Grappling with her ongoing desire for an ex-flame, Natasha Vargas-Cooper is convinced by Blake and Rousseau that her feelings are something much darker than a search for acceptance:
Blake is the British Marquis de Sade, probing and exposing the tyrannical impulses behind misty emotionalism. Blake is interested in “coercion, repetition-compulsion, spiritual rape.” Like Rousseau, Blake wanted to free sex from religious and social restraints, but unlike Rousseau, Blake recognized there is no escaping the domination of nature and our own ignoble desires. His poems are filled with a latent human amoralism: men and women cannibalizing each other (“The Mental Traveler”), physically and psychologically exploited children (“The Chimney Sweeper,” “The Little Black Boy”), erotic ambivalence (“The Sick Rose”), and resentment towards the demonic power of sex.
She turns to literary critic Camille Paglia to make sense of her schemes to get the boy back:
In one liberating spank, Paglia’s reading of [Blake’s poetry] made me realize that my phone calls and romantic gestures were not noble or life-affirming but a perverse, coercive form of power. What I perceived to be my romantic idealism was actually a fascistic impulse to dominate, what Paglia describes as “sadistic tenderness”: “Every gesture of love is an assertion of power. There is no selflessness or self-sacrifice, only refinements in domination. …”