The Body Artist by Don DeLillo

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Characters

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Lauren's artistic temperament and her particular interest in performance art causes her outlook within her daily life to be especially perceptive. She attunes herself to the experience of the everyday, looking for a greater understanding that she may apply to her art, but also gain a greater knowledge of her own personality and place in time and space. As a body artist, she strips herself as much as possible of her own physicality in order to take on the body shape and body movements of other people. By imitating others, and repeating their movements again and again, she is, in one way, able to slow down time, and explore each moment more fully. This process allows her to work toward an understanding of the connection between mind and body, and personality and corporeality. Her art requires her to translate time, identity and movement from their naturally ineffable state to something experienced and understood by her audience, and her success in doing this is a testament to her own powers of perception.

Her unique outlook allows her to take the discovery of a man in her house in stride, and realize the potential of the situation to help her work through Rey's death. Her view of the relationship emphasizes the self-centeredness that grows out of her grief; she wishes to continue the relationship with Mr. Tuttle because it will help her work out her memories, thoughts, and feelings. This can easily be seen in her decision against her initial inclination to call local hospitals to find Mr. Tuttle's home and in her somewhat imperial gesture of naming him after a figure in her own past. When he begins reciting Rey's words, Lauren...

(The entire section is 432 words.)