“I must admit to a lifelong love affair with curiosity.”
-Timothy Findley as Juliet d’Orsey ( Part 4, pg. 147)
Juliet d’ Orsey is telling her accounts of Robert Ross through reading out her childhood diary. She reveals how her inquisitive nature gave her insight into the private lives of others but also caused her to see events she didn’t otherwise want to see. However, Juliet still found pleasure from overhearing conversations, learning people’s secrets, and being a dedicated observer to the intrigues within and outside her world.
My interpretation of this quote is based on the notion that Juliet’s curiosity served as a comfort tool to subdue her uncertainty of the world. If Juliet wasn’t as curious as she was then we wouldn’t know what we know about Robert Ross, Taffler, and Barbra. This is because Juliet didn’t use her curiosity to feed a perverse or nosy part of her; she used her curiosity to honor the mysteries and realities of Robert, as well as the ways the war impacted injured soldiers. Findley’s use of the phrase ” love affair” suggests a relationship with curiosity out of marriage, indicating an unorthodox, almost erotic attraction towards the feeling of curiosity, but also the revelations one feels after discovering something. To Juliet, curiosity was intrinsic(very much like hunger), so it became painful for her when no answer was produced from her intrigues. Due to this, she was unable to recognize boundaries separating herself, a child, and the unsuitable matters of the adult world; therefore, when introduced to such matters: Juliet was traumatized-left with more questions than answers.
As an AP student, I am naturally incredibly inquisitive. I always want to know beyond the understood and this causes me to sometimes blur the lines between curiosity and corruption. As a result, I struggle with letting go of a question when I am not satisfied with the answer; I need the truth to make sense before I acknowledge it as the truth. Since I am a true believer in progression and moving forward, I am constantly searching for updated solutions to questions-making me vulnerable to perversion. As human beings, we have created curiosity the same way it has created us and because of this: I will always be hungry for knowledge.
History is full of curiosities.
That’s where they live
and scavenge for bones like
picking meat off transcripts,
licking dust off antiques,
and whenever one makes a discovery
it releases a shriek so shrill it is
heard in the clinks of next century glass.
these creatures of flight:
they flock and fly back into the past when the present is cold and real;
they huddle amongst the cobwebs and coffins,
they kill cats, sinking their teeth into pharaohs,
gaining 9 lives
only to spend them before their time,
they reverse their birth
to live with the dead,
replacing their mortality with
they could be in your past right now;
drinking up the
until memories are sucked dry, and spit out again
This poem was obviously inspired by the quote but also by the alternate definition of curiosity: “a strange or unusual object or fact.” I played with the two different meanings of curiosity and what it means to uncover the unknown. Since The Wars was written as a glimpse into Robert Ross’ past through the perspectives of second-hand individuals and photographs, it almost felt like we, the readers, were forced to pick apart the rubble of Robert’s life and find answers where there are gaps in the negative spaces of photographs. I really liked the idea of personifying curiosities as creatures who live in history and make discoveries about the world before our time.