Lynch frames the two women in “Blue Velvet” through the lens of the psychoanalytic Madonna-whore complex, where women are perceived in patriarchal extremes that culminate in dehumanizing archetypes. While Dorothy represents a seductive fantasy with boundary-pushing elements that are both attractive and repulsive to Jeffrey, Sandy (Laura Dern) is the epitome of sexual innocence who embodies “the girl next door” archetype. Jeffrey flits between the two women after being introduced to the darkness of suburban reality, and his introduction to Dorothy is through a thinly disguised ruse that extends to voyeurism, where he witnesses the depravities of this world firsthand. If Jeffrey’s tumble into this rabbit hole is a rite of passage, then his relationship with Dorothy denotes a transition into adulthood, replete with the understanding of intense sexual dynamics, where the line between sadomasochism and unchecked abuse blurs.

After Jeffrey hits Dorothy during sex (after she asks him to), he is crippled by the guilt and shame of the act and seeks temporary refuge in Sandy, who symbolizes an unscathed return to baseline, grounding him in the mundane. However, their relationship is also transgressive, as Dorothy already has a boyfriend, and her meetings with Jeffrey under the pretext of investigating the ear lead to something tangible. For Jeffrey, Sandy upholds the highs of the American Dream unblemished by darkness, and he returns to her in the end, where the two choose to turn a blind eye to the horrors they experienced, either directly or by proxy. Sandy’s gullible (but hopeful) dream about the robins representing everlasting love is actualized, but she ignores the violence inherent in the act of the robin eating a worm in the end. In this illusory fantasy that constitutes their reality, ignorance is bliss. 

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