It is a word expressing a multitude of things–mostly, well…sex.
But did you know eating greasy food is a form of sex? What about “fighting a dragon?”
Okay, so sex is a versatile subject…but also versatile is its use in literature. In the chapters It’s All About Sex… and …Except Sex examples are pulled from books like D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover and Anthony Burgess’s controversial A Clockwork Orange–granted, those are entirely separate instances of sex; in fact, most of the time, they aren’t even truly sex.
The books that are sex…we call those by their proper names–erotica.
Scenes coming to mind–ah, Dracula, for example, a Gothic novel with sexual and aggressive overtones; but being in the age before Freud there were no double meanings or lewd imagery in commonplace objects. The world simply had sex. See, then Bram Stoker penned a scene in which Count Dracula fluttered into innocent Mina Harker’s bedroom, slit open his pale chest, and made her drink the blood–again, before Freud; but read this:
“…his right hand gripped the back of her neck, forcing her face down on his bosom.”
That, and the other vivid descriptions are implicating an action similar to sex, but this is far from it; in fact, you might see Dracula tarnishing Miss Harker’s vulnerability as a woman, and as well beginning her conversion into a vampire. Not only sex, see?
Taking a trip on to the opposite side of the spectrum, we find baptism, which, as it turns out, is symbolic of surviving a drowning, or when caught in a rainstorm emerging soaking in a new life…specifically, as a new person.
Here, some of my own examples,
The Shawshank Redemption: The movie or book I have not had the pleasure of seeing, but on the original movie poster there is a kneeling prisoner cheering amid pouring rain–now, guessing here, but I feel the prisoner has escaped Shawshank Penitentiary and chosen to do so on the night of a thunder storm; and freed from his chains he is splattered with water, maybe he is slightly submerged in it.
Moby-Dick: In the incredible last thirty pages of this novel as Captain Ahab and his crew are battling the Great White Whale, there appears a tropical storm which forms a violent whirlpool. Once Ahab stabs Moby, completing his lifelong mission, his ship, the Pequod, is swallowed wholly by the whirlpool; and Ishmael, the lone survivor having emerged with newfound wisdom, writes his novel and spends the rest of his life warning passerby on the streets of “Manhattoes” about the dreaded white whales.
I thought it an especially interesting point, by far the most thought-provoking of his ideas. Rain as a form of rebirth…it has a nice touch.
By the way, pairing these two ideas together–not a coincidence.