– The Mandarins –

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Whilst writing stories and an essay based on my experiences with feminism and sex work, I managed to find time for Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Mandarins”.

Even only read two chapters only, but already we could feel the distinction in every character in the novel – Henri a free-spirited man who want to do things in his own will, Paula the clingy wife of Henri who literally couldn’t live without him, Robert a friend of Henri who in the book was famous for always trying to force people to do things for him (e.g. Forcing Henri to promote SRL (a communist group) in newspapers managed by Henri), Anne his conventional wife who watched people quietly, Nadine their daughter was a hungry teenager or young woman, hungry to taste the world.

Each seemed want to make a kind of progress on the things they want in life – Henri on independence, Paula for Henri to love her and not leave her. Yet at the same time, they both seemed trapped by their own desire, which some contradicted with the reality they experiences. For example, Henri was under questions over to let Robert promote SRL through his newspaper, or tell him to feck off.

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