The Story of O

22 May

Having finished this book only last night, I’m still reeling from the emotional turmoil that it tossed me into.  As previously mentioned on this blog, I’m a shade dramatic (especially when it comes to books!) but the Story of O is enough to make just about anyone crave a warm embrace and cup of tea. That said, I need to get this out and make peace with this piece.

I was often aroused by reading about the torments and enslavement of O (frequently guiltily so).  Subsequently enraptured by the philosophy of O’s mind, perhaps I was feeling the same duplicity that O herself felt:

“It was this same mouth which half gagging on the hardened flesh which filled it, murmured again, ‘I love you’.”

Guilt from the pleasure I took in O’s submission is likely what fueled my hunger for each ensuing page.  Like O, I was bound by it, and when we are bound, we’re given the freedom to experience that which we would ordinarily be forced to balk at; we are forced into to scorn by societal norms, our morals, and a universal right to self respect.  Again, like O, I realized that being “bound” granted me the freedom to enjoy those things and keep my love of self in tact.

“Beneath the gazes, beneath the hands, beneath the sexes that defiled her, the whips that rent her, [O] lost herself in a delirious absence from herself which restored her to love and, perhaps, brought her to the edge of death.”

This masterpiece abandons the carefree philosophy of the free-fall beginning and transitions into a sort of medieval asceticism towards the middle, wrought with religious overtones and punishment…

“[O] considered herself fortunate to count enough in [Rene’s] eyes for him to derive pleasure from offending her, as believers give thanks to God for humbling them.”

Call me blasphemous, but that is some powerful stuff, O.

In the final throes of this novel, we are invited to find pride when our heroine fully does:

“…[O] liked the idea of torture, but when she was being tortured herself she would have betrayed the whole world to escape it, and yet when it was over she was happy to have gone through it.  Happier still if it had been especially cruel or prolonged.”

And we find peace in our irons with O as well (I, personally, find the following excerpt – especially the second half -to be the most moving and telling passage in the entire text):

“[The Commander] circled her, studying her breasts, her thighs, her hindquarters, inspecting her in detail but offering no comment.  And this careful scrutiny and the presence of this gigantic body so close to her so overwhelmed O that she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to run away or, on the contrary, have him throw her down and crush her.

So upset was she that she lost control and raised her eyes toward Sir Stephen, searching for help.  He understood, smiled, came over to her, and taking both hands, pulled them behind her back, and held them in one of his.”

So, yes, I have ignored the Sapphic elements of this text.  And I’ve glossed over SO MUCH that it’s not even funny.  But, as I continue reminding myself, this is not an academic paper and I have no one to please but myself.

If you’re excited by the idea of spoilers, I’ll venture to say that the ending (which is only a POSTSCRIPT) is tragic, heart-wrenching, and intense.  It followed just what my lover told me when I started; the Dom will love his slave until he gets everything from her that he can. (Yes that was way too gender specific and I assume generally untrue in the real world.)  But in a way, it helped me to let go.  I’m no more inclined to embark on a 24/7, Master/slave journey than I was a week ago (not to say that’s an illegitimate way of life for some people).  In the end, however, I feel as though I’ve spent a few hundred pages inside the heart and head of a sub.  And I loved every bloody minute.

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