In the beginning of the novel, Kolmar writes about a flashback with Friedrich Wolg and his father teasing and criticizing Martha’s sexuality, which is the basis of her Martha’s immature understanding of sexuality. This point is evident in the beginning of the text when Martha’s late-husband, Friedrich, and his father, referred to only as old man Wolg, verbally abuse her by criticizing and teasing her sexuality. Evidence for this is seen towards the beginning of the novel when Martha’s late husband, Friedrich Wolg, makes comments about only wanting a lover. On page 13, he says “Actually, I don’t want a wife, only a lover”. Friedrich’s father makes similar comments about Martha’s sexuality, saying “her severity. . . would not die with the wedding and would prevent the wife from being a companion” (p. 11). This type of verbal abuse, verbal abuse that comes from the mouth of a loved one about a person’s sexuality, can often have a traumatic effect on the abused person’s perception and affects that person’s ability to function normally in future dating relationships and marriage.
Martha’s history with verbal abuse is apparent in the beginning paragraphs of in part two, chapter seven when Martha is getting herself ready to meet Arnold Renkens, a friend of her late husband and a...
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...are a more sexually erotic way of describing a woman. “Droll”, the one word used to describe Martha is defined as curious or unusual in a way that provoke dry amusement is starkly different from the aforementioned adjectives used to describe Ursula; specially related to the lack of strong and vivid imagery. From this, it can be interpreted that Martha felt the need to cherish her daughter’s sexuality to make up for not having someone close to her to cherish hers.
In conclusion, Martha Wolg comes off as strong, exotic, and confident in all she does; yet these adjectives do not reflect Martha’s true pain associated with being verbally abused. Her history of abuse manifests itself in her relationship with Arnold, where she is unable to experience a maturing and loving relationship and in how Martha describes her daughter’s physical appearance in contrast to her own.
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