Thursday, March 5, 2009

Readings: Simone Weil - Part IV

X
Below is Part IV of Paul West's sketch of Simone Weil from Portable People:
X
Among action shots these are the best: Simone Weil picking plums in the country and getting stranded on a high wall; hiding herself and her cigarette behind a Russian newspaper at staff meetings in school; on paydays at the Renault works treating herself to a package of cigarettes and some stewed fruit; digging potatoes for ten hours a day; insisting on carrying bundles of thistles in the wheat fields; helping (?) Marcel Lecarpentier on this thirty-foot, eight-ton fishing boat; exclaiming over the photo of some brawny tough, “That my kind of man!”; giving away so much of her schoolteacher’s salary that she went a whole winter without heat; burning herself while welding; asking a peasant if she might drive his plough and at once overturning it; scalding herself with oil while cooking for the CNT in Spain; aiming her rifle at an airplane that dropped a small bomb; neglecting to wash hands before milking cows; refusing a cream cheese because Indochinese children were starving; actually becoming a member of a résistance group that was a German trap; and, later, on her way to New York by way of Morocco, handing Gustave Thibon her notebooks on the station platform in Marseilles with a kind of absent-minded abruptness; thanking Father Perrin, her spiritual mentor, for never humiliating her; wandering in Harlem and attending a Baptist church there every Sunday (I’m the only white person in the church”); studying folklore and quantum theory at the New York Public Library; asking Simone Deitz, who acceded, “Would you like to be my friend?”

In this, we begin to get a hint of those aspects of Simone Weil's personal make-up which attracted me to her; for instance, her courage of conviction.
X

No comments: