Ephemeral Embrace

Normally I feel quite awkward when it comes to talking about subjects related to sex, but I enjoyed Yamashita’s description of it between Bobby and Rafaela in Chapter 45, page 254.

I feel like the purpose of this scene was to show something where Bobby and Rafaela could meet each other somewhere in the middle, and then show how the “ephemeral embrace” doesn’t change one or the other’s view of the world and life. A couple lines on page 254 stood out to me the most: “They straddled the line–a slender endless serpent of a line–one peering into a private world of dreams and metaphysics, the other into a public place of politics and power. One peering into a magical world, the other peering into a virtual one.”

As we already know, Bobby and Rafaela look at the world in two different ways. Bobby is the one with the eye that focuses on the “virtual” world, while Rafaela is in tune with the “magical” one. Even though they may disagree on a lot of things, they still love each other. I believe that this is another way to look at what happens on page 254.

I enjoy that this was sex that meant something; a physical bonding experience between two people who love each other. After alternating between missing each other and thinking about the other’s annoying flaws, they finally come together and remind each other how much they love each other, even if they are bound to disagree again.

Besides that, after the awful thing that was done to her, I was happy that Rafaela finally saw Bobby again. I feel like whatever personal security she lost from being raped was regained from his presence.

2 Responses to Ephemeral Embrace

  1. Erin Davis February 16, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

    I absolutely loved this scene within the book. I don’t necessarily feel awkward when discussing sex in novels but, while reading Tropic of Orange, I felt strange when reading about sex between Gabriel and Emi. Gabriel talks quite a bit about how he finds it attractive when Emi ‘sexts’ him…if you will. On page 246, Yamashita writes “it was incredible how sexy text could be”. So, too, does she describe Emi as “always moaning…over the net”. Thus saying, the sexual relationship between Emi and Gabriel is confined to some sort of digitized world. That isn’t passion and, as we discussed in class, it’s merely a commodified version of such, like the passion juice.
    The scene between Rafaela and Bobby, however, was nothing short of beautiful. They are polar opposites, residing in two separate worlds. However, Rafaela still asks “will you wait for me on the other side?” She knows that their personalities and, even, realities are vastly different, yet their physical and emotional connections transcend any level of normal romantic love.
    I simply can’t say the same for Emi and Gabriel. Not to mention the fact that Gabriel constantly alludes to his secret love for Rafaela. These two relationships were so starkly contrasted, though, that it only heightened the rare beauty of this scene, as “Rafaela pulled the silken thread around [Bobby] until they were both covered in a soft blanket of space and midnight” (p. 245).

  2. Prof VZ February 22, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    I agree–this is an absolutely beautiful scene, and heartbreaking. The suggestion of “the other side” suggest that this embrace, experienced in this magical moment, is not of this world, but of some other world. And yet the power of the moment is so powerful, so encompassing as the massive weight of what divides these two falls away in a singular act of restorative love. Very powerful scene.

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