The Passion According to G.H.

Individuation of G.H.: Violent and Self-Affective Touch College

As conceptualized by Luce Irigaray, notions of self-affective touch are present in, and in fact are immensely important to, Clarice Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H. Irigaray conceives of touch as necessarily constituting tact, which calls for the respect of limits within the self and the other. G.H.’s experience of the roach, the other, results in a disintegration of her Apollonian human organisation into the formless state of Dionysian pre-human disorganisation. G.H.’s infliction of violent touch on the roach is paradoxically a violence against G.H.’s human organisation, and its borders of separation, resulting in assimilation of self into the other. Through her imagined hand-holding, G.H. uses self-affective touch to preserve a unifying relation between differences in the self and other, Dionysos and Apollo, while maintaining individuation.

Irigaray conceives of a spectrum of difference in which the gods, Apollo and Dionysos, embody oppositional attributes. Apollo “favours remaining in a beautiful appearance, within an ideal form, at the price of subjecting to it the vitality” (Irigaray 131). He is the ideal of masculine individuation, frozen in an appearance, manifesting in one form only. He is the embodiment of...

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