Margaríta Karapánou Kimon Friar - Essay

Kimon Friar

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Kassandra and the Wolf may technically be described as a series of loose, unchronological episodes pretending to be a novel, as told by a girl just beginning grade school. From the psychoanalytical point of view—the wrong one—it may be read partly as the polymorphous, perverse life of a little girl learning what in technical terms are perversions. But Katrapánou is too knowing in the ways of psychoanalysis to make of her book a case history. Those psychoanalytically or pornographically oriented will find ample ammunition for misinterpretation….

Grandmother Sappho, when she is not reading The Brothers Karamazov, teaches Kassandra that well-bred girls who grow up to be ladies must never show they like the act of love…. But on the other hand, there are the servants. "My child," says Fani, the scullery maid, "learn the secrets under the sheet, open your legs, and let the little stars and hurricanes into your belly." It is no wonder that the little girl cannot sleep nights, as she broods: "I've got plenty of time before I become a nice Lady."

Karapánou's triumph is that she has transcended her technical insights and in this sublimated fiction has written a hilarious and moral indictment of the adult world. This is seen through the eyes of a child who is neither moral nor immoral but simply as amoral as a kitten; yet we must never forget that the insights are those of the mature woman who has created...

(The entire section is 551 words.)