Continental drift : bob and marguerite

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  • Publié le : 28 novembre 2010
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Commentary n°3

Continental Drift is one of the most famous novels written by Russel Banks. It portrays America in the late seventies and early eighties through the story of two characters bothtrying to start a new life. This excerpt can be found in the 4th section of the novel : Making a killing and more precisely at the end of it.

The first point I am going to focus on is therelationship between Bob and Marguerite. Then I will develop on the notion of the New World

I – An unusual relationship

We can clearly see that this passage, which is a memory of Bob cheating on his wifefor the second time, allows the reader to witness two characters, different in many ways, being attracted by each other. It is striking by its unusualness.

a) A taste of forbidden romanceBanks tackles here the question of race. By putting together a black woman and a white man, the author confronts the reader to stereotypes and preconceptions.

NEWNESS/NOVELTY : Bob is seduced by theidea that Marguerite means something new to him. He has some preconceptions of black people which feed his imagination and his desire for the woman.

DESIRE : In facts, Bob is not able to hide hiseagerness. He tries to rush things which can be shown by adjectives like “persistent” l.30 or “determined to wake his lover and not her maid” l.31. The fact that he fails but doesn't give up on what hewants is another manifestation of his desire. The enumeration, the accumulation of verbs of action insists on the pace of what is happening. It gives an impression of rapidity which insists on thedesire of Bob but also on the intensity of the scene.

PASSION : Bob describes Marguerite as “very passionate” l. 9, says she “bites”. It gives the impression that Marguerite is seen as an animal. Itemphasizes on a kind of animal instinct. Bob is also portrayed with a bestial behavior through adjectives such as “hungrily” and “noisily” l.47 Bob experiences here some kind of freedom thanks to...