"Go on in there and get ready for your beating," says Ruth to son Travis after he returns from wandering around the streets at night. It takes several minutes for the action in the living room to finish so that Ruth can head into her bedroom where Travis has been sent to prepare for his beating, despite the fact that Ruth "sure don't feel like whipping nobody" that night.
You know how you're reading a book or watching a movie and someone mentions spanking but it's only a mention? There is no actual spanking or if there is, it's only alluded to. And that allusion will keep you going for days as you ponder the logistics. At least that's the way it is for me.
What does getting ready for a beating entail? What position will he be spanked in? With what?
This also happened to me last summer when I was feeling well enough to finally read A Hundred Years of Solitude.** Colonel Aureliano Buendia is trying his Conservative enemy (albeit a very friendly enemy), General Moncada, (who is mother has grown rather fond of) in a kangaroo court-martial. Along with several other women, Aureliano's mother, Ursula, pleads with the court to have mercy on Moncada and delivers a stern warning about what could happend if that mercy is not granted:
"But don't forget that as long as God gives us life we will still be mothers and no matter how revolutionary you may be, we have the right to pull down your pants and give you a whipping at the first sign of disrespect."Yet as Colonel Aureliano Buendia tells Moncada after he's been condemned to the firing squad, "I'm not shooting you. It's the revolution that is shooting you." And as revolutions are hard to spank, Ursula ends up whipping no one. Well, except her son Arcadio a bit earlier in the story when he becomes a complete despot, but it was more in a "Jesus in the temple whipping the money-changers" sort of way rather than a maternal punishment.
At any rate, Ursula's courtroom warning had me entranced for days as I tried to picture this tiny, if strong 60-70ish year-old woman taking down the pants of a legendary revolutionary and spanking him. And I found myself asking many of the same questions I did on Saturday night about the spanking reference in A Raisin in the Sun.
Sometimes I think those references are more fun and provide more view for the imagination than spanking porn.
* A Raisin in the Sun: The Unfilmed Original Screenplay, Lorraine Hansberry, New York: Plume, 1991, p. 127.
**One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, New York: Avon, 1970, p. 153