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Story of O - Pauline Reage

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Author: Pauline Reage / Genre: Fiction

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      07.12.2001 12:27
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      The story of O, probably one of the most famous erotic novellas ever written next to the Marquis deSade's 120 days in Sodom. However to call this little book an erotic book would be selling it short and missing the bigger point. I have had many people read this book and even required in some of the seminars I have taught in architecture school. I know the book really has nothing to do with architecture but it was my seminar. Typically most women find the book annoying because they see O as weak and disgustingly submissive. Well she was but that is just the foreground. You have to look at the middleground and the background to fully appreciate the whole story. The Middleground: O was also about the will. The will to subjugate your will still takes strong will does it not. I know this is a tough one so try this, To make no decesion about something is still a decesion equally as hard to decide. So to give over ones will entirely as O did still requires alot of will. For example she may have been asked to do somethings she found disgusting but her desire to be submissive was stronger than her desire to be comfortable. The pleasure principal is still in effect although the reward is layered. The story uses sex to illustrate this for many reasons, one being it probably keenly interested the author ( read Mina's review for some histoty on the book ) but sex also touches one of the most accessible taboos. I would ask each person I asked to read it to put themselves in O's situation. What would they do for love. To be in love is to loose one's freedom is it not? Love obligates us to at the very least consider someone or something else in our actions. The story of O takes this love/ loss of freedom to the extreme in the form of sex slavery and bondage but it is relevant nonetheless. So love presupposes a loss of total freedom but it gives us something in return...hapiness. So do we conclude that being totally free is not being happy. Well,
      yes if it means we are not obligated to anything, or anyone. We have nothing that we care about and therefore we are free and alone. OK here it goes...Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose...thank you Janis Joplin. The Background: Now we have to look at the willing loss of will historically within the context of greater reward and rapture. As your love for God commands that you do his will so you must give yourself unto to him. His love you shall know and you shall seek your reward in the kingdom of God. This is not a quote from anything but a paraphrase of the general idea. To have total faith in God means you have to totally give your will to him and do his will. Most of the time this is not so difficult...ok it can be difficult as sin is an awfully fun thing. But in general we all can do "good" and we know right from wrong. But what happens when what God commands of you is something you find difficult if not horrible. What if God asks you to sacrifice your son upon the alter. Now what do you do? God has asked you to kill and whats worse your son. But God's law tells you not to kill. Is God testing your adherance to his law or his will, and are not they the same. What if it was the devil posing as God who asked you to sacrifice your son. If you do it will God be angry although you acted in what you thought was his will, or will he be angry that you didn't even though you thought it was his will. And then what if at the last moment an angel told you it was ok to stop and sacrifice a lamb caught in a bush instead. Is this God's will or another trick by the devil. The story of O illustrates the incredible complex dilema with chosing to not to chose, with willingly having no will and thereby having incredible will. I prefer the second ending because it best illustrates the total despair with taking this train of thought to the extreme. For most of us we will never understand a love so deep and a pain to match. <
      br> In close read the book several times. And if you think this one is deep try "the story of the eye" by Georges Batille.

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        06.06.2001 19:07
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        When one thinks about the words "the Fifties" and "sex" together, they conjure up images of repression and moral self-righteousness - but when you consider that Pauline Reage wrote the "Story of O" in the early part of that decade, it causes you to review your thinking somewhat. Then again, any book which has been banned for as long as this one was, has got to be good. And it is. Set mostly in and around Paris, it tells the story of a woman who would do anything for love, including being led to a chateau on the outskirts of the city where she is "given" to any man who wants her, where she is subjected to domination, torture and where she begins to learn the art of pleasing men. While the subject matter may shock the hearts and minds of feminists and the gender equality doctrine of today, this is what I'd call an adult fairy tale. And also, it is a rock around which those who believe in the more traditional/natural roles of the sexes can rally. Yes, it is just a story, just fiction but it is powerful fiction. It tells of a love which transcends the greed and comfort of modern times, a love which will suffer humiliation, indignity and pain for it's focus. And even if you find the acts not to your taste, the philosophy behind the "love which knows no bounds" is something rare and precious - especially nowadays. Titilating? Yes. Erotic? Definitely. But a love story....? Absolutely. O's adventures through the Chateau Roissy and beyond, through her own inner turmoil at the thought that she is still - even though she has allowed herself to be put through the physical and mental rigours of the chateau - on the brink of losing her lover, is an eye-opening journey. The story is powerful yet understated. Erotic yet not "smutty". It is dignified pornography - and more, it is a journey of awakening when pain and torture become pleasura
        ble, not only for themselves, but for the greater good, for the love one woman's heart bears for the men in her life that she must show it through her submission to their will and desires. This is also - strangely - a book about the nobility of the soul where one woman, through her initially unlooked for submission, comes to realise that without it, she is more naked than when she is standing stripped before strange men who will put her body to their own uses. Whatever your opinions of the roles of the sexes, this is a book which is both eye-opening and fascinating. Either a fantasy or a nightmare, depending on your point of view but nevertheless, it is a spellbinding journey into the darker thoughts, passions and practices of men and women. I personally find the alternative ending to this novel at once disturbing, fascinating and darkly beautiful - even although it encompasses only two sentences. The sequel - the Story of O Part Two - while not being quite as gripping as the original, is also worth while reading just to tie up the loose ends of Part One. And the preface gives an interesting insight into both the author and the birth of the Story of O itself.

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          10.12.2000 01:33
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          why on earth would anyone want to read the story of o in this day and age? Think of the story of o as a classic, I like to compare it to The Hobbit, for example, you may not have read it, but you know it exists. I can give you a few reasons for reading this book. One of the first is because the story was written by a woman, so it's quite an eye opener. The central character, O,(of course she doesn't have a proper name!) undertakes slave training at a very liberated gentleman's club, suffers torments and has her will broken, and ends up genitally pierced. It doesn't sound funny, and it's not. This is the book, however, that most people involved in the fetish community will know of, even if they havent read it. Why a story about a house where woman are kept in submission to men's desires, barely dressed, and if dressed, dressed in a servile fashion, should appeal to people is something that you should possibly consider making your mind up about. If this was the first book to be well known for this type of thing, then elements of it can be found in several contemporary genres, in film, 9 1/2 weeks, for instance, where a woman is manipulated by a dominant man. It's not blatently peverse, such as any of de sades writings, and I dont think it will ever go out of print. As a fiction it was thought ground breaking in it's day, but it is more to do with the inner details of "O"s mind, if you read it carefully, and the fundamental human attributes of jealousy, possession and self will.

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