Moderato Cantabile Themes

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Desire is Unintelligible

Anne and Chauvin suffer from an incredible, burning, passionate desire. Their desire is not physical, nor is it necessarily sexual. Instead, it is simply desire, the need to experience desire, and the desire of desire. For example, when Chauvin touches Anne the action is meaningless and hollow, the characters are cold to the touch, and there is no emotional exchange. Their desire is not capable of being fulfilled by physical interaction because their desire is unintelligible in objective or describable terms.

At the climax of the novelette, Chauvin stalks around Anne's house like a crazed animal. Anne sits inside, absently presiding over a social gathering. Anne's hand constantly strays to a large, wilting, stiffened white magnolia pinned to her dress between her breasts. As her husband watches in outrage, Anne gropes the magnolia, squeezing and manipulating it, until her fingers penetrate the flower. Thus, the non-physical...

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This section contains 826 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Moderato Cantabile Study Guide
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