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The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story - Chpt 7

 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:06 pm    Post subject: The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story - Chpt 7 Reply with quote

From that point on, he no longer hit Morn Hyland.

This is Angus in the grip of obsession.

She was his, and he was ready, eager, to use her hard; but he didn't want her damaged.

Here is the kind of statement we see quite often during Morn's abuse. Angus is driven to repeat these facts to himself, to remind himself of his desires. To convince himself.

Driven by anger and grief, and by a vague, inexplicable sense that he was no longer in control of his life, he used her so hard that several days passed before he could begin teaching her how to help him with Bright Beauty.

At the end of the previous chapter, we saw his desires frustrated. He wanted more than just to pleasure himself with Morn; he wanted her to do it by choice, motivated by fear and not compulsion. But, he realised, he could not risk allowing her any freedom, in case she attempted revenge. He had no choice but to keep her entirely under the control of the zone implant.

And so, the next few days are spent in empty, almost masturbatory acts of lust. He cannot have her the way he wants, and so he puts his full attention into having her the only way is is able. He convinces himself that this is the way he wants it, covers his dissatisfaction with increasing acts of degradation.

The more he saw of her helpless beauty, and the more he exercised himself on her flesh, the greater her hold on his imagination became--the more power she seemed to have over him.

So determined is he to believe that this is what he wants, that he does begin to believe it. To convince himself, he must focus all his energies into believing; he pours himself into a fixation on these acts; the worst perversions become "exciting, even compulsory", as he sinks himself deeper and deeper into a self-delusion of desire.
With all the attention going to constructing this fantasy, his usual concerns are pushed aside--his ship sits unmoving, damaged, vulnerable to capture. "He should have been on his way to the nearest bootleg shipyard days ago." Instead he thinks of more ways to use Morn.

He still, at this point, needs to satisfy the other part of his desire, impossible under the control he has of her, and so the outlet came from "the periods when he released her from the zone implant's control so that he could take a look at her despair, abhorrence, nausea--look at them and savour them".

The fact that he wants the abhorrence is part of a larger delusion of his. So maligned has he been, that he has brought himself to revel in it--he cultivates the image of him as "bloated with malice", takes pride in the acts which cause the most hurt. When Morn asks, "Why are you doing this?" he offers us "a little stroy to help you understand." And it does, though not in the way that he believes it to.

Morn at this point is, from Angus' perspective, nearly broken. "He had seen sewer-rats on Com-Mine Station and elsewhere, derelicts, nerve-juice addicts, even null-wave transmitters with more energy and hope than she showed." And yet this cannot be entirely true, because when Angus gives only empty answers to her question, she tells him: "You can do better than that."
I have a hard time imagining anyone whose spirit was broken coming out with such a response.
Whatever Morn's state, Angus' delusions have reached a point where he seems to have begun to feel some kind of intimacy with her, and his response to her is open.

As a child, Angus was arrested--for stealing food, a fact that has since incorporated itself fully into his dislike for the establishment--and sent to a reform school.
His digression here is revealing--"Angus had no wish to think about being locked up. If he did, he would lose his present sense of indulgence and fall into a fury." Angus shows us here one of his fears, and fury suggests it comes from bad experiences in his past.
From Angus descriptions, it is clear he was lucky--he had only one roommate, whereas "crowded three or four into a room was more like it". This roommate, Scarl, is good to him--"Taught me how the school worked. Didn't let the big shits pound me. Showed me how to get perks--how to lift treats--how to be on the nice-kid list." And yet Angus resents him for it. The resentment seems to come from the fact that he has reformed--Angus sees this as a defeat; he is the cops example of success, and so he is a symbol of the authority he hates. And yet he also on the other hand portrays his roommate as having played the system: "He already figured out the way to beat them was to be their darling". In this opposite view Angus almost seems to resent Scarl's success in 'beating' the cops. Angus almost seems not to really know why he hated Scarl; the inconsistency is of the kind that comes from a long attempt to justify something that cannot quite be explained.

When Angus strikes out at someone, he strikes hard. "When he saw all that stuff in his locker, good old Scarl fainted."
As before, he wants to be proud of his actions, to think of himself as the bad guy, but whatever he had convinced himself of to justify it, it will never quite ring true:

Angus forced a guffaw, but it wasn't particularly successful. For some reason, the pleasure of what he'd done to Scarl had lost its flavour. There was a bitter taste in his mouth, as if someone had cheated him.

As is evident to the reader, Angus had cheated himself. His adolescent frustrations had been taken out on an innocent, and had only made his own life worse.

"I got put in a room with a bunch of motherfuckers who liked to cornhole me when they didn't have anything better to do."

Of course, Morn calls him on the irrationality of it all. "Betraying him probably hurt you worse than it did him."
And Angus runs. He seals his shipsuit--closes up after his previous openness, and locks himself back up behind his old justifications and delusions.

"It felt good. That's what it has to do with you. It felt good."

He started to leave in disgust; his back was turned when she said softly, thinly, "Stop this."

Angus is on the defensive when Morn makes her plea. First he defelcts her: "What happened to being a cop? What happened to all those threats?" And as she goes on, he finds himself vulnerable to her.

"For one strange moment, Angus found himself listening to her as if he could be persuaded--as if she had the power to make him pity her."

But the change in him, the strange switch from villain to victim of his own flaws, is not quite ready to occur. He catches himself opening to her, and "the odd emotion she aroused turned to fear and anger."

"No," he rasped. "I'm never going to stop. I'm never going to stop hurting you. You're too frightened. That's what I like."
Before she could upset him any more, he left her alone so she could use the san or rest, do whatever she wanted to get herself ready for him.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a point of detail I missed when writing my dissection which has since occured to me, and I think it adds a bit of clarity. The reason Angus throws himself with such abandon into the acts of depravity, the reason he needs to convince himself, is because he is afraid. He cannot release Morn from the zone implant's control, because he fears what she could do to him. So he can only keep her in full control; his actions are an attempt to convince himself that he is doing this because he wants to, not because he is too scared of her to do it another way. That is why Morn has power over him.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job. Yes, I agree that he uses her with such desperate depravity because he fears her, and he fears the changes she is awakening within himself. He doesn't like the pity she is arousing. He doesn't like seeing himself in her--seeing his own state as a victim. He wants power, and he thinks that by raping her he is exhibiting his power, his freedom. But, as with Scarl, his acts of revenge and aggression are really just digging this hole deeper. His actions are going to do exactly what happened with Scarl: put him in a jail cell, put him under the power of others.

I think one of the most interesting parts of this psychological examination is how Angus thinks he needs her abhorrence, her fear, her nausea. You make a good point that this is a false need. I think it is tied to the power thing: he wants to know he can break her, and if she's scared and sick of him, then he thinks that confirms his power over her. But it is also tied to how he is losing power: he needs her to want him. But he doesn't want to admit this need, so he pretends that he needs just the opposite. He pretends to relish in her abhorrence, but like his revenge upon Scarl, it's no longer fulfilling. It just perpetuates the very things which makes him scared and hateful. And lonely. Crying or Very sad

Poor Angus. Laughing

What Donaldson does with despicable motherf*ckers is amazing. Reading his work, I keep asking myself, "My god, what did this guy do that makes him feel so guilty?"
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand Angus' actions a lot better on this read than when I first read this book. Since that time, I was married to a person who lived in total fear of people hurting her. So her response was to control everyone around her. Not for the feeling of power, but out of the fear that if I don't control everyone they *might* hurt me. I see this in Angus' actions now.
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