Aloha! For the close reading I chose The Matter of Seggri.
She starts off by saying that it’s a “miserable” life, which makes the reader feel rather bad for the men- but it’s really only miserable from the narrator’s point of view. The men have no concept of what life beyond their boundaries is like, can we assume that they are miserable?
It’s immediately stated that the men in society have almost no value other than looking good and having babies- thus the ‘games’ and the ‘fuckeries’, which can allude to two things that are deemed inherently masculine: competitiveness and lust. They are kept in one place and aren’t allowed to do anything else, even at such a young age. I think this can be applied to our world because of the flagrant disregard for women when it comes to anything other than appearances and reproduction, and how this sexualization and value system is implemented at such a young age.
The repetition of the word ‘no’ when she says ‘Nothing else. No options. No trades. No skills of making. No travel unless they play in the big games.’ adds the effect of shutting out literally everything else that could possibly be available. They don’t learn anything about life other than sports because they are valued for only one reason: sex.
The men aren’t allowed into any colleges, and this made me think of two things. First was the time when women weren’t allowed in college- and I think a part of that is because with higher learning comes more freedom of thought or “freedom of mind” as the story put it, and this freedom of mind would lead to women questioning the legitimacy of the power that the men held over them. Secondly, when she goes on to say about how learning would make them flabby and useless it reminds me of how in a large part of society women are only valuable for looking good. Going to college or having a higher education doesn’t matter, and sometimes it’s even bad because it makes them deviate from what society wants them to be, which is eye candy that can occasionally pop out a few children.
The last line “What goes to the brain takes from the testicles:” she said. “Men have to be sheltered from education for their own good.” obviously alludes to the societal thought that not only that women should women not learn because it takes away from what society deems as important, their looks, but also that women have to be sheltered because their fragile and incapable of making their own decisions.The word “sheltered” is important because it makes it seem as if the men are being protected. She says that it’s all for their own good- keeping them ignorant and servile works to benefit the women, but by association, also the men.
Skodr, when she speaks, sounds very unapologetic about what she’s saying- as if that’s just the natural way of things. Not mean, per se, but just very matter-of-fact about the whole subject. I think that can be applied to our world too- about how some men just assume that women are just naturally inferior. They’re groomed to believe it, so they may not mean harm, but are simply parroting what they have been taught to say and believe. It’s not right in any means, but I think that says something about the hypothetical societal grooming when all undergo as we grow up.