In Colette’s Ch ” er i, the main character L’ea is a lustful middle-aged woman who has become lovers with a younger fellow named Ch ” er i. At the beginning of the novel, their relationship is portrayed as being thick with devotion and seems likely to endure forever. But by the end, the two have split indefinitely, leaving L’ea with unanswered passion from Ch ” er i. What could have caused this relationship to crumble to the point of extinction, even while their love was so strong for each other? L’ea’s increasing overconfidence toward her relationship with Ch ” er i leads to her hopeless state of na ” iv ety. She becomes so encompassed with thoughts of only Ch ” er i and that she would do anything for Ch ” er i, that he ends up taking advantage of her; in the process, however, he also robs L’ea of her freedom to love someone else passionately.
Since L’ea is a respectable amount of years older than Ch ” er i, she believes that it is her duty to have Ch ” er i taken care of physically and emotionally. For one, the age difference between her and her lover secures her in this thought. She becomes so confident in retaining Ch ” er i under her wing for six years, that she is bold enough to liken their relationship to “an adoption” (7).
L’ea, at times, even views Ch ” er i as her son and herself as the mother, and the distinction in their age clearly supports her theory.
When it comes to relationship, age really should not matter it should be up ... will ultimately make their union succeed or fail. Age differences in relationships are a funny thing as time passes by ... by now we would become insensitive to relationships that are big age gaps, since we see them daily on ... our noses in and passing judgment on relationships that have a big age difference. We truly do not know ...
She recognizes though, and is even embarrassed to admit, that their relationship has gone on longer than it should have, longer than any she has ever had (7).
Here, time alone contributes to Cheri’s emerging dominance. This blind sense of power that L’ea experiences, however, leads her mind to return to a state of na ” iv ety. L’ea is once again an adolescent but Ch ” er i is no longer her bachelor, rather, he takes on the role of her parent. At the moment that she feels as if the relationship is in her control, L’ea unknowingly grants Ch ” er i the leadership to their love.
When L’ea is finally secure enough to admit that their love might actually last and that she is confident in keeping the controls, this is the point where she looses her hold on Ch ” er i, and he is instead dominant over her. Although L’ea’s na ” iv ety leads to Ch ” er i’s supremacy, it is also due to Ch ” er i’s realization that he is a man capable of controlling women, especially vulnerable, older women that leads to Ch ” er i’s dominion. Since Ch ” er i is the younger of the two lovers, it is only natural that his sexual life will last longer than L’ea’s will. Although Ch ” er i realizes this late in the novel (page 132), he nonetheless realizes it. Ch ” er i is married to Edm ” ee, but is still having a fling with L’ea. He does feel love and is pleased that they are “together again,” but tricks L’ea into believing that that’s the whole truth (132).
While L’ea displays true affection toward Ch ” er i, he in return suggests that his exchange of women between L’ea and Edm ” ee is merely a game to him, and that no matter what the outcome, he will still have a woman to love. This plan that Ch ” er i has in the back of his mind is proceeding only with the assistance of L’ea’s ignorance. L’ea believes that Edm ” ee is no match for an experienced woman like her, and she is right. Edm ” ee is at an infant age of twenty (compared to L’ea’s forty-nine) and is not able to be “sobbing with ecstasy” or be as passionate as L’ea (116).
And this is the beauty in Ch ” er i’s plan: if L’ea hadn’t been ignorant to Edm ” ee’s and Ch ” er i’s situation, then she never would have been na ” ive enough to grant Ch ” er i full control of her relationship with him in the first place. After all, one can’t forget that Ch ” er i does leave L’ea hopeless and alone at the end of the novel.
Judith Minty, Marge Piercy, and Judith Viorst are all authors of poems about women in romantic relationships and, how the women are depicted in these relationships. These authors seem to depict women through their works as dependent, weak and helpless beings. Minty and Piercy tend to use metaphors along with imagery and personification, in order to convey the emotion of the women characters. In ...
It is up to L’ea to figure out the enigma in front of her, but she can’t seem to decipher that Ch ” er i is merely playing with her like he plays a game. L’ea is lusting after him and likewise, imagines that every “outline of a figure in the mist” could be one of Ch ” er i (127).
She is finally dumbstruck when he reemerges in her life after a belated homecoming and expects everything to go back to how it used to be. At this point, L’ea still makes herself believe that she is in control of their relationship, so she displays little affection towards Ch ” er i trying to make him beg for her passion. Within time, though, L’ea is the one helplessly in love with him again and falls hard for Ch ” er i one last time, a time that her love will never fall out of. As Ch ” er i picks up on the sudden change of emotion outpouring from L’ea, he realizes that his plan of dominating women is progressing and, therefore, inevitable.
After Ch ” er i has acquired what he came for (love), he forces L’ea deeper into his plan: “you ” ll be better at home” is what he is waiting for (154).
Almost at the cue, although with a slight fight, he leaves, “escaping from the prison” house and filling “his lungs with the fresh air,” satisfied that his youthful charm has done the trick once more. Ch ” er i’s sudden departure for his wedding and at the end of the novel clearly shows his ability to control L’ea. He is so powerful, in fact, that L’ea is no longer able to love someone else passionately. At Ch ” er i’s primary departure for his wedding, L’ea even has to lie about having a new lover; the love that she possesses for Ch’s imply too strong for her to ignore, although she doesn’t mind lying to others to show a seemingly transitory recovery. She simply doesn’t want people to know that Ch ” er i has affected her, a courtesan.
... time, clich " es imposed concerning relationships were plentiful. For example, Hero and Claudio's almost robotic relationship is acknowledged as a 'Courtly love' relationship: the relationship ... is modelled on the feudal relationship ... in complete control of the love relationship, while he owes her obedience and ...
She wants to prove to others, though distorting it to herself, that she is capable of terminating her feelings for Ch ” er i just like he is capable of denying her as well. L’ea’s strength is clearly also her weakness: although she possesses the ability to be confident and firm, her relationship with Ch ” er i has brought her confidence and willingness to the point of excess, and the boldness she once showed to others has in turn backfired. She is no longer dominant over Ch ” er i in the relationship, but only realizes this after he is gone from her life. She finally understands that he will be the last of her lovers.