A very short close reading

September 18, 2010

So I know this is totally old news, but back to Kaddish.  On page 15 when Ginsberg is talking about leaving Naomi at the Lakewood house, he says, “…have left Naomi to Parcae.”  Parcae is a reference to the Fates of ancient mythology.  They controlled the life and death of every living being–in the movie Hercules they’re the ones that share the eyeball and cut the string that sends people to Hades, and in real mythology, even the gods feared them.  The word Parcae means ‘sparers’ (I got all this mixed up when I told it to Dr. Scanlon on Thursday–good thing I decided to check Wikipedia), and the ancients called them that in hopes that if they had a nice name, they would be kinder to the human race.

So, Ginsberg says he has left his mother to these divine beings–calling them by the name that requests a better treatment.  It also seems like, at the age of 12 after leaving her there in “Lakewood’s haunted house–left to my own fate bus” he’s dealing with the Parcae a little bit on his own.

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