Eyes Wide Shut

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Mon Apr 16 10:40:31 MDT 2001

Louis Proyect wrote:
> The feel-good ending intimates, in Kubrick's last word on the subject, that
> the Harford daughter is-just as they have abandoned themselves to
> being-fucked.

This ending (and this perspective on it) relates the movie to _The
Bicycle Thief_ and to a rather large category of 19th c. bourgeois
literature -- most glaringly Matthew Arnold's "The Scholar Gipsy." A
body which in one way or another shows humanity trapped in an existence
from which there is no exit, suddenly turns and (in Arnold) proclaims
"Ah love, let us be true to one another." In _Bicycle Thief_, after
every institution -- state, church, Party -- has failed the protagonist,
he has a reconciliation with his son, and the two walk down the street
hand-in-hand. This reviewer of Kubrick assumes that the "feel-good
ending" is ironic, which is exactly the argument a grad-school friend of
mine made in reference to "Dover Beach" and _Bicycle Thief_. I've never
been convinced either way.


_Paradise Lost_ also ends with Adam & Eve walking off hand in hand.

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