Sex, Literature and Terrorism

by Yessica Gonzalez


Before your lustful eyes begin to read through the paragraphs in search for sexual innuendos, erotic passages, or incredible orgasmic readings, let me warn you that you will find neither of these nor any other sexual referances in this webfolio.  The basic intention of such an eye catching title is to not only reel the reader in, ( like I have done so with you), but to also prove a point.  Sex and Terrorism bring a certain taboo appeal into Literature.  Complete opposites,  sex evolves around reproduction, full body and spiritual connections, and an apparent body awareness. Whereas, terrorism is full of destruction, morbidity, and the idea of predicting one's own death.  But with their apparent differences, both sex and terrorism are essential ingredients in most great literature. They allow the reader to connect to the characters and gain an understanding, a sympathetic attachment to a character that they would not connect to under different circumstances.

My Alter Ego, Estelle Rigault of No Exit, evolves around the basic human need of sex and love.  A woman who is so shallow and under complete self-denial of any wrong doing, I decided she was the perfect character to take through the different books in our class.  What I've learned through her different experiences was her own internal growth and molding to a character that in some way reflects my own trials and tribulations. 

I now introduce you to a woman who has grown through her journey's as much as I've grown in this class.

Introduction to Estelle Rigault:


Alter Ego Estelle in The Plague
My name is Estelle Rigault.  I am a healthy, vivacious, strikingly beautiful lady, who happened to pick the wrong town to lose herself in. How did I manage to get myself in this town anyway?  Ah yes, trying to run away from that annoying ex-lover of mine, Charles.  Can't he understand that I only wanted him to make myself feel good?  Once that stopped, there was no use for him.  It's a pity how things end.  But I do have to keep myself happy.
Besides I have already met someone who can easily make me happy for a very long time.  I'm talking about the good Dr. Rieux. I can't help but feel a connection with Dr. Rieux.  He's tall, blonde and extremely handsome.  Just calling him doctor gets me gitty.  The fact that we are both stuck together in this God forsaken town makes him even more enticing. Besides, I have to find a way to entertain myself while I'm here. 
Lock down? I don't understand what all the fuzz is about.  Why does the whole town have to be quarantined anyway?  The old, filthy ghettos are what the government should be concentrating on.  That's where all the nasty, hairy rats are coming from.  There is no need to lock us civilized people like cockroaches.  That's not going to solve the problem.  I'm sure this will all be over soon.
Back to my object of affection:  I met the good handsome doctor when he came to pay my neighbor a visit at the Hotel.  It so happens that my poor unfortunate neighbor was bitten by one of those grubby vermin.  The manager assured me that it was a fluke for such a rodent to make its way into town.  I, of course, was immediately concerned.  The hotel manager guaranteed my safety.  He also offered to pay for the rest of my stay. After meeting his wife, I don't blame him from wanting me to stay around a couple of more nights.  Besides I have no where else to go.
Dr. Rieux seems to keep to himself a lot.  Surprisingly enough, he doesn't pay me much attention.  In fact the only people he interacts with are the doctors in the hospital and a couple of men from town.  They seem to have formed some type of help group for the people who can't make it into the hospital.  The fine doctor provides the medical assistance while the others console and take care of the family members. I've also learned from the hotel manager (I keep forgetting his name) that they are also in charge of bringing the people that succumb to the illness to the funeral home.  I think this is where I can make my move.  I will volunteer to join this "help group".  I'm sure this will get the doctor's attention.

Poignant Lines from Elie Wiesel's Night
An open tomb.
Sleep had fled from my eyes.
We were so many dried-up trees in the heart of a desert.
I was a body,
A starved stomach.
Suddenly my eyes would become blank;
Nothing but two open wounds,
Two pits of terror.
The icy wind cuts us like a whip.
Death wrapped itself around me till I was stifled.
I felt that I could touch it.
The idea of dying,
Of no longer being,
Began to fascinate me.
I felt that I was not arguing with him,
But with death itself.
The race toward death had begun.

9/11 Memoir as Estelle Rigault
The day started of perfect. Beautiful and sunny; a great hair day. There was plenty of blue sky to match my blue, white-flower print sundress.  I decided to go to work early since I wanted to take an extra hour for lunch.  You see, Ann Taylor was having 50% off their entire merchandise, which I needed to take full advantage of. 
It was an exceptionally hot evening the night before.  The air conditioner was blaring all night, and ended up being on all day.  I accidentally forgot to turn it off when I left the apartment that morning.  I thought about turning back and turning it off, but I really wanted to make it to work early.  Besides, I just had to tough it out and buy only five outfits instead of six which I was planning to buy in order to pay for next month's electricity bill.  Decisions like this made me question my whole relationship with Tom.  In fact, his ability to be great in bed was one major reason why I left my husband, Allen, and by doing so humiliated my family by having an affair with the pool man.  How can I have forsaken my family's riches for a man who was just great in bed? 
The fact that my father was one of the Partner's at the firm I worked in didn't help my situation either.  Everyday I was being enticed to head back to the beautiful family home in Connecticut.  I was given promotions, raises, extra lunch hours, anything to make me happy.  To make me realize what I was really leaving behind.  Anything but what really made me happy.  I needed time by myself, to figure out who I am and what I really wanted. 

As I waltz through the streets of Manhattan taking in the coffee, smoke, and sewer concoction only New York can provide, I noticed pages, tips lightly burned, floating through the financial street of the world, Wall Street.  I was confused on where it was all coming from, but couldn't give it a real second thought as the traffic light changed and I was suddenly being bombarded by hundredths of New Yorkers eager to make a living.  It was 8:45 am.
As I sat at my desk I started questioning the burnt pieces of paper.  Who could possibly be so inconsiderate to litter the streets of New York without giving it a second thought?  Little did I know that littering was the least of that day's vicious cycle.  As I called Maria, my manicurist from the nail salon downstairs, to make an early morning appointment for the following day, I noticed my fellow coworkers running off to our adjacent office. I had to go find out what in the world was going on.  Well, as I looked into the television screen I saw the unbelievable.  There they were. The two most well known buildings of our time; one with a gaping hole filled with fire, located towards the top the building, helpless.  From what I could hear, it was a plane that accidentally misjudged its position and crashed into one of the World Trade Towers.  Mistook its position, on such a beautiful and clear day?  I could not understand or even accept this theory.  Deep down inside I felt that something was horribly wrong.  People around me started crying and questioning the event.  Most stayed glued to the television set, mouths gaping, eyes glazed.
I wanted to call my family and let them know that I truly loved them. I wanted to go back into my husbands old, frail arms.  Emotions were running through me.  I wanted to feel secure, be around the ones I cared for, the ones that truly treasured me.  The end of the world was here and all I could think about was being comforted by the people I was trying to run away from.
The unlikely was happening.  The United States was being attacked without any warning, without any remorse.  What can make someone so angry that innocent lives have to be sacrificed?   I didn't want to understand what was going on.  I wanted to escape, be with Allen and his money.  We were told by Human Resources that no one was allowed to leave the premises until further notice.  I decided to go to the bathroom and do a little coke to get my mind off the madness.   It was working until the building shook.  The second tower had just collapsed.  Dust coated our building like hot fudge on a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.  For one second I thought that maybe, just maybe this was all a dream.  An unshakeable nightmare that seemed all too real until your mind decided to break free from its trance allowing your body to wake up.  I decided to close my eyes and wait until that moment.
I woke up underneath the tampon machine located in the rear of the bathroom.  As I thoroughly washed my hands and fixed my hair, I realized it was eerily quiet.  Had I just awakened from a nightmare or did we no longer have the World Trade Towers?  I listened to the wind outside waiting for some New York City relevant noise to appear like a taxi cab's horn or construction workers drilling.  I heard nothing but the faint whisper f my heart.
We all know what happened afterwards.  What I can tell you is what 9/11 means to me.  It defined a moment in time where many felt free to feel.  Unconditional love and understanding became imperative. People ended up getting married faster, making love a little sweeter, having children without planning.  The simple things in life gave us pleasure.  Life was valued.

Alter Ego Estelle in God Dies by the Nile
The day finally came when I was allowed to leave that dreaded town and the good doctor behind me.  As a lady, I won't speak ill of Dr. Rieux.  I shall say, however, that his taste in women must be rather meek.  After all, if you are dim-witted enough to forgo my tactful but innocently evident attempts to entice you, without disgracing my honor as a lady, of course, then obviously there is something rather wrong with the man.  His good friend Tarrou noticed my interest and decided to give me some sound advice.  He informed me that Dr. Rieux's wife was severely ill.  As a faithful husband and keeper of his promises, he will not allow himself to be enticed into any woman's arms, no matter how beautiful and sumptuous they may be.  He told me not to take it personal and to know that if it weren't for his wife's illness, the spreading of the plague, his marriage vows, and total exhaustion, he would be completely and utterly in love with me.  Given the circumstances, I came to terms with my failed attempt at nabbing a doctor, and took it as a lesson learned.

I decided to head to Egypt.  You see, Sashi, a good friend of mine happened to be married to a man who was the Mayor of a small town called Kafr El Teen, or something like that.  She mentioned that it would be just her and I, a perfect time to catch up, maybe do some necessary clothes shopping.  She promised me a luxurious stay at her mansion where her many servants would be at my beckon and call.  Shopping, servants, mansion, girlfriend, How can I possibly say no to that? 

As the cab slowed down towards what seemed to be the largest, if not, lone building in the desert town, I noticed a couple standing by the mansion's elaborate door.  While the broken down cab drove past the heavy, tall, iron gates that protected the compound, I quickly took notice of the man next to the petite, delicate woman.  He was tall, lightly tanned, with large light eyes that glistened in the hot and dim light of the setting sun.  I modestly looked away as I remembered the woman standing next to him. She was wearing a long, beautifully woven wrap made of different earth tone colors that accented her delicate features.  I couldn't help but compare my attire to the expensive and intricate garment my friend Sashi was flaunting.  Please realize that my trip to the desert was a very difficult place to pack for.  I could not imagine myself wearing my skirts and dresses in such a dusty and hot town.  So, most of my outfits consisted of the traditional "safari" look that of tanned shorts, a comfortable, breathable cotton shirt and the ever crucial sun-hat.   I quickly reassured myself that my decision in clothing was rational and understandable given the circumstances. 
"My dearest Estelle.  How great of you to come? Sashi sung. 
"You haven't changed a bit, Sashikala!?" I praised. 
"I would like to introduce my dear husband, Robert"
As the dreamy eyed elegant man reached out and kissed my hand, he softly said "A pleasure and delight since my wife forgot to mention how beautiful you are?"
"That why I married him, always a charmer"  Sashi reached out her hand and patted him on the back as if rewarding a dog that occasionally misbehaves.

Alter Ego Estelle in Martyr's Crossing
How can I describe my passage out of Egypt and into Jerusalem, but finally?  After spending just a week at the lovely, yet crowded mansion, I successfully left my friend Sashi and her seductive husband behind.  I decided to venture off into Israel.  A good friend of mine, Hadassah, had a well trained and handsome brother protecting the Jerusalem border. Always a sucker for a man in uniform, I decided on Israel to see if I could meet one of the many soldiers enlisted in the Israeli Army, in case Hadassah's brother wasn't all she made him out to be.  She had always been an exaggerator and overly flamboyant friend, so I always took her descriptions and stories with a grain of salt. I was not disappointed.  Lieutenant Ari Doron seemed to be everything Hadassah described and more.  He had a silent sexiness about him.  Tall and virile I was easily captured by his disciplined mannerisms and nicotine mixed with sweat scent; along with his uniform, he represented your typical "Be all you can be" man.  I definitely wanted to take him for a ride.

Alter Ego Estelle in Soul Mountain
Is it possible to love as many men as I have and still not find the man of my dreams?  Although I have been in love with a variety of men, I still find myself in this endless predicament.  I have loved many, and for obvious reasons, they have loved me.  But none have provided me with that special oomph needed to capture my unconditional devotion and love.  Where is my Prince Charming? 
I decided to take a vacation from it all and retreat into China.  Where else can I enjoy a good plate of sushi and find peace and tranquility among thousands of Buddhist followers.  It just happens that the way to travel into the religious undisturbed parts of China was by bus.  I had no other choice but to ride in these chicken infested, unclean, moving metallic transports. During one of the many stops in one of the many small rural towns, I heard a fellow tourist speak of a peaceful soulful place called Lingshan.  The tourist was a delicate petite woman with round hazel eyes and a button nose.  Her red hair glistened in the afternoon sunlight as she tossed it from side to side showing both her excitement about her conversation and telling her young age. She seemed wound up about going to a place where nature was respected by the town's people who learned to live with Mother Nature, not against her.  I felt that bumping into her conversation and hearing about such a place was a sign for me to go there as well.  So my journey to Lingshan began.
Ana was a junior in college who came to study the mating rituals of the Panda Bear.  This was her first time away from home and she terribly missed her parents.  She went on and on as well, about her college football player boyfriend of three months.  She was completely and utterly in love with him.  So much so, that she almost forgo the whole expedition because of the three months she would have to endure without Bobby.  That was all I needed to hear in order to stop my rather uncommon, un-lady like behavior of ease dropping.  Besides, she already provided me with the vital information of my destined location. 
Ana and her fellow Panda enthusiasts got off at the following stop.  As I tried to distance myself as far from her annoying voice as possible, without losing sight of her, I got off the
bus.  I managed to settle myself in at the local inn.  It was cozy, small, and cheap. The price was just right but the inexpensive price was reflected by the gray colored worn out blankets in the room.  Having brought my own set of Ralph Lauren 700 thread count bed sheets, like I always do, the room was basically suitable for a good night sleep, and nothing more.  The white mosquito net appeared to be the only romantic thing about the whole place.  It was fairly clean, surprisingly enough, considering its sole purpose was to keep mosquitoes out.  It hung down in the center of the bed from the high unreachable ceiling.  The ring at the top of the mosquito net tilted slightly to the right.  It lightly spun around giving the appearance of a veil worn by a bride who was recently left at the altar. The veil spun in confusion, trying to comprehend what went wrong, what her wearer could have done differently. Realizing my obvious hallucination, I snapped out of it and managed to settle myself in. It wasn't difficult giving the awesome tranquility of the place.  The ability to go somewhere where you were not known; where you can start basically a new life, was thrilling.  I can honestly "find" myself without attaching myself to a man.  Besides, it didn't seem possible for me to find a suitable man in this place anyway.
Many days were spent by the stone bridge near my inn room.  The water below; the clarity, shallowness in the day; the darkness and depth at night; the mere sound calmed me.  I began sketching, dressing like the locals, even enjoying their sesame shallot pancakes and jasmine tea.  I started looking within myself, questioning my every action, motivation, and end result.  I tried not to concentrate too much on my past, but I did analyze my prior relationships and how they were similar; how they were different, and how they affected me.  I believed that was my true source of destruction and self-awareness.  I had to relive my suffering in order to truly find my uninhibited desires and dreams.  Was I really looking for a mere man, or was there something more; someone more I was searching for?

Alter Ego Estelle in Mao II & Black Water
After a month long meditating session with no men, no heartaches, no romance, no sex; I decided it was time for me to head back home.  It had been a long time since I had returned to the states.  One major reason for my absence was the fact that I had dated practically every man in Northern California. So after a brief stop at my parents I decided on visiting the East Coast.  I figured 3,000 miles is enough distance away from my past.
I found a reasonable flight to California from China.  Of course the only reasonable part was the price.  The flight had many stops and flight changes along the way.  Before my self-discovery, I would have not taken such a flight schedule.  Still, with my new found love, me, I loved being by myself and gladly accepted and appreciated the time alone.
On my stop over in London, I noticed a reserved older gentleman, another American, at one of the local inns I've come to appreciate. His age seemed to be in his late 50's early 60's.  His clothing was very Western, blue jeans with a striped blue and red flannel shirt.  I had about a 24 hours wait till my next flight, so I decided to make him an acquaintance. This man was my test.  If I was able to befriend him without sexual contact or innuendos, then I would know I was freed from my other self.  
That evening I followed him to a local restaurant filled with tourists.  He was sitting alone, drinking, staring at another table occupied by two men and a woman.  My attention rested solely on her.  She seemed quite reserved, unattractive; bookish.  I realized that my initial reaction was to compare myself with her; a clear sign of my old self.  I did not want to forgo a month long of self-renewal, self-discovery on a woman who was in no way in my league.  There was no need for me to even compare or worry myself about her.  However, because of this initial response, it was best for me to return to my room and forget about taken on a test? until I reached the United States.
I quickly said hello and goodbye to my alcoholic father and self-absorbed mother and made my way to Grayling Island to visit one of my only male friends (yes, I do have one platonic male friend) Lucius.  He happened to be staying at a friend's house over Fourth of July weekend.  I last time I saw him was in high school about ten years ago.  He was a great friend and confident; would make any women a great husband; As long as that other woman was not me.  There was just no sexual chemistry between us, which allowed him to be the only man in the world eligible to be my friend.
Lucius' friend seemed to have lots and lots of spending money.  She was fairly young, most likely parents money.  Her name was rather funny...Buffy.  I categorize those types of names with the like of Sugar, Bambi, and Candy.  These types of names automatically drop the persons IQ by at least 20 points.  Still, there was no reason for me to mingle amongst her and her wealthy friends; my intent was to relax and reacquaint myself with dear ol' Luc.