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A Machine for Provoking and Satisfying the Appetite – “All The King’s Men” – Robert Penn Warren

December 12th, 2010 · No Comments · Culture, Description, Love, Prose, Writing

As long as I regarded Lois as a beautiful, juicy, soft, vibrant, sweet-smelling, sweet-breathed machine for provoking and satisfying the appetite (and that was the Lois I had married), all was well. But as soon as I began to regard her as a person, trouble began. All would have been well, perhaps, had Lois been struck dumb at puberty. Then no man could have withstood her. But she could talk, and when something talks you sooner or later begin to listen to the sound it makes and begin, even in the face of all other evidence, to regard it as a person. You begin to apply human standards to it, and the human element infects your innocent Eden pleasure in the juicy, sweet-breathed machine. I had loved Lois the machine, the way you love the filet minon or the Georgia peach, but I definitely was not in love with Lois the person. In fact, as the realisation grew that the machine-Lois belong to, and was the instrument of, the person-Lois (or at least to the thing which could talk) the machine-Lois which I had innocently loved began to resemble a beautiful luscious bivalve open and pulsing in the glimmering deep and I some small speck of marine life being drawn remorselessly.


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