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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hide and Drink: Reading Savage's Edward Through the Foucauldian Matrix of Power/Knowledge

 Savage's Edward in Hide and Drink begins with the Double, the monster in Meyer's Twilight, the one who sits in the classroom fantasizing about all the ways to kill Bella and drink her blood. He kidnaps her, takes her to a series of isolated apartments and places where he can hide her and drink her. After drinking she sobs and he holds her telling her how sorry he is over and over, holding her all night. He begins to unknowingly love her and takes her to Bella Island so they can be completely alone.
While there there is a plot twist in which Bella almost bleeds to death and Edward must rush her to the hospital with the help of Emmett. It is at this point halfway through the story the reader enters the Foucauldian grid of power/knowledge/capital. The hospital.  And Edward becomes caught in this web just as Bel Ami, Nina in Black Swan, Lily Bart in House of Mirth, Eric Packer, and ourselves. "She's lost so much blood. I have to get her to a hospital. I have to get her to Fiji. Please…" I looked up into his darkened eyes. "Please help me!"
The doctors see the scars on her wrists and neck where Edward has been drinking.
"She's had a transfusion and she's going to be just fine," the doctor said. "But I want to hold her for seventy-two hours for a psychiatric evaluation."

"That's not necessary," I said, shaking my head.

"I believe it is."
With this exchange Edward is stonewalled by the bureaucracy. At Bella's bedside he is inconsolable at what he has done to her and promises he will find a way to stop drinking her blood. His words are overheard and the nurse plans to report him. So he plots to kill her:
"I understand your desire to approach the authorities given the exchange you witnessed." I moved up close, my hand reaching out and stroking down her neck. I felt her pulse against my fingers and swallowed venom back down my throat. "But you misunderstood. Regardless, I can't take the chance that you will go to the authorities. I can't take any chances with Bella. So, I must apologize for what I have to do. There just isn't any other way to protect what is mine."
Bella is interrogated by the therapist and backed into a corner. She does not want to tell the truth, afraid of what Edward will do or perhaps because she has grown to care for him or both. The authorities begin to threaten him as they correctly suspect he has been abusing her and she is afraid to reveal this to them. 

"It's all right, Edward." Bella sat up straight and I helped her fix the pillow behind her back. "They aren't going to let me out of here until they go through all their little procedures, so it's better to just go with it and get it over with. I have a feeling she isn't going to be easy to convince, though."
"We won't have to convince her," I replied.

As if to prove my day truly could get worse, Ms. Spencer and the doctor from the first night decided to walk in as Bella was throwing me out. Two men who could have been orderlies, but were obviously chosen for their physical prowess, accompanied them.
The grid is tightening, closing in on Edward, leaving him struggling like an insect in a web that will only result in an act of violence. But Emmett has been pursuing alternative ways of dealing with the power/knowledge matrix, a more effective and standard way, an alternative threatening power coupled with money.
I growled, but then I heard his mind recount a conversation with a local attorney who was on one of Jasper's personal "lists," and also a personal friend of the hospital administrator. They were close, personal friends, apparently. Close enough for their wives to have had the opportunity to catch them being particularly close. The scandal would ruin both men.
Then they begin to intimidate Bella to force her to sign an affidavit so they can take her to a shelter and arrest Edward.  
"So you let us do our jobs." He pushed the paper and a pen towards her. "Sign here."
"Listen," he said. The second officer moved to the other side of Bella's bed, effectively crowding her. I felt a growl rising from my chest. "We understand these things. Doctor Sans and Ms. Spencer are going to take care of you. They will take you to a shelter and help you in whatever way they can. But first you have to help me. Now sign this."

"Just sign it, Bella," Sophia moved up next to the officer. Bella wrapped her arms around her own shoulders. "Then this will all be over."

"Yes," Doctor Sans agreed. She also moved up closer to the side of the bed. "He can't hurt you anymore.
And then more power enters into the equation to oppose this part of the matrix of power/knowledge, because it also is within the matrix, the administrator of the hospital.
I hope we aren't too late.

"That's enough, Doctor Sans," the tall dark haired man said as he approached. I recognized him as the hospital administrator from the night Bella was admitted. I thought I may have thrown a tantrum at him about having Bella's room changed. "Harassing the Masens is not in your best interests."

"Mr. Delai," Doctor Sans started, "I hardly think..."

"I said that's enough," he repeated. He made his way over to Officer Baravilalas. "Officer...?"


They shook hands tentatively.

"I am Manasa Delai, the administrator of this hospital. I'm afraid there has been a misunderstanding here."

"As I said," Manasa repeated. "A misunderstanding. Mr. Masen is not responsible for his wife's injuries, and she will be discharged to his care as soon as possible."

"What are you talking about?" The doctor's face began to turn crimson. "She is my patient and I decide..."

"No, she is not," Manasa scowled at her. "She is a patient in my hospital and you will stop harassing her and her husband. If you don't, you will find yourself unable to practice medicine before the week is out. Clear?"
As perfect a fictionalized account of the Foucaudian grid of power/knowledge that often leads to a frustration turning into violence as you are likely to find. Other descriptions I have posted:

Bel Ami: here and here
Black Swan
Eric Packer in Cosmopolis and also here

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