Subtext: me, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Claude Monet, and “The Impressionists”

[Caveat lector: This post, a building block for later reflections but not a very nice one, is all about my own personal muddles. It offers a critical comment on the scripting of one of Mr. Armitage’s roles that could be understood as a general attempt to undermine the validity of the dramatic arts. It explains why, despite my appreciation for the high quality of Armitage’s artistry and the visual beauty of the series, I have difficulty watching “The Impressionists” and some of his other works. Thus, these remarks have essentially nothing to do with Armitage’s performances or himself except maybe peripherally as a comment on the moral aspects of acting and watching drama in general, and they should not be interpreted as a criticism of him. Because of my tendency to tie myself into unpleasant moral knots about things to which I have an instinctive reaction of pleasure, I feel obligated to write this, just in case any readers out there are unaware of the pitfalls of pleasure. Also, I am trying to understand my reaction to his oeuvre, and the theme of redemption, addressed here, plays a central role in that. There are also other issues related to my professional life that I am trying to address in this. You do not have to feel obligated to read. You may be happier if you don’t. I would be happier if I didn’t feel obligated to rehearse this sort of argument. Indeed, I often think I’d be a happier person if I hadn’t been socialized to worry about problems like this. But for some reason I feel like I have to say this before I can say anything else. Writing on this has been blocking writing on other stuff I’d rather write. Have I made this unpleasant enough yet?]


So. I don’t squirm when I see Guy of Gisborne. His story is inherently about redemption, as I hope to explore more fully in subsequent posts. But I squirm like crazy when I see Claude Monet. This requires some explanation, I fear.

Like other narratives, this one may be problematic. Even as we try to tell the truth, we lie. We are born for trouble as the sparks fly upward. The discourse about sincerity in the Enlightenment acknowledged this in a way parallel to the Bible. It is a fundamental human problem as long as we live in time.

When I was a kid, only one story made any difference for us: the story about G-d. That story was recorded accurately in the Bible; everything G-d wanted to say about G-d and His history was there for us to read. My aunt gave me a Bible (RSV) for Christmas when I was in first grade, shortly before I turned seven — for me, both Genesis and Exodus were serious pageturners — but the stories had begun much earlier. Like every other family around us, we had Bible story books. I learned early in graduate school that the stories we were told back then were mostly “types” or figurae of the Gospel. My parents read them to me and I read them to my brother. We made reference to them all the time at home. We were told them in Sundays in church services and on Wednesdays in religious instruction. “What does the story tell us?” was the central question. Later, when the stories ended up being about doctrine, the question changed slightly to “What does this mean for us?”–the question always applied to G-d-knowledge. Eventually, after being confirmed, I taught Sunday School and took on my own role in transmitting those  stories. Much of what postliberal Christian theology had to say about the constitutive narrative aspects of religious culture was played out in our home every day. Our stories were naturally, inherently about G-d and these stories shaped both the contours of our world and our reactions to it. After many years of trying to read the world without reference to these stories, I concede that I cannot. The best I can do is acknowledge that I realize they are there. They heavily influence everything about me, not only my moral or ethical stances or my religious and political views, but even things as far afield from the redemptive concerns of the Gospel as my understanding of power dynamics in personal relationships, my frame for interpreting world events, or even my aesthetic or romantic preferences and the things I find sexy.

This isn’t to say no other stories were available to us. To her credit, I think, my mother never stopped me from reading anything I wanted to read if I could obtain it for myself. I was reading at age four and so I read a lot of things I didn’t understand especially well. The world and U.S. public school in the 1970s being what they were, I am sure I read things I shouldn’t have. But she talked to me about everything she knew I read, and clear standards were in evidence. There were good and bad stories, valuable and worthless stories. Good stories were morally redeeming; they were reminders, recapitulations in secular garb of the redemption narrative at the heart of the Gospel. Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, and Little Women were important such stories. Worthless stories were not forbidden, but they were clearly identified by their failure to address or live up to the narrative of redemption. Most of the sort of genre fiction little girls like fit into this category–Nancy Drew and so on–although detective fiction, with its often inherent moralism, could sometimes push itself into the good category if it was especially complex. Worthless reading was thought to rot the brain, and my mother always made sure that a quota of good stories made it into the sack of library books we collected every week. Evil stories — those that directly subverted or questioned the narratives of redemption in the good stories — were to be avoided if they were also worthless, or, if they were considered great or important, to be read mostly as evidence of the rightness of the good stories. As a consequence I read a lot of great literature as a teenager under the guise of its qualities as an object lesson. Note, of course, that even the bad stories were in dialogue with the good ones, and we knew this at the time. Though we tried to separate them out from each other, the lines are not always so clear. Even so, the clear lines of a dualism that persists in my brain had been set up in an eradicable way.

A lot of this I parsed only once I was in college. I went to a religious college but not one of my confession, and it wasn’t very religious. But we read and wrote all the time–much more than my own students are expected to do. We talked about what we read. I studied religion, but not much, as the point of studying religion was to become a pastor and I had been told as a child that G-d did not want female pastors. I studied English literature, but I didn’t really understand the discussions we were having, as they seemed to eschew narrative analysis. Indeed, the professors seemed to think that the best works abandoned narrative altogether. I couldn’t find a narrative in Beckett and Pinter and learned to hate them, probably because they defied my attempts to control them. I tried philosophy but it seemed we were discussing issues apart from the central one: human redemption.

In the end I took a lot of history courses and probably became a historian because these were the only courses that gave me a purchase on the redemptive narratives I craved, but was starting to be troubled by. As I became a more sophisticated reader, previously static narratives became unstable, changed meaning, took on indeterminacy. Nick in The Great Gatsby, for example, moved from being practically the hero of the narrative in his awareness of the moral failings of his fellow characters to a standing as an arrogant hypocrite, and that was only before I started asking (under the supervision of history professors) how we could trust anything anyone in any source, literary or otherwise, was saying to us. What I learned from studying history was: trust no one. You may not be objective, but neither is anyone else. Look everything directly in the face. Unveil the veiled. Do not allow your sources to tell you lies. And when you transmit your histories to your audience, do not lie to them, either. All of this coincided with a conversion experience that caused me to leave the religion of my childhood and join another, but not one without stories, or even one without redemption, just one in which the narrative of redemption was more attenuated and elongated and thus offered more interpretive complexity. Do not make it pretty: make it real. History offered not an escape from dualism, but a dualism based on slightly different premises.

So the undue moralism I bring to my readings, the stance that influences all my judgments, is simultaneously religious and professional. It proceeds from the childhood experience of religious narratives and with their value priorities — who shall be saved and who shall be damned — and from the cognitive patterns I chose for myself, following which the only sin is dishonesty, which masks not sin, but truth. The lens of truth is to be applied not only to the world, but the self. What unites both of these stances is the relentless insistence on the exposition of sin and lies. Note that this does not mean that I myself do not sin or lie, just that I am unduly concerned about interpreting those two issues in the world around me. I am a dualist not only by acculturation, but also by conviction, though I struggle against both.

Thus as you can imagine, the performing arts create a number of problems for me. I like books better, because I control the moral world of their staging — it is not foisted upon me. I knew this instinctively — my family’s relationship with tv, movies, and theatre was unreflected because it was so obvious based on our religious life what we could or couldn’t watch, though problems like this one were always creeping in — but it was only as a junior in college that I started to figure out the reasons why, when I read Rousseau’s letter to d’Alembert on the Theatre. My parents, who refused to let us watch certain things because they would narrate to us bad stories, hadn’t quite grasped the problem completely. That is to say, of course the very earliest theatre traditions in the West grasped that this was a fundamentally moral genre, especially the Greeks, whose theatre was intimately bound up in their politics, and who paid the poorest citizens to attend because of the virtue that theatre was thought to inculcate. What Rousseau added for me is the way in which theatre changes morals. His reading of Alceste in Moliere’s Le Misanthrope was revelatory for me — and made me realize that the play is not the comedy of manners that it appears to be, but rather a tragedy of morals: theatre makes us laugh at virtue and admire the immoral, so that it makes us run the risk of undermining the basis of culture. The main danger of watching adultery on stage is not that it will cause us to (for instance) commit adultery ourselves, but that it will lead us, by means of aesthetic tricks, to find the fact that others do so acceptable and thus betray the bonds that tie our communities together.

What does this have to with “The Impressionists”?

On the first level, the question of good and bad stories, this drama would qualify for my parents as a bad story. This is not difficult to see. If anyone needs a demonstration that Christian morality suggests that a tale, even a historical one, that condones or glorifies infidelity, is a bad story — particularly one like this, in which the protagonist apparently shrugs off the punishment — let me know, but for now I won’t belabor it. Though I have officially abandoned the notion that stories are either or good or bad, this problem sticks with me. On this view, there can be no redemption here. The film’s only defense is if it portrays something true in a historical sense, i.e., if it describes things that and as they actually happened.

On the second level, the one generated by the failure of the story to be sufficiently moral or redemptive, i.e., the question of truth vs falsehood, this drama fails drastically, even as it asserts from the beginning that it is a true story drawn from actual sources. This was not how it was with Monet and Camille, and not how it was with Monet and Alice Hoschedé. If you know something about Monet’s biography you can see general references to certain events that make it appear as if the filmmaker is telling us the truth, but in fact even in such small matters the film occasionally contradicts the documentary record, or makes its own references unclear, and in the general themes, it makes distortions or leaves things assumed by maintaining silence on them. If the film will not tell us a story that rewards virtue and punishes sin, my moralism tells me, then it should at least tell us a story that reflects the way it was. We could then look at it all in the harsh light of day and be free to make our own judgments. But the film obscures the actual history. By hiding information it attempts to get Monet off the hook for behavior we should not admire. Indeed, it attempts to substitute the creation of great art for redemption, so it offers its viewers an inherently moral judgment under the guise of highly questionable history.

These matters alone would be enough to make me struggle to watch this drama. I don’t especially like Impressionist art, but this piece did teach me something about it, and on some level I felt edified. And I am on some level revolted by that. It is the third level that bothers me most, though, because of the aesthetic intoxication I experience while watching Mr. Armitage on screen. In this piece, he’s got his long brown hair on, and that makes him even more attractive to me. (I love his apparent original hair color. The only way Armitage could be more physically perfect to me would be for him to have brown eyes to match it.) He smiles and captivates me with all of Monet’s emotions — a viewer poll taken during the Fanstravaganza concluded that seeing Monet’s emotions was their favorite part of the piece. He makes Monet’s face so beautiful, with the sudden grins, the flashing of outrage and humor and slyness in the eyes, that I am drawn to the screen just to see that variety. The film makes me want to condone Monet’s problematic, narcissistic, often cruel treatment of Camille Doncieux and conclude that the voyeuristic act of painting her on her deathbed was romantic and atoned for by his tears in the arms of his lover; it wants me to accept his relationship with Alice Hoschedé as apparently chaste until she married him. (It also thus runs roughshod on my somewhat attenuated feminism, but that’s a matter for another post, I suppose.) It makes me want to see Monet as a loving parent to his sons, even though it took him years to marry Camille and then legitimize the son that Richard Armitage plays with so charmingly in the train carriage on the way back to France after the Franco-Prussian War.

To sum up: it would have been bad enough if the film had recounted an immoral story, bad enough if it had recounted a false or deceptive story — but that it wants to change my attitudes to the value of the story itself, to accept beauty or grand art in place of redemption, to make me think that that sort of exchange is not only possible, but admirable troubles me immensely.

This is perhaps too schematic. It makes me look like more of a Puritan than I really am in practice. But it expresses some basic issues that feed into my interpretive style.

~ by Servetus on April 19, 2010.

34 Responses to “Subtext: me, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Claude Monet, and “The Impressionists””

  1. […] as read my mixed feelings about "The Impressionists" here, and thus the highly unstable nature of the term "favorite" as employed here. I feel like this […]


  2. This is with 10 minutes to think about what you’ve said:

    I’m not a big fan of The Impressionists, and one of the reasons I’ve claimed as my drawback is the way the series handles conflict. It certainly never addresses the real conflicts in Monet’s life but rather glosses over them or even paints him as victim when he was not. Then it elevates a conflict that is so easy to embrace as a noble cause– painting as he darn well pleased. It’s something that doesn’t require any self-examination from us but rather can allow us to look at something from far off and say, “Oh, how wonderful that he was an individual!” Then forget it and move on. It’s cotton candy really. The only thing that makes that show not cotton candy is the way that Richard Armitage plays the part. That’s it. When the truth of Monet is that he was pretty selfish and mostly committed to his painting.

    Years ago when I studied the Impressionists, I was struck by the selfishness of many of them. As much as I love impressionistic paintings, I’ve never been able to forget what schmucks most of them were when I look at one of their works. Of course that has not completely dimmed my enjoyment of their work. But to consume a sanitized version of their lives as well is a little much for me to digest. I guess I didn’t really want to say much about it amongst others who like The Impressionists because frankly, it wasn’t a hill I wanted to die on. But I can’t let your remarks pass without saying I agree.

    By the way, isn’t it okay to have a conscience about the art you consume? I hope I never can check my conscience and that you can’t either.

    On a related note, it’s going to be interesting to find out how our odyssey with G-d differs and is similar.


    • Your reading makes me feel marginally better, bZirk. It’s certainly true that it’s Armitage’s performance highlights the few problematic places the movie is willing to alert us to. I guess it’s his own interest in human dualism that helps him out there.

      I fear I am going to have write a lot about G-d eventually. It’s really on my mind lately. Thanks for your understanding!

      And no, I wouldn’t want to get rid of my conscience. I think part of the problem is that I’m terminally in between. Too religious to be a historian, too historical to be a theologian. I can’t look at art without making moral judgments, and this makes it hard for me to talk to fellow academics, but my openness to considering art that transgresses moral boundaries makes it hard for me to talk to many religious people


  3. I enjoyed reading this post! You seen to have great insight into how your personal history affects how you read a text – something too few of us have, I would imagine.

    A small comment on the Impressionists – I guess with any adaptation or pseudo bio-pic, the producers at some stage decide ‘which story to tell’ and what themes to pursue. Obviously the limits of film mean that they can’t tell the whole of, or the multiple stories that accompany a character. So some elements will inevitably be diminished and others elevated, dependent upon what is most prudent to the overarching story the film makers desire to tell. The holes in what is portrayed, the issues that are glossed over, invite us to investigate this character more through other sources – which I imagine would be an outcome that some film makers would find pleasing; to have inspired the viewer to learn more beyond what is presented on screen.


    • I think you’re right. No historical film can cover every aspect of a topic. I just like it better when I discover more felicity (from my perspective) in the filmmakers’ choices …


  4. @skully,

    If they had just omitted the conflicts of his personal life or even portrayed a little but accurately, then I could see your point. But his personal conflicts were not omitted and were portrayed very inaccurately. Frankly, his character was portrayed pretty dishonestly. But I don’t think the creators of the show were trying to be dishonest so much as I think they were thoughtless. It would have been better if they had just told the truth or skipped his relationship with his family altogether. Instead of trying to make him some long-suffering fellow who just wanted to create beautiful art.

    Maybe that it was a pseudo bio pic should have been made plain. Otherwise, pseudo has a taint to it.


  5. God is love.
    That is what my religious upbringing gave to me. So in looking at Monet’s life through these eyes, I do not have a problem with his behaviour or in the way he was portrayed in “The Impressionists”. Yes, seems to have had mistresses – two as far as I can tell. But he married them both! How many men marry their mistresses? I doubt there are very many of those!
    He seems to have had a lot of friends. Being a good friend is a loving act. He seems to have been a good parent, in that his children stayed close to him throughout his lifetime. I am very impressed that although he was in dire poverty, he took over the care of a large family who were abandoned by their bankrupt father. His wife Camille seems to have been friendly with Alice Hoschedé, so I do not think an affair between Alice and Claude happened before the two families had moved in together. Alice seemed to be a nursemaid to Camille and a surrogate mother to Camille’s youngest child.
    With a wife in such ill health and a good friend of the family living in such close quarters, it is easy to see how a relationship could develop. From mutual sympathy strong feelings can be forged and although it may not be admirable that Claude and Alice possibly had a physical relationship before the death of Alice, it is somewhat understandable, even possibly quite natural!
    It is always strange how Christianity likes to deny the sexual nature of humanity. The natural consequence of this “sex is evil” concept is the abuse of children by Catholic priests! The whole idea of a priesthood which denies themselves a healthy sexual relationship is unnatural.
    Regardless of all the religious overtones, I really believe in his acting Richard Armitage allows his true self to occasionally shine through in his interpretation of a character. It is in these fleeting moments, a smile, a winsome expression, that we catch a glimpse of the real person behind the character he portrays. It is why I believe we cannot allow ourselves to really dislike any of his characters.
    I did not struggle with liking Claude Monet as I do with Guy of Gisborne. One does not see any “redemptive qualities” until season 3 and he certainly has a lot to atone for! But the way he looked at Marian, the look on his face as the Sheriff belittled him, the way his expressions mirrored his obvious struggle with how he should behave – this was all Richard! It is the man behind the mask that I am enthralled by, not the one in the guyliner. Although, it is nice to stare at him endlessly!
    As for the writers taking liberties with the Monet’s biography, I agree with Skully that they had to choose which part of the story to focus on. The Impressionist gives us “an impression” of Monet’s life – his relationship with his grand passion for creating a type of art which did not really exist before, his relationship with his artist friends, his relationship with his two lovers (who became his wives). I’d say it was a life well-lived!


    • Hey, Phylly3. I knew when I pushed publish on this that not everyone would agree, and that’s fine. It’s a big wide wonderful world. I’m just trying to explain what makes me tick.

      I was not saying Monet was an immoral person (or more immoral than the rest of us, anyway), just that the film condones/excuses adultery and this is troublesome precisely because we admire Armitage’s performance and thus we want to find immorality beautiful. Immoral people can also do good things; no question. But the film blends out a lot of information about Monet that would make him look like a less good friend, e.g., the fact that he was constantly writing his friends begging for money, that he lied to his family of origin about the ongoing nature of the relationship, that it took a long time for them to get married, that the Monets’ lifestyle was not always dirt poverty during their marriage (i.e., before Camille’s death) and so on. Obviously people come to all kinds of arrangements in their lives to deal with the challenges they face. But what looks from one position like a beautiful blended family looks from another like Monet using Alice as a daycare service, and so on.

      On Xty and sex: The issue for me is more infidelity than sex. Sex is just one way of being unfaithful/unloving. There’s plenty of other evidence of Monet’s poor treatment of Camille in the film apart from sex, although the film wants us to see it as distraction and artistic vision as opposed to narcissism. The extent to which Xty is sex-positive or not varies drastically by historical period.


  6. @bZirk – I guess that is what happens when artists portray other artists, rose coloured glasses 😉 I’m not familiar with accounts of Monet’s personal life so I can’t really comment further.


  7. Just one small comment (think I posted on the wrong site earlier, though related, blame incompetence…)

    As a result of studying the Impressionists, and reading of their lives along the way, two things stand out about the “selfish artist”.

    Degas (a precurser of what is generally accepted as Impressionism) and Manet, (again”precurser”), seem to have had little regard for familial connections – that could be further analysed.

    Renoir and Monet, on the other hand, while probably expecting “the little woman” to wait at home, appear to have valued their relationships with the wives/mistresses/models.


  8. Thanks for all the comments, you guys, and for understanding my weird philosophical bent.


  9. For me the problem with The Impressionists is not about expecting Monet to live the Christian moral code. I wasn’t expecting that and certainly not expecting it given what I know of him. So my qualm with the show is not about how Monet lived his life but rather how it was portrayed. If I had known little or nothing about Monet and didn’t realize that the series was fairly sanitized and at times dishonest, then it might not have been a thought in my head. I would have taken it on face value as a quasi documentary and gone on. No, it’s the disingenuous treatment of Monet that had a bit of an ick factor to it. But not enough to really speak to it until servetus brought it up. It really hasn’t been important enough to me to bring up. But now that she has, I guess I’m throwing in my two. LOL!

    Frankly, the only reason I even halfway like the show are the performances of Richard Armitage,and to a lesser degree a couple of the other actors.

    Other interesting points have been raised, and I just want to clarify exactly where I’m coming from and make a comment about one of the points.

    I’m a pretty thick skinned person, so when I give an opinion or state a belief, I certainly expect others to feel free to do the same, and my cardinal rule in discussions or in life in general is to take almost nothing personal. I’ve lived by that rule for most of my adult life, and it’s served me well. I appreciate it when others reciprocate and assume all of you do.

    Now that’s out of the way. 😀

    God is certainly love, and sex is intended to be a facet of that. It’s my understanding that God is the author of sex, and yes, pleasurable sex and not just for creation of children. I’ve had little traffic with the kind of Christianity that seeks to deny sexuality and hope that I have no traffic with it in the future.

    However, I’m not so obtuse as to be unaware of religious institutions down through several centuries who have been run by people trying to foist their versions of Christianity off on others in an attempt to control them. That’s repugnant to me and I want no part of it. I’m sorry for anyone who has had much experience with this kind of religion. The real tragedy (in my opinion) is that this is not what is taught in the Bible. But hey, that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.


  10. […] speaking again: What I said here certainly applies to this work. Mr. Armitage can get me to covet wanting a juvenile probation […]


  11. […] Monet is a father, and although this is one of those charming moments from The Impressionists that sets my teeth on edge, the real Claude Monet does seem to have enjoyed a close relationship with his sons and several of […]


  12. […] evidence. I've written some big building blocks of arguments here in the past, for example, on my position as reader, or on Armitage equilibrium, but on these issues — objectification and "why Armitage?"– I am […]


  13. […] acting” moment from Between the Sheets On ambivalence about this character, take this, mutatis mutandis, as […]


  14. […] fragmented self acutely, perhaps because of my position as a person with a heavy, indeed, neo-pietist religious socialization who lives her intellectual life on the cusp of poststructuralism. The notion that the self should […]


  15. […] I have two resolutions for the fall: to avoid as much possible the tendency to fall into sin; and to be as kind as I can to the people around me. (Yes, I realize that both of these goals will be contravened if “The Shit Song” becomes the soundtrack for the Fall.) I realize this sounds hopelessly religious, but due to my childhood, it’s how I think. […]


  16. […] execution of simple meals. I too have an abiding respect for my family and its roots in local beliefs and customs, though I live and work outside of these by my own choice. My work, which I also […]


  17. […] sn*ff, or something else that I find morally objectionable (that is, beyond “just” troubling)– that he’s not going to to be likely to get criticism from me on the basis of either […]


  18. […] some extent, this stance involves rebellion, insofar as I grew up with an unusually restrictive definition of the “art vs. entertainment” distin…. So indeed a part of me wants to say, just to be contrary, that the artistic contributions made in […]


  19. […] and just sit back and be grateful for any and all human deliverance that materializes on my horizon as long as it’s not immoral. Indeed, I said just last week in rather prolix terms that I really don’t care if he ever […]


  20. […] to pray that there is some explanation for this terrible backstory for Lucas. I had, a little bit, the Rousseau problem: even as I knew that John was doing terrible things for which he’d never be able to exculpate […]


  21. […] my absorption with things frequently masks my feelings about them — a tendency that the dominant strands in my childhood and adult education both fed, for different reasons — both taught me to enjoy evaluation and […]


  22. […] was the mode of responding to any life event taught to me in my childhood. Happy? Say a prayer of thanks. Angry? Say a prayer that your anger will be abated. Worried? Say a […]


  23. […] I was raised as a neo-pietist. I’ll always carry that with me. It’s not really possible for me to think of the world without first considering a frame of reference that involves the action of the divine and the eternal. If only it were just that; I could imagine a friendly, syncretist neo-pietism. […]


  24. […] amiability, moral character, intelligence, health). Multiple factors contribute to my attitude: upbringing in a particular stripe of Protestantism; my parents’ lack of concern for it; severe myopia from a young age that allowed me to hide […]


  25. […] and I would suggest it’s definitely worth a relisten — even though I am on record as not admiring Monet as a person and not liking impressionist painting at all. There’s this disarming moment when he’s […]


  26. […] burden as I have wrestled here with how to take authority over my own story — not being who my parents or my childhood religion or my profession or my colleagues or even my well-meaning friends say I am […]


  27. […] upon a time there was a little girl who grew up in a very religious family. Her mother taught her to pray. She loved G-d and she loved her church. Church was one of the […]


  28. […] girl, I should expect this to be my purpose in life. Always be kind, please us, do the right thing, please G-d, do a good turn daily, be a helping hand, jump to help when you see someone who needs it, never […]


  29. […] from telling people how to think morally. Or maybe it’s that I’m a day or two older, raised with moralistic narratives, and exhausted at being told what to think about television by television writers. Whatever the […]


  30. […] 1500 mi away from home to college and experienced a huge sense of relief, I thought it was about the religion stuff, and that wasn’t wrong, but it was also a relief to be away from the expectation of being […]


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