Sunday, May 30, 2010

Innocent Eréndira

Above, Eréndira washing her enormous and generously tattooed grandmother. The character of the rapacious grandmother seems very similar to the appetitive Yubaba character in Spirited Away, with her gems and mountains of pastry and ice cream.

What do you think this story is about? It could be the nightmarish logical conclusion of one person treating another as a possession. The end, the knowledge that comes to Eréndira at her freedom and immediately matures her face seems to me to be about the price of assuming responsibility for the self. Sometimes we'll put up with an enormous amount of pain, conspiring with our oppressors, simply to avoid seeing.

The last story of the Innocent Eréndira collection, the title story, brings back as supporting players some of the characters which appear in the earlier story. It's also suggested that the hero Ulises (a hero almost by default) is descended from the winged ancient in the first story, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings:

"The one with wings was my grandfather", Ulises answered in his natural way, "But nobody believed it".


15 comments:

Shayna Prentice said...

It is interesting how within the familiar one can come to know a sense of security, no matter how twisted the "familiar" things are. I think that in this story this truth is powerfully evident. The ways of numb existence that Eréndira learned from her heartless grandmother became her ways. Her own inner voice was too small, unformed, to try to rival them. As she grew, her voice grew with her. So true your words, that sometimes "we'll put up with pain ... simply to avoid seeing." Yes, when a person is being abused she has to shut down her tender vulnerable parts in order to survive. I think this story was essentially about being lost and then found. When Eréndira ran and ran I felt she was at last "feeling" ... and she did not want to stop feeling ever again - she was ready to claim herself and be free.

ArtSparker said...

Shayna, I think that's an optimistic take, for me it seemed as if she could no longer risk emotional engagement (with Ulises) because her grandmother had used it up.

Tammie Lee said...

I was not familiar with this story. Between you and Shayna I have a feel for it.
Your art looks so kind and giving as though there is a true immersion in the gift of caring.

steve said...

Yes, I do remember this character. Been a while since I've seen that film - absolutely love Spirited Away. I see tenderness in this drawing actually - someone setting aside their own wants and needs to take time out to care for a loved one. Beautifully drawn Susan.

aleph said...

I do agree with your point about the story. So I copy and paste "Sometimes we'll put up with an enormous amount of pain, conspiring with our oppressors, simply to avoid seeing" ´cause I myself find no "better" words than those of yours.
"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is a beautiful García Marquez´s story (the one I like the most) Did you see the film by Fernando Birri (Cuba, 1988)? I think Birri´s image-interpretation is interesting. Also I read that "loosing my religion" rem video has some inspiration on that story.
Your illustration is great, and the words "when a person is being abused she has to shut down her tender vulnerable parts in order to survive" are there, in the lines of your drawing.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Not having read /seen or knowing what in the name of Jehosephat you are talking about, I can only study your wonderful illustration and conclude that the fat Babooshka has outgown her tattoos, physically and metaphorically.She had dreamt of appearing on' Miami Ink' but was too late as there is not an inch of skin canvas left.She hopes her granddaughter(a kind of John the Baptist figure) can somehow wash away her age and Tattoos (both seen as sin in the eyes of the modern world), and begin again.Perhaps this can be interpreted as a desire to turn to catholicism.

ArtSparker said...

TFE- Close enough for government work.

Charles Gramlich said...

A tatooed grandmother. Sounds like a charcter from Ray Bradbury.

the watercats said...

'I'm also unaware of this story, but I absolutely loved spirited away! I've been meaning to come here for a long time I keep seeing you on the bloggy radar. I can see now why! Your eyes are amazing!
:-D

Laura said...

not familiar either, but the imagery is powerful. shayna's ideas resonate with me, if only because i have had the experience of deciding it was better to feel and be uncomfortable than to not feel and be safe.

Titus said...

Stunning image and very acute perception. It is an old tale, beautifully told.

Cobalt Violet said...

Wow, I saw Spirited Away after wrist surgery and was coming a little spacey and don't remember a lot except loving it. The image you created is beautiful and at first look (before reading anything) I didn't see the "tattoos" but images about a woman's life written on her body. Anyway... it's an amazing work!

donny* said...

love this illustration. never read that one, but seems like it would fit a garcia marquez story perfectly.

rosedale's 4head said...

have the book. love the story. love love love insanely in love with Gabriel Garcia Marquez! your illustration is humbly fascinating!

justdoodleit said...

Fantastic story and fascinating image.