Monday, January 10, 2011
Role of Liza, The Prostitute
Since we haven't fully discussed Liza's role in Notes from Underground in class yet, I thought we could talk about her signifiance on the blog. I believe that Liza's character and her interaction with the young Underground Man serve to justify his withdrawn and defeated personality at age 40. Although it is possible that the Underground Man loved Liza, he was incapable of demonstrating care and affection toward her. Instead, he chastised her. This attack could have been an extremely brutal attempt to save her from debauchery, or rather, a vicious attempt to assert his authority over an individual in order to gain power. In fact, the Underground Man himself expresses this inability to engage in a loving relationship as he explains, "With me loving meant tyrannising and showing my moral superiority...Love really consists in the right – freely given by the beloved object – to tyrannise over her...I did not imagine love except as a struggle. I began it always with hatred and ended it with moral subjugation, and afterwards I never knew what to do with the subjugated object." I believe that the Underground Man's choice to attack such a compassionate person prevents the reader from sympathizing with him. How do you all think Liza adds to the dynamic of the novella?