Art Shay's photo books.

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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby Buster » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:56 pm

I've been sitting in my decrepit car in the parking lot reading The Neon Wilderness at lunch break.

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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby gemini » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:06 pm

Nebraska, and Buster,
Does Algren's writing shed any light on his outlook? Anything we can learn about him? Does he let his views come though or just stick to telling a story? What does Art Shay say about him?


Buster said
I think in some ways, that her honesty actually turned them into friends..an outcome we all embrace.
It did for awhile and then it had the opposite effect.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



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Re: ATLA Question #15 ~ An Early Departure

Unread postby Liz » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:41 pm

gemini wrote:Nebraska, and Buster,
Does Algren's writing shed any light on his outlook? Anything we can learn about him? Does he let his views come though or just stick to telling a story? What does Art Shay say about him?


Buster said
I think in some ways, that her honesty actually turned them into friends..an outcome we all embrace.
It did for awhile and then it had the opposite effect.

And I would like to know why it is you feel that you don't get a good feel for him from The Man with the Golden Arm. I guess that's pretty much the same question as Gemini asked. :lol:
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.


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