The Annotated Nexus - Pages 15 & 16
Reference to the men and women dressed "in drag" at the Greenwich Village bars Miller had just visited [see 14.6 +] Being in drag means, of course, cross-gender dressing. The Wikipedia listing for the term "drag" states that the word came into use in the 1870s, suggests that it's an abbreviation of "dressed as a girl," and that the term "drag queen" was coined in 1941.
Miller mocks the feminine lisp of the gay men in drag saying "gracious" (think Truman Capote saying this; in fact, Capote was a celebrity by the time Miller wrote this). "Every one of them, the boys particularly, was a born artist."
15.3 "all was not well with Mona and myself"
Miller believes that Statia's recent exposure to the Village's "atmospere in which love and mutual understanding ruled," gives her a contrasted impression that he and Mona are having relationship troubles. In fact, Mona (June)'s worship of Miller had diminished by this point in their marriage, due to his lack of creative success, his willingness to find day jobs to earn money (instead of living as a true artist), and his occassional conservative or "bourgeois" leanings.
15.4 "Mona's not a liar"
One evening, Henry and Stasia happened to be alone in the Remsen Street apartment. An argument seems to ensue from a comment Henry makes about Mona's dishonesty. Stasia goes on the defensive. The following quote from her is a great addition to the portrait of Mona/June as a relaible source for information: "She invents, she distorts, she fabricates ... because its more interesting. She thinks you like her better when she complicates things."
This from someone in her defense! Stasia then blames Henry for believing Mona all the time. Mona's lying ways are also mentioned on page 10 and page 13.
Henry accuses Stasia of being jealous of her own admission that he "mean[s] everything to [Mona]." Stasia counters that she is "outraged" instead that he can be "so blind, so cruel" to Mona.
When Henry accuses Stasia of playing a game, he characterizes her as being a "thoroughly astounded Czarina." (wife of a Czar) I assume this on-going reference to her apparent bloodline to Russian nobility is meant to suggest that she demands respect purely by association.
15.7 "her fly was unbuttoned and her shirttail was hanging out"
Miller then undermines her dignified image (as he'd already done in 8.25 and 10.5). In other words, Stasia is pretentious.
16.1 "Do you know what love is?"
Stasia's accusation in 15.5 sets Miller off on a rant that lasts nearly two full pages. He lays into her with an onslaught of rhetoric; I count 17 statements ending with question marks on page 16 alone. This page consists of an attack on her character and ability to understand love.
16.2 "you once had a dog you loved"
A minor bit of biographical info about Jean Kronski (Stasia).
16.3 "you have made love to trees"
This reference to an apparent romantic interlude had by Stasia with a tree is mentioned twice more in Nexus. Page 48: "Stasia took to reminicing [...] about the trees she used to rub herself against in the moonlight." On page 121, Stasia talks about wanting to "go naked again and rub against trees [...] I can make love to a tree, but not to those filthy things in pants who crawl out of those horrid buildings."
This later rant against men finds similarity on page 16, where Miller precedes the above statement with the challenge "Tell me, have you ever been in love with a man?"
Incidentally, Miller physically works with trees later in this book, and speaks romantically about them.
16.4 "We might arrive at truth."
Stasia is left silent after Henry's first volley. He likes having these talks, and foreshadows some deeper heart-to-hearts he and Stasia will have later in Nexus, when he states "You know, we could really have an interesting talk. We might even get somewhere. We might arrive at truth." Truth was, in my mind, Miller's ultimate noble value in life.
16.5 "you didn't go to the observation ward on your own, did you?"
Henry continues to aggressively analyze Stasia. If she's so "securely at one with [her]self and the whole wide world," then why would she "deliver [her]self up for observation"? [see 8.26, 10.1 +, and 13.4].
16.6 "you're out, thanks to my efforts"
This is a continuation of the questions raised at the beginning of Nexus [see page 10] about the true situation behind Stasia's admission to a mental hospital. I'll be honest with you here: I'm confused about the real sequence of events. Did Mona admit her to the ward? How exactly did Miller get her out: simply by talking to the interns or through Dr. Kronski's influence?
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The photo of the nude on the tree was taken by Nick Ash.