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The Blind Assassin

Can anyone help me ...


(Spoiler Alert!: this is a question about The Blind Assassin, but it contains a spoiler stop reading now if you don't want to know it!)

I cannot work out how Iris knew that Laura was having an affair with her husband, by reading her dairy. What was the meaning of the dates with "no" written next to them?

Submitted by Pip Smith, posted on Tuesday January 29, @02:26PM

How she knew...

Well, I've just finished the book and I enjoyed it.

I think that the clues were in the description of Laura during each of those times... on the cruise she was distressed, this was during the time that she was refusing his advances.

The day she gave in was when she went sailing with him. At this point she seems more at peace with things, because she has justified what she has done as a way to keep Alex safe (her deal with God).

The biggest clue, however, was the use of the word
"besotted". If you remember, Iris speaks of his use of this word after he married her.

by Sharon on Wednesday February 20, @01:29PM

Re: To anyone who has read the Blind Assassin

those were the places that laura had been to with Iris and Richard. remember the boat, the house...etc. In all those places he tried to seduce her but she resisted hence the 'no'. but when they got avilion and the Water Nixie (his sailing boat) she finally succumbed. . remember when richard says he is besotted with Iris. here we see the word again. anyway i loved the book. spent 3 days reading it. cant really understand why laura did sleep with him in the end and why she betrayed her sister. maybe she just didnt really care. not sure. still thinking about it.

by karen on Sunday May 19, @12:44PM

Re: why she did it

It's been awhile now since I finished the book, but I had the impression that when she finally gave in to him, she thought that she was making a "deal with God" to keep the one she really loved safe.

This is why the news of his death, along with Iris' confession pushed her to the end.

by Sharon on Saturday June 08, @12:32AM

Re: To anyone who has read the Blind Assassin

i was under the impression that richard was sexually assaulting laura, and that her actions towards him were not complicit. the "no's" therefore would indicate that she was under a great deal of mental anxiety, or that she had attempted to resist. but then, i read the book quite a while ago.

by lexi on Friday May 24, @07:55PM

Re: The Blind Assassin

Hi,Iris is a flawed character like all of us .. and I thought ,as what some readers feel,she 'whined non-stop' and in Ms Atwood's writing,Iris is a victim of circumstances.Therefore .. although I agree with one reader who said 'Richard was sexually assaulting her and she was under mental anxiety',Iris is making a great deal of assumptions ,with self-delusion of all kinds and we can't take all her words for it.
<br>
Iris comments a great deal of Richard's infidelity and selfishness and Laura's 'infuriating iron-clad confidence in God' ,but she has a tendency to suppress her genuine emotions and through her words ,we know contain 'a word that empties itself of meaning' ..

by mandy on Sunday December 21, @06:25AM

Re: The Blind Assassin

I think Richard took advantage of Laura's niavete.She seems to attract men who are pedophiles without meaning to.also seems like the kind of girl who flirts without meaning to, and I think he took it wrong in his perverted way.

The one thing I wonder is ,Who killed Richard?
I honestly don't think it was a suicide

by Kristy on Wednesday September 10, @12:25PM

Re: The Blind Assassin

This thread seems like it was from quite a long time ago, but I am replying anyway.
Technically Laura was not having an affair with Richard..it was more like Richard was persistently seducing Laura (on each of the recorded dates) and she was rejecting him (hence the "No"s). And then there was the time that she DID accept him because she thought it would save Alex from war (hence the "X"). And finally, when she got pregnant (hence the "O").

Laura did not sleep with Richard to betray Iris. She slept with Richard to save Alex since she has made her "deal with God".

I think Richard did suicide though, because firstly his reputation and career has just been ruined and sabotaged. Secondly, I think... he might have thought Laura loved him after the numerous times he tried to seduce her and then she suddenly agrees to, so it seems like it was because she liked him? And I guess Richard was heartbroken to know that she was in fact cheating on him the whole time because she thinks that Iris in the book was Laura. (OR it was because of his ego, thinking that a woman at dispense can cheat on HIM, the powerful authoritative one)

I don't think Iris would have killed him since she already completed her part of the revenge (physically publishing the book), and maybe Laura completes the other half of the revenge (spiritually heartbreaking Richard). I don't see any other motives from any other characters really.. :S

by LS on Wednesday May 26, @11:39PM

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