Last Updated 14 Sep 2020

Faunia Farley – The Human Stain

Category Human, Love
Words 1627 (6 pages)
Besides Coleman Silk, the major character of The Human Stain. By my own opinion, the most interesting charatcer too. She started off as a rich privileged kid who, at the age of 14, had been struck by the worst thing that can happen to a girl at the very edge of her puberty – having a spoiled mother who cared more about the money than for her own daughetr, Faunia had to face an abusing stepfather who found her chilish innocence and beauty too powerful sexual bate to endure. Running away at such early and immature years of her life and staying completely alone and protected only by clear sky and an empty wallet, she had been forced to put up with the worst kind of jobs and worst kind of men that could possibly be found.In her case, these jobs and men seemed to find her more quickly than she found anything else herself. Waitressing in Florida, a 17-year old Faunia is even thinking about becoming a prostitute – «for a skinny blonde with big tits, a tall, good-looking kid like her with hustle and ambition and guts, got up in miniskirt, a halter, and boots, a thousand bucks a night would be nothing» (p. 160). After a series of not-nice boyfriend who beat her up until she screamed for her life, she finnaly cought up with a neatly–looking guy, this Lester Farley, who seemed to be a guy in his place.

She even dared to think her miseries were over and dream about a peaceful life with her husband and a farm on which they could build a life toghether. She was wrong. Les Farley had turned out to be the next worst thing that happened – a Vietnam vet with PTSD and a drinking problem, used her as his punching bag whenever he got drunk and mistakenly thought he was back in Nam and that she was one of the «gooks» from the jungle. Too often was she awakened by his cold hands firmly gripping her throat (p. 53).

But she didn't hate him, she wasn't even too scared of him, she felt sorry for him more than anything. In one of his hard alchohol episodes, she managed to get him to rehab, took their two children, Rawley and Les Junior, and more for theirs sake than her own's, she escaped him. But the problems didn't stop. Getting out of the rehab, Les started to stock her. One night, while she had been with another man in a car, the house where kids slepti was caught in fire and both of them died. Even though there was no evidence of it, she knew it was Les who did it. But it didn't matter.

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Children's death haunted her and she blamed herself so harshly that she even wanted Les to «kill her once and for all» (p. 246. ). But «amazing how nobody's done it yet to the dead children's mother» - she thinks and decides to do something about it herself. She drank Valiu and gin and suffered a clinical death for several minutes, but some fortune, or misfortune, wouldn't let her go (p. 245).

Disappointed in everything about herself and determined to end her miseries, she buys carbon-monoxide powder and attepmpts a suicide once again. And once again, her luck slapped her in the face and kept her alive (p. 246. . «OK, if this is how you wanna play, that's how we're gonna play», Faunia says to some force greater and stronger than human will that played tricks on her her entire life. Accepting everything that had happened and everything that was yet to come, she continues her life with a special kind of wisdom – «narrow, antisocial, savage and negative, but a wisdom of somebody who expects nothing» (p. 28). Starting to work on a milk farm, in a post office and as a janitor at Athena colledge, she puts a mask over her face and continues to get involved with wrong men in wrong kinds of relationships based mainly on sex.

And exactly sex is her power over men. This 34-year-old thin and tall illiterate woman with graying blond hair, firm limbs and breasts, had a look of someone for whom both sex and betrayal are as basic as bread» (p. 50. ). In bed she is «powerful, coherent, unified being whose pleasure is in overstepping the boundaries. In bed she is a deep phenomenon» (p. 31). After being a part of Smoky Hollenback's sexual triangle, she starts an affair with a 71-year-old Coleman Silk, ex-dean of Athena colledge.

He is different from all the other guys that she ever had a bad luck to know, but nonetheless all she wants of him is «a non-pressure bang, once a week, on the sly, with a man who's been through it all and is nicely cooled out. » (p. 40). She plays her role, she satisfies him like no other woman ever before, sho doesn't want anything else from him, no expectations, no feelings, no true relationship, she's becoming his Voluptas. And when «she knows it's happening: that thing, that connection» between them, when she dances for him and «making him fall in love with her» she says to him: «We've got all we need.

We don't need love. Don't diminish yourself – don't reveal yourself as a sentimental sap. You're dying to do it, but don't. Let's not lose this. » (p. 231). She knows she's driving him nuts, she knows that her rejection of his feelings makes him want to attach to her sentimentaly even more. She dances for him and teaches him what life really is. She – a 34-year-old illiterate janitor, teaches him – colledge proffessor, ex-dean, a member of highest rank of society class, what life is all about. He's never seen her dance like this, he's never heard her talking like this.

Been so long since she talked like this, she'd have thought she'd forgotten how. So very long in hiding. Nobody heard her talking like this. This is not the usual way she entertained men (p. 231. /232). Women who fuck like she does aren't supposed to talk like this – at least that's what the men who don't fuck women like her like to think. That's what the women who don't fuck like her like to think. «That's what everyone likes to think – stupid Faunia, she says. Well, let 'em. My pleasure. Yes, stupid Faunia has been paying attention. How else does stupid Faunia get through?

Being stupid Faunia – that's my achievement, that's me at my most sensible best. » (p. 233. ) Two of them being so similar and yet so different at the same time. Faunia, who never had anything only hers except bad luck and still never complaining about anything, never shed a single tear over the wreck of her life she is still in a way forced to live and Coleman who «really thinks his suffering is so life-shattering. It's a lot of assholes not liking him – it's not a big deal. Two kids suffocating and dying, that's a big deal. Having your stepfather put his fingers up your cunt, that's a big deal.

Losing your job as you're about to retire isn't a big deal. That's what she hates about him – the privilegedness of his suffering. » (p. 234. ). But even as she knows all she hates, she knows what she likes. His generosity. So rare for her to be anywhere near anyone's generosity. And the strenght that comes frome being a man who doesn't swing a pipe at her head. She even admitted him she was smart. He listened to her and she was smart. He listens to her and he's loyal to her. He doesn't reproach her for anything. He doesn't plot against her in any way.

He takes her seriously. That's sincere. (p. 237. ). This is maybe the only time in all her life she felt good about something, about someone. Felt protected. Felt considered. Maybe even felt loved. Maybe even she felt love towards him. And are these the things you can run away from? A total accident – her last and only lucky accident, and why does she run away? Does she really want to go back to what it was before him? (p. 237. ). No, she doesn't. So she doesn't do that. She's with him till the very end. Death came in a moment when she never wanted it less.

In all her life, filled mostly with thoughts about leaving the world, the human race, and all the mseries behid, she never wanted death less. So who is this strong and determined woman? This woman who despiesed human race so much that her best companion for conversation had been a crow and she could be true only to it? This character so complex in all her simplicity? This woman who fooled the world and played the trick on everyone like no one else in such an unexpected way - so simple that it's almost unbelievable? Who chose to wear a mask of illiteracy and promiscuicity becouse she felt she couldn't stand a chance any other way?

She's «the kid whose existence became a hallucination at 7 and a catastrophe at 14 and a disaster after that. The kid who mistrust everyone, sees the con in everyone, and yet is protected against nothing, whose capacity to hold on, unintimidated, is enormous and yet whose purchase on life is minute, misfortune's favourite embattled child, the kid to whom everything loathsome that can happen has happened and whose luck shows no sign of changing. » (p. 164. ). She's «the woman who doesn't want to own everything. The woman who doesn't want to own anything. Helen of Nowhere. Helen of Nothing. »

Faunia Farley – The Human Stain essay

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