By Jeannette L. Savona (auth.)
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Additional resources for Jean Genet
In The Maids, the same sort of surveillance that we saw in Deathwatch strangely prevails. The maids feel and behave as social pariahs. Even when they act out their ritual, they conduct themselves as if they were doing something illegal and are terrified of leaving clues behind them: 'Even the game is dangerous. I'm sure we've left traces. We leave them every time. I see a host of traces I'll never be able to cover up. ] She unravels the clues' (G: 53 Jean Genet 58-9; F: 20). While waiting for Madame's return they appear very nervous and repeatedly warn each other to 'watch at the window' and to 'speak more softly', because 'Madame may come in without making a noise'.
His murder of Maurice is anticipated by his many previous threats and warnings, but his motivation is far from clear. It could be assigned to his latent erotic feelings towards Green Eyes and his envy of Maurice's privileged status as Green Eyes's protege. Seen as an imitation of Green Eyes's 'murder of the lilacs' , his strangling of Maurice app~ars to be meant as a symbolic act which should allow him to become 'The Avenger', an ideal criminal figure. Although Lefranc is shortly due for release, and he complains about the stifling conditions of prison life, his act of murder is like a deliberate rejection offreedom and the outside world.
The notions of being constantly watched, and of having to watch, or to obtain hidden information from others in order to control their power, reflect the panoptic system underlying Deathwatch. In its political connotations, the power of Madame and Monsieur, essentially repressive, emphasises the notions of law and punishment. Above Madame, who is spiritually dominated by Monsieur, and above Monsieur, who is the more legally vulnerable of the two masters, there are police officials who can arrest citizens on charges of suspected theft and decide whether they must be kept in prison or released on bail.
Jean Genet by Jeannette L. Savona (auth.)