I’m Infatuated by Florens’ Infatuation


During this week’s reading we learn through Lina that the “you” Florens continually addresses is a blacksmith–a FREE black man who worked on the estate Lina and Florens reside at.

During her sections, Florens repeatedly displays her infatuation with this blacksmith:

“I go west into the trees.  Everything I want is west.  You.  Your talk. […] You will hear what I have to say and come back with me.  I have only to go west” (Vintage International, 2009, 47-48).

“I don’t want to be free of you because I am live only with you” (82).

“You are my shaper and my world as well.  It is done.  No need to choose” (83).

What is your reaction to these statements?  Do you see Florens the way Lina does?  Lina thinks that Florens is a foolish girl, pining over a man who does not want her.

I question Lina’s belief that the blacksmith does not want Florens when Florens explains: “Lina says there are some spirits who […] guard virgins and mothers.  I am none of those” (80). This leads me to believe that Florens has been involved in a sexual relationship, although I am not sure if the blacksmith is the other person involved in that relationship.  And even if Florens has been in a sexual relationship with the blacksmith, that does not necessarily mean that he wants her for more than such.

While I think these statements are somewhat over-dramatic, I can see why Florens would desperately want someone to hold onto.  She was taken from her mother so quickly that she is trying to find stability in a free man; for Florens, being “property” is seemingly unstable.  Lina mentions that the blacksmith can marry whomever he wants–maybe Florens is trying to gain freedom in her desire for this man.

Either way, I am certainly infatuated with Florens’ infatuation.  I’m excited (and a little worried) to see what becomes of it.

Happy reading!

One Reply to “I’m Infatuated by Florens’ Infatuation”

  1. With your post in mind while continuing the readings in “A Mercy” I have given Florens’ and the blacksmith’s relationship some thought (though deserves much more going forward). We see the threat of violence, specifically sexual violence, thread through most character’s chapters. As a young black women, Florens is vulnerable to such violences (not to say that women of other races are not vulnerable). She finds emotional and sexual security in the blacksmith as expressed in the following, “With you my body is pleasure is safe is belonging” (161). Her expressions of love are intense because her need for safety is intense. We see how common sexual violence is in this novel and for her to experience pleasure is something that she wants to hold onto. When Sorrow saw Florens and the blacksmith having sex she notes twice that Florens is not passive, rather they are dancing (151).

    Florens is subjected to the physical violation by the men and women who force her to undress and then examine her body. In addition to the violence of the letter getting taken away from her which proves her legal “belonging” to Rebekka. After this she experiences a loss of self: “Inside I am shrinking… I am losing something with every step. I can feel the drain. Something precious is leaving me. I am a thing apart” (135). But she feels safe and connected with the blacksmith. “You have the outside dark as well. And when I see you and fall into you I know I am live. Suddenly it is not like before when I am always fright. I am not afraid of anything now. The sun’s going leaves darkness behind and the dark is me. Is we. Is my home” (137).

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