All ideas, comments, and help for future paper ideas appreciated 🙂
Relationships of all kind play a large role of Baldwin’s Skyscraper. There’s friend relationships, love relationships, paternal relationships, risqué relationships and even non-human, object relationships. As human beings, we understand and appreciate the importance of forming and maintaining healthy relationships. It helps define us, makes us who we are. We, like the characters ofSkyscraper,have relationships that last, relationships that suffer, and relationships that fail. I think that Faith Baldwin may have been trying to tell us something about relationships and how they can influence us in society as well as how they can influence your life.
I think it’s interesting that the only constant, healthy relationship Lynn has is with her job. That’s surprising for a 1930’s novel. Women weren’t supposed to work. If they did, we’re they supposed to thoroughly enjoy it like Lynn did? I think when you examine the women in this novel who actually enjoy their job, Lynn and Sarah, you see that they really do treat their job like their precious husband. They love it, they can’t wait to go to it, they never want to lose it. It’s not even the money that they love; its the pure intrinsic value that they get from their job. So if we begin to look at their job like their main relationship and love affair, it sheds a different reading on why Tom may not want Lynn to work, or why Sarah has never settled down. Maybe it’s not the hurting of the masculinity that makes them so anti-work or anti-earning wages, maybe it’s the idea that a woman should not have more than one relationship. The man should be the largest factor in a woman’s life that makes her happy. If she has a job that she is “in love with”….does he feel cheated on? Did Tom not want Lynn to share her love with anyone or even anything? And while yes, Tom did say that these values of not wanting his wife to work, came from his family and his upbringing, the core of these values could be lying with the fact that a woman shouldn’t get internal joy from anything but her family and husband. It would explain men feeling “intimidated” around women with a job. Maybe they’re just jealous.
Going off what I commented on in class today, I think there’s also a lot to be said about Sarah’s desire to be like a mother to Lynn and even live vicariously through her. I do feel like Baldwin was a definite feminist and all for women’s rights, etc. but I also see a message in her portrayal of Sarah. We discussed Sarah wanting to “teach” Lynn and be her mentor or mother like figure. It seems like the message may be that a life of solitude is not easy, and it’s not for everyone. It’s natural for women to feel like nurturers and want to be a mother. Maybe Baldwin is suggesting that a happy life, like we assume that Lynn will have at the end of the novel, is a balanced life – one with a man by your side, a job you love, and kids.
Baldwin, Faith. Skyscraper