Desire in Calvino

Essay by shaundjuhariCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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Djuhari 1

Shaun Djuhari


R1B 14

Pleasure through Desire

Desire is present in all characters of Calvino's short story Distance of the Moon. It is what all the characters strive to achieve, but almost all of them are awaiting the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There are only a few who desire the journey itself. The story personifies the Moon as a feminine being, the main object of desire for many, to show the readers that pleasure is derived from the act of desiring instead of achieving the desire itself. This is consistent with Zizek's view of desire where he wrote, "Fantasy is usually conceived as a scenario that realizes the subject's desire. This elementary definition is not quite adequate, on condition that we take it literally, what the fantasy usually stages is not a scene in which our desire is fulfilled, fully satisfied, but on a contrary, a scene that realizes stages, the desire as such."

This paper explores the text's suggestion that the journey travelled in pursuit of an object of desire actually creates more pleasure than that derived from its achievement.[1: Slavoj Zizek, Looking Awry, 6]

Distance of the Moon shows us the way to desire by comparing Q and the deaf cousin. Q is frustrated because he cannot attain the Moon and therefore shifts his fascinations towards a more realistic object, Mrs Vhd Vhd. When he realizes his desire, things start going wrong for him, he notes how he was happiest during the pursuit. His cousin on the other hand, is clearly seen playing around with the Moon, having a carefree childlike attitude and enjoying every moment of it. While everyone around him was trying desperately to fulfill his or her own fantasy, the deaf one was doing exactly what...