Euphemism: The Woman Who Walked Into Doors

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Register to read the introduction… However, the phrase, itself an evasive one, is rarely spoken, and only by Paula herself. In the hospital, Paula perceives the doctors colluding with Charlo, both of them thinking that her clumsiness is to blame: “The two of them [Charlo and the doctor], looking after me. Laughing at me. The woman who walked into doors. They didn’t wink at each other because they didn’t have to” (190). In this case, Charlo of course knows that Paula has not walked into a door; that “the didn’t have to wink” suggests that the doctor knows as well but is willing to accept Charlo’s unspoken excuse. But it is Paula, not Charlo, not the doctor, who articulates this excuse, “the woman who walked into …show more content…
In the hospital, waiting for treatment, Paula hears a woman telling the nurse that she has walked into a door. The woman’s injuries seem far too serious to be explained by walking into a door: “she was in a very bad way, shaking and gulping.” Despite this, Paula says that “it never dawned on me that she was lying, the same way I always lied. I believed her completely” (TW 200). Still, Paula has to create even more back-story to explain the violence of the injury; Paula thinks that she “must have been running after the kids or something” in order to have hit the door that hard (TW 200). Furthermore, Paula then “envies” this woman her “honest accidents” and blames herself for the violence Charlo has done to her (TW 200). This scene is so distressing because it demonstrates the power of the society to silence subaltern discourse, in this case the discourse of domestic violence. This has immediate political implications: because their discourse is so thoroughly silenced, they cannot, in Marx’s terms, become conscious and form a class (or a political constituency). The moment at which Paula sees another victim of abuse could be a moment of group consciousness, but it is not. Framing this moment as a foreclosed political possibility reminds us that civil divorce was not yet legal in Ireland: the government legalized divorce in 1996, the same year that Doyle

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