So…you find that weird…

Alright classmates, I believe it is about that time to go there. By there, I mean talking about Little C. And by talking about Little C, I mean I’m going to say that the whole premise is NOT. THAT. WEIRD. At least not in some of the senses that first spring off the page when reading the short story written by Martha Nussbaum. As I sound more and more crazy to everyone, I suppose i should argue a bit for my position.

Nussbaum’s short story revolves around an older woman and her interactions with her “child”. Many of the woman’s interactions and feeling toward her young “son” are completely inapropriate and wholly taboo in our culture. The woman’s grossest violation of cultural norms are first, being sexually attracted to her strapping young boy, and second, being ever so sad that he can’t be a little bit sexier for her (and I’m not even going to mention the forced opera attendances, those might just be too disgusting for this particular blog).  Clearly we are dealing with a sick, evil, demented woman. Well……

Here is where I return to the terms “child” and “son”. There is a problem with using those words; Little C is NOT her son. She did not bear this child, and  she was not even expecting it until the second it arrived. The boy in this story is rather her husband. And I say husband not holding back either. She received as a gift the renewal of her late lover informally known as Big C. With that, how can it be argued that she should not maintain strong feelings of sexual desire and marital love toward the little boy. When the woman speaks or interacts with Little C, she is not doing it as if it is her bouncing baby boy. She rather loves, desires, and raises an ever-growing recreation of someone she already has feeling established for.

I see a realism in the character’s interaction with the clone which makes it even less strange to me, and I would like to bring up a toned down example of the situation. My childhood dog was about the best friend a young boy could have, but poor Copper’s longevity was much to short for my liking. I had an established relationship with that great pup running so deep within me that I still long to renew it. Fortunately, science says this may some day be possible. The ability of creating an identical dog to fill the void in my petless heart is truly possible, and I’d find it hard to think that if I am looking at the perfect duplicate of my former friend that I wouldn’t have the same feelings from our previous relationship well up inside of me.

I know of the other factors that make this story weird, and Nussbaum’s writing does still put me off a little bit. Clones are not the same people as the donor of their DNA as we have learned, but one must admit it is hard to tell at times. So when I see my former dog standing in front of me, it will be tough to hold off on the love that already exists for it; the same dilemma Nussbaum’s character did for her “son”. This is why I state now, “Little C is not that weird”.



~ by aldymane on February 10, 2012.

2 Responses to “So…you find that weird…”

  1. It’s true that Little C is not this woman’s biological child and so ideas of incest are unfounded and purely formed by the sociological idea of mother and son. It is also entirely understandable that her grief and desire to be reunited with her lover explain how she could attempt to put all of the emotions she once carried for her lover onto his clone. However, I think that the important element that does make this story so uncomfortable and creepy is that the clone was given to her as a baby and biological or not she did raise this infant as a mother would raise a son. Though the woman may only see the clone in terms of her lover, the real problem is that the clone is confused with images of this woman as not only his mother but also a potential, future lover. As he grows up and realizes that he has not met her expectations he feels rejected and unworthy and clearly confused on how his relationship with his pseudo mother and failed lover now stands. This deformation of the child to parent bond and taboo mixture of erotic and maternal love almost seem like a form of child abuse that could severely harm a person’s future mental well being. It is for these reasons that I think Little C is so weird and uncomfortable to read, not the biological idea of mother and child or the idea of cloning to replace a loved one.
    –Negative Nancy

  2. I agree with you. There are still aspects of the story that are more than just a little strange. The maternal aspect of the clone and woman’s relationship is far and away creepy. I chose to leave that aspect out of my argument to focus on the claims of incest I heard coming out of our class discussion which I felt were not grounded.

    – Aldymane

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