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Little Nothing


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Discuss Little Nothing by Marisa Silver:
What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

Created: 08/09/17

Replies: 15

Posted Aug. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

"Look at yourself. What do you see?" he says. She stares into the glass. "Nothing ... I'm not here," she says. What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"


Posted Aug. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
teachlz

Join Date: 07/28/16

Posts: 12

RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

In my opinion, I think that Pavla has disassociated herself from all the trauma she has endured. I think that it is a coping mechanism, and justly so.


Posted Aug. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 169

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

She has emotionally walled herself off from the world around her to keep from being further hurt. She had been treated as a "nothing" so that's what she became.


Posted Aug. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 324

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment that she was protecting herself or withdrawing. To me, it seemed like she was gaining strength and transcending her current situation. More like, "I'm beyond all this... I'm not here, not subject to your tortures."


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nanl

Join Date: 09/28/15

Posts: 23

RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

She sees an image that is clearly not her anymore; she cannot relate to that image and does not see herself. Thus she says "I'm not here". There is the implication that she doesn't know where/if she still exists


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 172

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

I have to agree that Pavla is in her transformation mode so she is neither here nor there; not herself or something else.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 410

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

I agree with most of the above comments.. She had dissociated herself from who and where she was and is just waiting to escape this place wear this human form has left her and is going mentally to another place.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 97

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

I agree with nanl and renem. Pavla knows she is changing and that she is no longer really in her human form - she is rapidly changing. Her thoughts and presence have already moved on.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 125

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

I think she was not aware of her self as a unique, physical and emotional human being. She was disconnected from her sense of self and traumatized by her experiences.


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbm

Join Date: 02/04/16

Posts: 77

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

I agree with Melanieb, that Pavla was disassociated from her sense of self.. but I also think that her disassociation is an important step to enable her transformation.


Posted Aug. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 229

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

This is the climax, really: her final, transcendent transformation, brought about through her own strength of spirit, and that is very different from disassociation in coping with trauma. Disassociation is being stuck, but hanging in there, whereas Pavla ultimately vanishes. The difference between the two is something suggested when Pavla tries to help Iveta by suggesting that she could picture flowers when she is assaulted by the prison guard. That was Pavla's way of disassociating, but at the end, it's not what takes her to the point of an "exhilarating sense of being" (p. 313) where "she is powerful beyond strength" and she dances (p. 321). Disassociation doesn't have the powerful, positive impact on others that Pavla does at this point: the way the guard Teardrop can't stop wanting to be near her, the reawakening of the hearts of her fellow prisoners. Pavla is a metaphor for the human spirit, I think, where "wanting nothing" we can find inside "a vast emptiness that is filled to the brim just as the heavens are filled with stars." (same pages) This could be an analogy to death, but I think it's more of a statement of how far the spirit can take us in meditation or other transcendent moment, because Pavla does this through her active withdrawal from caring about her surroundings, through her strength, her seeking of wholeness. It reminds me of Elie Wiesel in the concentration camp. Or the saying that we can't choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond to it. "I'm not here" is her choice to live in the spirit, not in the prison.


Posted Aug. 24, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kate

Join Date: 01/22/11

Posts: 53

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

Wow! Thanks JLPen77 for your response. Very insightful and a lot to digest and think about.
That is what I love about being able to take part in these online discussions, so many great views to ponder.


Posted Aug. 26, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beac

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 73

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

I thought when she said "I'm not here" she was overwhelmed with the changes and I don't think she really understood them yet. I also agree with Melanieb that this was disassociating with her reality but somehow knew that she was changing and accepting it.


Posted Aug. 28, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
andreab

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 101

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

It is totally understandable that Pavla has checked out of her life, especially after being buried up to her neck and then stretched. The pain alone would be enough to cause the disassociation, but she also does not resemble her former self and has to leave everything she's known to go on the road with the person who "designed" her.


Posted Aug. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cynthiaa

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 78

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

JLPen77 says it all. I can't explain it near as well as she can and i totally agree with her.


Posted Aug. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 323

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RE: What do you think Pavla means when she says "I'm not here?"

I think it was too painful for Paula to be present in the moment so she removed herself from the situation.


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