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Written by Timothy Sexton
Isadora is the narrator of her own story. She is a year shy of turning 30, Jewish and a poet. More so than most portrayals of Jewish families in American literature, there is a notable coldness and distance among her parents and her. . At the heart of the conflict within Isadora is a conscious drive for freedom and freedom of expression and an equally conscious awareness that without the economic security that comes from marrying well, both those freedoms are difficult to attain and potentially impossible to enjoy.
Bennett is that husband for whom Isadora looks to for security. He adheres strictly to Freudian doctrine and so counsels Isadora that the secret to solving any adult anxiety can be found by probing into childhood trauma. He is truly a figure of the early 1970s: no important decision can be undertaken without first consulting their psychiatrist. On the upside, Bennett maintains his impressive physique and so can satisfy Isadora’s considerable sexual appetites. On the downside, he is silent, withdrawn and refuses to openly admit that he loves her.
Adrian stands in opposition to Isadora’s husband on the most vital issue of Bennett’s life: Goodlove subscribes to the psychiatric theories proposed by R.D. Laing. Isadora meets Adrian on a flight to Vienna to attend a conference on psychiatry with her husband and is instantly drawn to his Nordic beauty and far more open emotional state. Adrian tries to lead Isadora onto the path of enjoying the existential good life, but ultimately he is found lacking in the one place where it really counts: what lies beneath his pants. The name, in other words, turns out to be highly ironic.
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