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After Caraviggio


Submitted By perna
Words 1047
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After Caravaggio’s Sacrifice of Isaac by Rachel Cusk
The main theme in this short story is how to be forced to choose between the unconditionally love between a father-son relationship and a love affair with a grownup. “I was obsessed with her from the start.” Love between a parent and a child does not need attention consisting of flattering words, acts or any other trifles but it is rather based on family bonds which will always differ from other kinds; for the reason that the involved people share the same blood and genes. This kind of relationship can bear a whole lot of pressure; even in most difficult times. There is one thing this kind of love cannot take care of is romance which we only experiences within an adult relationship; between man and woman.
The short story is set in present-day London where the narrator called Alan lives an ordinary life with his wife Sally and their son Ian. Sally get’s some kind of depression, it might be a birth depression, right after having Ian which pretty much makes it Alan’s job alone to raise little baby Ian. “Sally couldn’t bear him near her. His crying made her mad;” This decision of Sally’s to not be near her own son gives Alan the opportunity to get about In London and see and explore new things he never thought would make his interest. Alan brings his little son with him everywhere; also in his dreams he dreams – “not the same dream, different dreams, but they’re all sort of similar.”
Ian is his little sunshine, his everything. “You love him, she said. Yes. More than your wife? She said. Yes, I said. More than anything.” Ian’s parents had him circumcised even though Alan didn’t like it. “He won’t remember, they don’t remember thing. That’s the way she is: she want let it bother her.”
To have Sally being sick at home could be a terrible thing, but instead of bury himself in loneliness Alan means “(…) that loving Ian made me expect more from life. It made me think there were better things out there.” Seeing all the great works of art with Ian makes Alan sure that there are more to life that he had yet to discover. He is in other words starting to feel more cultivated aspects of his life and his old lifestyle do no longer satisfy him. They were walking past an art gallery and see a big poster. “It was a picture of a woman holding a baby”.At first he didn’t have a clue what it was but “It was an exhibition of Renaissance art”. From now on Alan’s life had changed. He is actually no longer happy about with his job but “I didn’t have the courage to leave.” He also happens to be embarrassed of his own friends, of Sally and of the insignificance of the topics which they discuss. This new interest of his does not go well with his ordinary life at home. The only new person fitting into this new world of his is the also new discovered Gerte from Germany who clearly has another lifestyle which makes a great influence on Alan. “She taught art history at a university there and she came to England for a year on an exchange programme”.
The paintings in the museum told Alan not to worry and the same did Gerte’s face which “(…) belonged in one of those paintings she talked about, A Giotto, A Bellini (…)” She does not seem to be interested in talking to him until Alan mentions his son and then she is paying attention do to the fact that she now sees some competition. ”I remember her face, as if something had suddenly caught her eye, something beautiful and rare”
When Alan enters the love affair with Gerte he starts getting a pressure in his chest since he knows what he is doing is wrong. However he “stopped noticing it, it became the atmosphere of my time with Gerte.” From now on he let Gerte force him into choose between his family, especially Ian, and Gerte herself. “It’s him or me, that’s how she put it in the end.” When his conclusion has been settled, to go back to Germany with his new love and leave behind a son and wife, he has really shown made a sacrifice. He is giving up his own blood for passion and sexual seduction. That is enough for Gerte and he can go back to where he really belongs. In the beginning I was mentioning Sally as always telling Alan not to worry since Ian wouldn’t remember things and in their bad times she said “One day he’ll thank you Alan”, she was right.
It is the approximately exact story with Abraham (Alan) and Isaac (text 2). The first Genesis of the Bible has a more frightening picture of God (Gerte) than the second Genesis do to the fact that people needed this scary god to keep on praise him. That is why Abraham needs to go sacrifice his son Isaac (Ian) in order to show his gratefulness to God. And that is all God needs. When the angle on the oil painting from 1592-1604 shows Abraham not to kill Isaac and points out the Lamb instead, the angel of the LORD says “for now I know that thou fearst God, seeing thou not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”

[ 1 ]. Line 63, page 3 of 9
[ 2 ]. Line 30, page 2 of 9
[ 3 ]. Line 15-16, page 2 of 9
[ 4 ]. Line 13-14, page 2 of 9
[ 5 ]. Line 27-28, page 2 of 9
[ 6 ]. Line 35, page 2-9
[ 7 ]. Line 37-38, page 2 and 3 of 9
[ 8 ]. Line 50, page 3 of 9
[ 9 ]. Line 59-60, page 3 of 9
[ 10 ]. Line 61-62, page 3 of 9
[ 11 ]. Line 79-80, page 3 of 9
[ 12 ]. Line 84-85, page 4 of 9
[ 13 ]. Line 95, page 4 of 9
[ 14 ]. Line 10, page 2 of 9
[ 15 ]. Line 22, text 2, page 5 of 9

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