Quebec Studies

Entre La Mère-Miroir Et L'Amer Voir: Le Regard Écorché Dans La Belle Běte De Marie-Claire Blais

Quebec Studies (1993), 17, (1), 125–134.

Abstract

In La Belle Běte, Marie-Claire Blais demonstrates that her characters' urge to hide behind a mask triggers their compulsive need for lies and their irrational destructive craving. Her first novel tells the tragic fate of jaded, futile, emotionally unstable characters who have no soul, only empty actors' faces. This essay considers how desperately Blais' characters cling to their "mirrors," thus establishing an unconvincing equation between lost beauty and monstrosity. Unable to acknowledge ugliness, they refuse to recognize their own features in the mirror. Blais's protagonists refuse to see; instead, they are quite content to look and to be "looked at." That is precisely why, from the beginning of the novel, they find themselves "visually impaired."

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Author details

Egloff, Karin